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Surb Astvatsatsin church of Areni

    Surb Astvatsatsin church of Areni (meaning the “Holy Mother of God Church”; also Areni Church ) is a single-nave two-aisled domed church completed in the year 1321. It is located atop a plateau overlooking the Arpa River and the village of Areni in the Vayots Dzor Province of Armenia.

    Astvatsatsin is a domed-hall type church with a sinle drumand a conicalumbrella type dome resting above. Two portals lead into the structure from the south and west. An effigy of the Virgin Mary is carved upon the tympanum in high-relief above the lintel of the west portal. This carving and many others that may be found on the church are considered to be masterpieces of artwork done by Momik Vardpet, who according to inscriptions was also the architect for the church. He is best known for his high-relief carvings at the monastery of Noravank, located approximately 6 kilometers southeast from Areni. Upon the tympanum above the lintel of the southern portal are the carvings of crosses.

    Some interesting tombstones and khachkars may be seen adjacent to the Surb Astvatsatsin church of Areni. Nearby are also the 13th century ruins of lord Tarsaitch Orbelian of Syunik’s palace, moved from Yeghegis to Areni during that time. Ruins of a 13th-century bridge built by Bishop Sarkis in 1265-1287 are to the northeast one kilometer. At the same location are the remains of an older bridge.

    For more places to see in Vayots dzor: Places to see in Vayots Dzor