Yereruyk Basilica


icon-mapAnipemza 2903, Republic of Armenia

Yereruyk is ancient Armenian Church located near Anipemza (Shirak Region) village on the left bank of Akhuryan river. Yereruyk is a three-naved basilica Church. The building was built on the same site of the pagan temple in the 4-5th centuries. The temple was built by light orange Tufa and has 6 pillars but nowadays has a half-ruined state.

The word derived from the word of "oblation" - ancient pagan custom. Another version of the word "Yereruyk" derived from the Armenian word "yereRal - երերալ" which means to quiver. And those who looked from distant way seemed that the temple was quivering due to the construction of the building and the architectural style.

The quivering building was one of the valuable samples of the history of Armenian architecture. The experts prove that it was the biggest building in the Medieval period of Armenia. The temple is a huge basilica having stepped style. Around the church, there is a gate, out of it are several buildings, also underground rooms. Down from the building, there is very strange building and on the southern part is a barrier for a reservoir and a settlement.

Yereruyk is an early Christian building which includes traditions of antic architecture. The date of origin goes back to the 5th century. The most interesting and meantime wondering fact is that the historians never mentioned or wrote any fact, date about this strange building.

The only fact is that the building was built in ancient times and contains a mystery that will be discovered one day. One of the few inscriptions about this mysterious building is a record kept on the left side of one of the entrances. The recording is about the wife of Bagratunyats King Hovhaness- Smbat who made donations for the renovations of the temple.

The main building stands on a stepped pedestal where  5- 7 steps surround all the building. Above the steps are the three entrances into the pillared halls. The southern part has two entrances and the western part has one entry into the main hall. The steps of the pedestal were built with big stones but now are ruined. The pillared halls are also ruined and remained without roofs. 

The other curious thing is the holes near the temple which have large halls but the entrance is ruined so it is not possible to enter. And the holes were used for garret, it means that in the halls were bright. On the walls can be seen spots either for sitting or putting tools there. During excavations was discovered a large graveyard with 7-8 pedestals. 

According to the archaeologist, these pedestals were monuments with stone ornaments at their capitals. It is believed that the people buried here were adults and not common people. There were also revealed a large number of graves which belonged to the newborn babies.

The archaeologists had the consideration that a large part of these buried people were victims of a certain disaster. Another version is connected with  St.Hovhannes Mkrtich and those babies who buried there weren't baptized. There is a Greek inscription which was carved on the building's southern wall. The inscription was taken from Psalm “Holiness becometh thine house, o Lord, forever.”

In 1995 Yereruyk was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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