St. Astvatsatsin (Virgin Mary) or Zorats church

Zorats church

The church was built by the Bishop of Syunik Stepanos Tarsayitch during the 1320s. It has a unique style in Armenian architecture; it is built of only an altar and vestries located on its right and left sides. The square in front of the church replaces the prayer house.

Zorats vank

The unique style of the monument made some researchers conclude that it served for forces leaving for war. The walls constructed of large basalt pieces and the gates made of smooth stone are preserved around the church. It is surrounded by a cemetery with a few dozen tombs and cross-stones, south and north, which are built of smooth stones.

Zorats vank    Zorats vank
The fortress included eastern and the western citadels, erected on the highest points. The western citadel is partially preserved. The main walls of the rectangular-quadrangle structures can be seen here. The eastern citadel is much better preserved. It stretches arch-wise to the highest rocky top of the fortress, in some places up to 3m high. The only entrance is on the west. There are rooms inside, joined by corridors. Ruins of multiple constructions made of dissected basalt, and dwellings of warriors are preserved inside the fortress close to the walls. Water was brought to the fortress from the area of Tsaghats Qar monastery. According to local legend, separate parts of this clay pipeline were opened in the territory lying between Smbataberd and Tsaghats Qar monuments. Ruins of walls, which obviously belong to Smbataberd, are preser-ved on one of the peaks of the same mountain chain about 800m north-east of the fortress. Traces of similar small constructions are visible on heights edging the Yeghegis gorge and stretching from Hermon to Shatin. Most of those probably served as watchtowers. 

Zorats vankRestoration works were conducted in some areas of Smbataberd from 2006-2007. Zorats church is located above the eastern part of Yeghegis village. It was built by the son of Tarsaich Prince of Syunik Province historian Stepanos Orbelyan (13th century). It is one of the unique monuments of Armenian architecture by its type of construction. There is an opinion that it was a military church where the army prayed in the open air. But according to recent studies there was a special building for the army, which had the only complete wall from western part with special door and the sides were hall-shaped with arched openings. It is thought that the church was renovated in 17-18th centuries. 

Zorats vank   Zorats vank

Zorats vank   Zorats vank

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