Tsaghats Kar

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Tsaghats Kar 6: Western Complex.

 Tsaghats Kar: Western Complex

The buildings in the Western complex are in various states of ruin. Built of rough basalt and dressed stone, they were once enclosed within a protective wall with the exception of one building that is a bit distant from the rest.

The 11th century historian Stepanos Taronetsi (“Asoghik”, so named because of his beautiful voice and ability to recite in public), wrote in his “History of the Universe” that the buildings in this group were constructed in the 10th century during the reign of Abbas Bagratuni (the oldest inscription is dated to 989). The last 75 years of the 10th century were relatively peaceful and prosperous for Armenia, as the extensive construction at Tsaghats kar shows.

There is an inscription on the Eastern Gate. The dedication is by E'achi (pronounced “eh-ach-ee”) Proshian, the grandson of Prince Prosh (who built the rock-carved mausoleum at Geghard) for a garden given to the monastery and planted by himself and his wife:

“I, E'achi, Son of Hassan, grandson of Prosh, do enjoin myself to Tsaghats kar and on behalf of my native S'rk'ghunk presented a garden I myself planted. Our brother Ter Hovhannes Orpel and the monks promised to give four masses each year for the salvation of our souls, the souls of our parents and my wife Mama Khatun. Let the obedient be blessed.”

St. Astvastatsin church (4) is a domed rectangular structure with annexes. Adjoining it to the east is a columned hall (5) that was used for meetings, services and instruction. Adjoining it to the west is the vaulted gavit (6) with side niches doubling as storage or work areas (the east roofing is preserved).

Further west are another impressive hall (7) and foundations, a small gavit structure (8), monk cells (9) and other facilities (10).

Just west of the large hall, among stones and khachkars, is a large ritual stone tub (11). South of St. Astvatsatsin is the single nave St. Hovhannes church (12), with vaulted ceiling.