3902, Tavush Region, Republic of Armenia
Haghartsin Monastery complex was founded by Bagratunies, in the 10th century. It is located in Dilijan town, Tavush Region. According to historian Kirakos Gandzaketsi the monastery was built in the 10th -13th century. It includes four churches Saint Grigor(1244), Saint Astvatsatsin (1281), Saint Katoghike(12th century) and Saint Stephanos(1232), two courtyards, refectory, prayer halls and khachkars(cross-stones).
The oldest church Saint Gevorg was built in the 10th century which is a cross-shaped domed church. This monastery was built by priests on the base of the pagan temple. Near the church is the courtyard built by Ivane Zakarian. There is an ancient khachkar called “Tevavor” which still has the spots of “vordan karmir” color.
The main church of the Haghartsin monastery is the Saint Astvatsatsin. According to the inscription on the southern entrance the church was built in 1281. There are the remains of a destroyed building in front of the western entrance. Under the church, there is a hideaway which doesn't have any exits. It used to be a treasury where holy shrines were kept from enemies. The monastery also has an underground tunnel that leads to the river. It served as a hiding place for the villagers, during earthquakes and wars.
One of the brightest and unique masterpieces of Armenian Architecture is the refectory built by architect Minas, in 1248. It was made of 12 columns which symbolizes the 12 apostles of Christ. Near the complex, there are chapels which date back to the 5th and 7th century. These buildings are considered to be unique treasures of architecture. In the area of the church are some prayer halls.