Haghartsin Monastery, Tavush, Armenia (with Map & Photos)

Haghartsin monastery comfortably found its place among dense oak forests. The slender, well-groomed buildings of the monastery with an unusual contrast fit into the wild nature of the Dilijan Reserve.

Haghartsin Monastery
Haghartsin Monastery

Church of the Holy Mother of God


Among the churches worthy of attention is the Church of the Holy Virgin, built in 1281. This is the largest building, the artistic dominant of the ensemble. Dominating the rest of the buildings, the high 16-sided dome is decorated with elegant arches. The platband of the southern portal is peculiar, framed by rows of shamrocks, giving it picturesqueness.

Haghartsin Monastery
Haghartsin Monastery

The ktitor sculpture of the eastern façade of the church is interesting. It depicts two men in monastic robes pointing with their hands at a model of a church placed between them and an image of a dove with half-open wings. The figures are depicted in different attire - the one on the right is dressed richer than the one on the left. The faces with long mustaches, lush combed beards and large almond-shaped eyes are also made differently. Evidently, church wardens are represented here, possibly the abbot of the monastery and his assistant.

The narthex of the monastery belongs to the most common type, square in terms of premises with overlapping on four internal supports. The building has a squat octagonal tent over the central sections, which brings this building closer to the Armenian folk dwelling. The Haghartsin vestibule has an ornamental decoration of the ceilings of the corner sections. In addition to various rosettes, they contain sculptural images of birds and human figures in monastic robes, with a cross and a staff in hand. The framing of the central window of the western façade forms a cross placed directly above the main entrance portal and emphasizing the central part of the façade.

Haghartsin Monastery
Haghartsin Monastery

Among the memorial khachkars of Haghartsin there are original artistic examples. Of interest is the ornamental carving of a khachkar of the 13th century, placed near the southern door of the Church of the Holy Virgin.

Tomb of the Bagratids


The tomb of the Bagratids in Haghartsin has two isolated chapels. The artistic decoration of the churches is made in accordance with the traditions of the era. A peculiar, interestingly framed sundial on the southern facade looks like a catchy decorative spot.

Haghartsin Monastery
Haghartsin Monastery

Dining room


The refectory of Haghartsin, erected by the architect Minas in 1248, is among the buildings rare in composition. The room is divided by pillars into two parts, square in plan, covered by a system of intersecting arches. Stone benches run along the walls, and on the western end, near the door, there is a wide arched opening provided for the entry and exit of numerous pilgrims. Decorative decoration is concentrated only in the central sections of the ceiling, near the main light openings. The interior of the refectory is distinguished by intimacy. Proportionately decreasing architectural forms give the impression of airiness and spaciousness.

Haghartsin Monastery Map