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Location: Ashtarak, Aragatsotn region
Established: VII c
From Yerevan: 23km / 30min

Karmravor or St. Astvatsatsin (St. Holy Virgin) church is situated on the elevated location of Ashtarak. It seems to dominate over the whole city, but not because of its huge parameters. In fact, it is quite a small, neat church, clear, but not simple: its beauty is hidden exactly in that. Unfortunately, the concrete date of foundation and the name of the architect are still unknown, but the inscription, stretching the walls: the birth certificate of the church, allows to suppose, that it was built in the 4th century. 

According to an old legend, three sisters fall in love with the same man, named Sargis. The two elder sisters decided to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their smaller sister’s happiness. They dressed in red and orange (color of apricot) garments and threw themselves into the deep canyon. The sister, having heard about the fact, dressed in white garment and threw herself into the canyon as well. Sargis became a monk because of grief. Further, three churches were built on the edge of the canyon: Karmravor (“karmir” - red), Tsiranavor (“tsiran” - apricot), Spitakavor (“spitak” - white).

Inside the cross-domed church fresco, characteristic to the 7th century Christian art, is till preserved. There are many interesting khachkars (“cross-stones”) in the territory; the most noteworthy is Tsak-Kar (stone with a hole), which got its name from the hole on the pedestal (1268).

From the 18th century to 1813 Karmravor was a monastery. Here antiquities are preserved up today, which deserve special attention. The first one is the patterned Indian curtain from Kolkata, brought in 1798-99, and the second one is Shukhonts Gospel: hand-written Gospel, presented from Shukhonts family from Ashtarak in 1873. 

In the garden of the church famous Armenian poet G. Emin is buried. He wrote his last will in the form of a composition with the request to find his last shelter in the garden of Karmravor. 

You can visit this monastery within our "Tour to Ashtarak".

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