Karmravor Church


icon-mapKhachatur Abovyan St, Republic of Armenia, Ashtarak

Karmravor church or Saint Astvatsatsin was built by Grigor and Manas priests in Ashtarak city (Aragatsotn Region). The cross-shaped domed church's outside sizes are 5,9 x 7,4 meters and the building is the only church that preserved the tile roof. On the outside walls of the church were found inscriptions about the locals of the city who helped to build the church. It is suggested that once the building was the mausoleum for the kings according to the sizes of the church.

In the yard of the church is the medieval cemetery with khachkars and gravestones which date back to the 13th century. The oldest cross-stone is "Arkakazhmoghin" dating back 1184 but remained only pedestal and the inscription. 

According to the legend, in Ashtarak were three sisters who loved one boy with the name of Sargis. The elder sisters decided to sacrifice themselves for the happiness of their young sister. They wore orange and red dresses and throw themselves into the deep canyon. Hearing the news about the death of the sisters, the young one wore a white dress throwing herself too and Sarkis became an ascetic. 

Later in the same place, the three churches were built having the names of "Karmravor" (reddish), "Tsiranavor" (the color of the apricot), and "Spitakavor" (white). The other version of the name origin is that the locals say, in one of the frescoes of the Spiak church, the cowl of the Holy Mother of God was white, in Karmravor and Tsiranavor they are red and orange.

In the surroundings of the church were found many khachkars(cross-stone).  The most interesting is the Tsak-Kar (which means a hole in the stone) which date back 1268. In the ancient times, the church was chapel for the virgins and had an Indian decorative curtain which was brought from Kalkata in 1798- 1799. The church also had a Gospel Book of Shukhonts which is a handwritten book, Shukhonts family dedicated this book to church in 1873.  Karmravor has a wooden door(1983) decorated with engravings and singing angels. The author of the door is Sargis Poghosyan. Near the church, in one corner is the tomb of Great Armenian Poet Gevorg Emin.

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