Noravank Monastery Complex (Armenia) – description, history, location. Exact address and website. Tourist reviews, photos and videos.
The Noravank Monastery Complex is a gem of Armenian religious architecture. Located 120 km from Yerevan, it attracts tourists with its 13th century churches against an ethereal landscape – the steep red cliffs of the Arpa River Gorge in the village of Jermuk. Two magnificent churches and a chapel, many stone steles depicting a cross and delightful views of the picturesque area are the distinctive features of Noravank. Yerevan travel agencies offer a wide range of excursions to Noravank, often with a visit to Khor Virap. An additional nice touch is the presence of an excellent Armenian restaurant with a panorama of the monastery and the cliffs.
St. Gregory’s Chapel is interesting first and foremost for its tombstone depicting a half-human half-lion from 1300.
History of Noravank
Noravank was founded in 1205 by the Armenian bishop Hovhannes. The first building on the territory of the monastic complex was the church of Surb Karapet (Saint John the Baptist), founded in 1227. In 1275 the chapel of St. Grigor was added to the side of the church, and in 1339 the construction of the church of St Astvatsatsin (Holy Virgin), the last creation of the famous architect and sculptor Momik, completed the ensemble. Over the centuries, earthquakes have thoroughly eroded the look of the monastery complex, with some details falling into disrepair naturally. The last large-scale restoration took place here in the 1990s, and today Noravank presents itself to the tourist in all its early medieval splendor.
What to see at Noravank
The Church of Our Lady is the most majestic structure of Noravank. Here one should pay attention to the wonderful beauty of the cone-shaped dome, supported by a circular colonnade, and the unusual stairs leading to the second-floor chapel. Above both entrances to the church are bas-reliefs depicting the Mother of God with the Child and the Archangels and Christ with the figures of the Apostles Peter and Paul.
In the Church of St. John the Baptist one must see the richly decorated tomb of Prince Orbelian, architectural elements of the central west entrance (especially the ornaments and the image of Our Lady) and the unusual image of God the Father with huge almond-shaped eyes and Adam’s head in his left hand.
The Chapel of St. Gregory is interesting first of all by its tombstone with a depiction of a half-man half-lion from 1300 and also by the figure crosses of cross-stones with doves and eight-pointed stars.
According to legend, a piece of the Life-Giving Cross with traces of the Savior’s blood, bought by monks from an unknown traveler, was once kept in Noravank. The relic was subsequently lost.
Practical information about Noravank
The distance from Yerevan to Noravank, 120 km, is covered in about an hour and a half. We recommend joining an organized tour or renting transportation, with or without a chauffeur. Public transport is not very convenient – buses stop at the nearest settlement Yeghegnadzor, where the monastery is about 8 km away.
On the way to Noravank, you are sure to pass an unusual cafe carved right into the rock.
In the vicinity of Noravank there are many picturesque places where you can have a picnic, there are springs of clean fresh water. At the parking lot of Noravank there is an excellent restaurant of national cuisine.