Very good 8.6
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Location: Hayravank v., Gegharqunik region
Established: IX c
From Yerevan: 82km / 1h 3min
Monastic complex Hayravank is located on rocky plateau of Hayravank village. The first church with four altars was founded in 9-13 cc. In the 20th century the parish was attached to it. Castle «Spitak Berd» («White Fortress») is situated 1 km of the monastery. According to the legend, Hayravank was once connected to the castle with underground way, and that is why it was called Ayrivank («Cave Monastery»). The monastery has cross-domed project; according to the inscriptions on the parish wall, it was built of black, smooth basalt in 1211. It has been preserved up today in dilapidated condition,   without the dome.

In 1211 brothers monks Hovhannes and Nerses restored the church and built double column parish with lighting aperture («yerdik») and octagonal dome, decorated with stalactite. In a small garden of Hayravank, protected by stone walls, there are lots of ruins of 6th century gravestones and cross-stones («khachkars»), and ruins of cells and many other constructions outside the fence. Hayravank functioned until 9th century. In 1980 the monastery was restored, and the dome was rebuilt.

Name «Mardaghavnyats» («aghavni» is translated into Armenian as «pigeon») of «Hayravank» is connected with the legend, which we have got from Catholicos Ghazar A Jahketsi. According to the legend, in 1381, during Tamerlane invasions, mentor Hovhan could turn people into pigeons and let them free from the church.

In the 13th century Tamerlane was trying to conquer Armenia and massacred people by all possible means. When he reaches Hayravank, the mentor threw himself into the sea, so that not to see the destruction of the monastery. Nevertheless, on God's will, he did not sink. Instead, he started to run on the surface of the sea. Impressed Tamerlane ordered the monk to come and promised that he would make his any wish come true.  The mentor asked Tamerlane to give him as many people as the monastery could house. Tamerlane did as the mentor wished. People stared to walk in; the monastery could suite absolutely everybody, no one was in the street. Then amazed Tamerlane noticed that people were turned into pigeons and could escape death. From then on the monastery was called Hovhannavank or Hayr Hovhan Monastery («Father Hovhan Monastery») after mentor Hovhan, «Mardaghavnyats» (People-Pigeons Monastery» lit.transl.) and later – Hayravank («hayr» - father)...

Here there are possibilities, practice and traditions on rest organizing and development of tourism. Here there are all the conditions for agrotourism development. 

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