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Location: Sanahin v., Lori region
Established: X c
From Yerevan: 180km / 2h 20min

Sanahin Monastery is located in Lori region of The Republic of Armenia, in the same name village.

Sanahin was founded by Ahsot Voghormats (Merciful) in 966. The complex became administrative center of Kyurikyan Dynasty, their ancestral crypt (up t to the second half of the 12th century) as well as the residence of the leader of Kyurikyans’ eparchy (until the second half of the 11th century ). In 10th-11th cc the monastery was a cultural center; had high school and rich library. Humanitarian sciences, music and medicine were taught here, scientific works (treatises) were written here as well. Great writers, artists and miniaturists worked in this monastery.  

In the end of the 11th century in the composition of Tashir province Sanahin passed to Zakaryans as ancestral residence. Sanahin again became cultural center, got large estates due to donations. 

Very often Sanahin monastic complex was plundered by enemies. Part of the constructions was burnt, and the monuments were stolen by Seljuks and armed groups of Persians. Sanahin was largely damaged by natural disasters, especially, by the earthquake of 1139.

The monastic complex includes: st. Astvatsatsin (Holy Virgin) and st. Amenaprkich (Almighty) churches, 3 parishes, printing house, belfry, academy, st. Gregory chapel. The oldest building of the complex: st. Astvatsatsin church, was founded in 928-944 and is one the examples of churches with domed hall. There are still traces of fresco preserved on the walls. 

50 cross-stones (khachkars) were preserved in the territory of the complex, in the cemetery, in the former settlement. Cross-stones Gregory Tutevordi and Sargis are of special value; the best examples of sculpture art in medieval Armenia. 

According to the legend, Sanahin was built on the spot where Gregory the Enlightener placed cross in the 4th century. Sanahin complex was built earlier than Haghpat monastery. Sanahin (Sa na hin) is translated as “This one is older than that one (Haghpat)”. 

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