The Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts also known as Matenadaran is a depository of ancient manuscripts and has one of the biggest collections in Armenia. It was founded in 1959 and located in Yerevan. The Museum's complex is located in the institute’s old, original building which had only a single exhibition hall, but now it has fifteen halls with lots of exhibits. During the exhibitions, the visitors have the chance to see the manuscript, individual miniatures, documents, old printed books and etc.
The exhibition of the Central Hall is dedicated to the development of Armenian medieval sciences, literature, and arts throughout the centuries. It presents the Armenian culture started from the creation of the alphabet by Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD to the 18th century.
The repository contains more than 17000 manuscripts, 450 thousand documents, and 3000 ancient books. The oldest manuscript is the “ Vehamor Avetaran” which was kept from the 8th century. Here you will see the biggest Armenian book “ Msho Charyntir” (weights 28 kg) and the smallest book (190g).
The Armenian manuscripts are rich with beautiful and colorful miniatures; the colors are bright as if they were done lately. The miniature artist used an only natural color, that’s why the manuscripts remained fresh. For instance, they got red color from small red insect (Vordan Karmir).
It also presents old Armenian works of medieval science, art, and Armenian miniature painting. The exhibition of this hall also presents the survived manuscripts from the Genocide, miniature painting from the Schools of Bardzr Haik (Upper Armenia), Cilician Armenia, the Crimea, Constantinople, and others. There is also works the Artsakh exhibition hall which presents the miniature works of the Artsakh School.
In the collection hall of Mush and Karin are presented the survived manuscripts from different parts of Armenia. The most famous manuscripts are "Msho Charentir" (Homilies of Mush), The digital copies of manuscripts shown by the electronic monitors on the wall. In the hall of Vaspourakan’s manuscript collection, visitors can see the survived manuscripts from Schools of Van and Vaspourakan.
There is also the Medieval Medicine exhibition hall which presents the manuscripts medical books that are modern and significant even nowadays. It is important to know that the depository has the exhibition of Archival valuable documents which is devoted to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The number of documents now is approximately 500,000. All the visitors have an opportunity to watch a documentary film about “Kemalist massacres” based on the Matenadaran’s archival documents, in the Virtual Hall.
Matendaran is not only a depository of ancient manuscripts but also has certain halls where everyone can see the works of great Armenian master Martiros Saryan. It is not the only gallery; it is also well-known Research and Cultural Center. So if you want to know more about Armenian language and manuscripts, this is the only place where you can get information. The beautiful building of Matenadaran is located at Mashtots Avenue 53 (Yerevan).
The Museum is open:
From Tuesday to Saturday 11:00-17:00
The Museum is closed on:
National Holidays and Memorial Days
The entrance fee is 1000 AMD (for adults), for the kids (till 6) the entrance is free.