Etchmiadzin Cathedral

Foundation: 4th century

Location: Etchmiadzin City (Vagharshapat), Armavir Province

Distance from Yerevan:  27 km / 35 minutes

Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the mother church and administrative headquarter of the Armenian Apostolic Church and is considered to be the oldest cathedral in the World. It was founded between 301- 303 by Gregory the Illuminator, the first Catholicos of Armenia, who converted Armenia to Christianity. Since then the cathedral has undergone a number of major reconstructions. Etchmiadzin is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The complex:

  • The cathedral has a cruciform plan with a central cupola, the core of the current building was built in 483 by Vahan Mamikonian. The early frescoes inside the cathedral were restored in the 18th century;
  • Belfries (17th century);
  • The museum in the main cathedral (1869). Relics such as the Holy Lance (Spear), relics belonging to Apostles of Jesus and John the Baptist and a fragment of Noah's Ark are kept at the museum;
  • Manoogian Treasury House – Museum (1982);
  • Sacristy (1868);
  • Gift shop;
  • The seminary;
  • Catholicosat;
  • Winter and summer refectories;
  • Library;
  • Trdat’s gate;
  • Khachkars (one of the Amenaprkich type, copies of khachkars from the old Dzhuga, etc.) and tombstones;
  • Other residential and administrative buildings.

Other Churches to visit in Vagharshapat

  • St. Gayane church, listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, was built by Catholicos Ezra I in the year 630.
  • St.  Hripsimeh church, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was erected by Catholicos Komitas. The construction was completed in 618.
  • Shoghakat, erected in 1694 by Prince Aghamal Sorotets.

 

Leave No Trace

  • Plan ahead & be prepared
  • Dispose the waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect the wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors

Roads conditions

It is winter time! Check out road conditions before heading to the road! Beware of the snow & ice layer!

Vanadzor - Alaverdi section of the M6 Interstate highway stretching from Yerevan to Georgian border is temporarily closed. You can use Vanadzor-Stepanavan-Odzun-Alaverdi bypassing road.

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