Tsitsernavank monastery

Tsitsernavank monastery is confidently attributed to one of the most beautiful and perfect architectural monuments not only of Artsakh, but also of the entire Armenian architecture.

Tsitsernavank monastery is confidently attributed to one of the most beautiful and perfect architectural monuments not only of Artsakh, but also of the entire Armenian architecture. It is located 5 km from Syunik region of Armenia, in a picturesque area of Kashatagh region, Artsakh between the river Aghavno and its affluent Khozavar.

Historically it was located in Aghahechk, one of the 12 cantons of the historical Syunik principality. In the past, the monastery belonged to the Tatev diocese and is mentioned as a notable religious center by the 13th-century historian Stepanos Orbelian and Bishop Tovma Vanandetsi (1655).

 According to legend, come down to our days, the monastery is named after the swallow, which saved the lives of builders of the monastery. Noting that a poisonous snake got into the pot in which the food is cooked, she tried to attract the attention of builders with chirping, but they did not understand its prevention. Then swallow threw herself into a pot of lunch and thus saved them from certain death.

Another legend is connected with the cult of swallows, which was quite spread in pre-Christian Armenia. Another version of its name origin is that the Classical Armenian word “tsitsarn” means “pinky”. Thus, the name could also be a reference to the relics of St. George kept in the church.

The monastery is built in the vicinity of the village Tsitsernavank. It was founded on the site of a pagan temple in the V-VII centuries. This is evidenced by clay vessels and cult objects found here that date back to the 1st-3rd centuries. A large number of ceramic church utensils of a later period were found here.

Today it is the only monastery built from clean-hewn stone preserved. The territory of Tsitsernavank was once surrounded by walls, but now only the western gates’ fragments are left. Several arched premises adjoin the monastery from the south. An ancient cemetery is located north of the monastery as well.

The church is crowned with a basilica with nave, one of the most remarkable creations of Armenian architecture. It impresses with dimensions and wall mural paintings. The monastic complex is surrounded by walls, monastic cells with vaulted ceilings and windows are built into the wall. It currently houses the archaeological museum with artifacts found here.

In recent years the church has been restored and is currently practically in the original condition.

Not far from this sight (12 km) are hot springs famous in this region for their medicinal properties. Hot water from source fills three pools of different depths, located in the immediate vicinity of the source.

Visiting these places will fill your day with a variety of experiences and positive energy.