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Zvartnots 7: The Palace. Palace Western Wing. Palace Eastern Wing. Roman Bath (14). 5th-6th century (15).

The Palace

The palace complex, almost square in plan, southwest of the church, consists of two wings (east and west), divided by a corridor. This was where the Catholicos of All Armenians Nerses III Ishkhantsi lived and worked, leading the church in its struggles with the Arabs, Byzantines and the last vestiges of Pagan resistance in the country. It was his office, home and for a time the Seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Palace Western Wing

The western wing where receptions and conferences were held had two large halls, one of which was the main hall (the “Summer Hall” or “Hall of Columns” with a wooden roof) (6), and the other – “Winter Hall” with vaulted ceilings.

Palace Eastern Wing

The eastern wing of the palace held a warren of living quarters for clergy (8), a Roman style bath, a single nave church of V c., and a Hall of Columns facing the temple.

The throne room (5) is situated between the Hall of Columns (6), living quarters (8) and auxiliary rooms (7). The throne room was where the Catholicos held audience and important meetings. Like palace halls in Dvin and Harich, this hall had wall buttresses to support the vaulted roofing, which in turn created arched wall niches.

The Catholicos palace is the largest preserved in Armenia civil structure of VII c.

Roman Bath (14)

The bath is at the far eastern end of the palace, nearest the palace. It was divided into public and private areas (reserved for privileged guests). The bath was similar to the Roman baths at Garni, with hypocaust heating under its tiled floors to heat the rooms in successive stages, from the dressing room to the cold bath, warm bath (tepidarium), a hot or steam bath (caldarium) and a cooling (frigidarium) room.

5th-6th century (15)

Adjoining the bath on its south side was a small 5th-6th century church, to the south of which is the stone structure of the winery. The small church may have been built over a 4th century church or pre-Christian temple.

The text was edited by ICOMOS/Armenia NGO.