Etchmiadzin is located in Armavir region. It is the biggest city in this region and the most famous place for all Armenians. The city is also known as Vagharshapat.

The city is the largest satellite of Yerevan and the 4th largest in Armenia in its population. Etchmiadzin is located in the east of Yerevan in the basin of Kasagh River and It is very close to the Zvartnots International Airport.

History of Etchmiadzin

It is called a "holy city and in Armenia as because it is considered to be the country's "spiritual capital". Once it was one of the biggest cities and the main capital of ancient Greater Armenia. The territory of ancient Etchmiadzin has been settled since the 3rd millennium BC.

The first written records about this city were found in the inscriptions left by the Urartian king Rusa II (685–645 BC), where it was mentioned as Kuarlini. The inscription found in the archaeological site of ancient Etchmiadzin to a water canal founded by king Rusa II, between Hrazdan River and the valley of Kuarlini. In the first half of the 1st century AD, Vagharsh I was a king of Armenia (117–144) and the city was renamed to Vagharshapat in honor of the king. According to Movses Khorenatsi Town of Vagharshapat was rebuilt by king Vagharsh I. 

Vagharshapat was a major capital of the Armenian Kingdom between 120 AD and 330 AD. After adopting Christianity as a state religion in Armenia in 301, Vagharshapat was renamed and called Etchmiatsin. It is also the name of the Mother Cathedral which is the seat of the Armenian Catholic Church. It is also one of the oldest religious organizations in the world. As a spiritual center of the Armenian nation. This city has developed and became the important center of education and culture.  Mesrop Mashtots (the founder of the Armenian Alphabet) brought them to Vagharshapat on 8 October 405.

Places of Interest in Etchmiadzin

Etchmiadzin has 5 churches; Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. Saint Hripsime, Saint Gayane, Saint Shoghakat, and Saint Virgin Mariam. The most important center of Armenian Apostolic Church is The Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. This temple was built at the beginning of the 4th century, just after Christianity was adopted as a state religion.

It was built by the first patriarch Saint Gregory Enlightener. They say Saint Gregory saw a dream where he had a vision in which Jesus descended from Heaven and showed the place where the church should be. This is a wonderful place that you should visit first when you are here. The other marvelous building is St. Gayane's church, which is a domed basilica-type church. It is a beautiful piece of architecture where you can see the beautiful style of Armenian architecture. The other church that is included in UNESCO world heritage is St Hripsime’s Church; which is situated in Etchmiadzin.

The church was founded in 618 By Komitas Aghetsi, in the place where Saint Hripsime was buried. The tomb of Saint Hripsime is under the church. This is a real treasure for Armenian architecture. It has a simple but meantime fascinating look. The other must thing in this city is Zvartnots Cathedral; which is a 7th century ruined church. It has a unique circular design. In spite of its ruined look, this cathedral remains the favorite place for tourists.

There are many galleries in Etchmiadzin; if you want to know the history of the city you can visit The Etchmiadzin’s Ethnographic Museum and other museums like Khirimian Museum, Ruben Sevak’s Museum and others. The Komitas Palace of Culture has been working since 1957. The Ejmiatsin National Gallery was opened in 1970. 

So if you’re in Yerevan, you should go and visit this lovely city. It doesn’t take too much time to reach this place. Don’t miss the opportunity of visiting Etchmiadzin’s historical places and see those cultural treasures.



The most important center of Armenian Apostolic Church is The Mother Cathedral of Holy Echmiadzin.This temple was built in the beginning of 4th century, just after Christianity was adopted as a state religion.

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