The monastery Sanahin, Haghpat and Akhtala

1 Day
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Prices for Walking Tours in Yerevan *
3 persons 4-5 persons 6 and more persons
36000  AMD / 60  31000 AMD / 55  23000 AMD / 40 

 Tour rates are indicated in drams(AMD) and euro (€) per person

The Sanahin Monastery complex is located in the same village, near the Debed River Gorge, on a small 1000 m high mountain. Alaverdi is on the other side of the river, from where the way to the monastery starts from a historic monument Sanahinyan bridge. The exact date of the establishment of the monastery has not been confirmed. It is known, however, that it was built in the X-XI centuries. The number of monks living here was about a few hundred people. It is supposed that they were Armenian clergymen who were expelled from Byzantium by Roman Emperor Lakapin. During this period, Sanahin acquired the importance of the Armenian Educational Center, and the school in the monastery has turned into a well-known Armenian Grigor Magistros Pahlavuni academy. A lot of attention is paid to studying humanities. There were prominent medieval scholars and enlightener Theodoros, Vartan, Anania, and others known with Sanahin’s nicknames. In the central part of the complex, St. Mary Church (10th century), the Academy building (11th century), the library (1063), the gallery (the end of the 10th century), the belfry (XIII century) St. Gregory chapel (10th century) are situated. St. Astvatsatsin Church is considered to be the oldest structure of the monastery. The basalt-based building is a cross-domed temple with four sides on all parts. Over the centuries the church has been renovated and partly reconstructed. In 1652, the dome was built. The Amenaprkich Church is the largest of all Sanahin monuments. In X century it served as a temple of Lori kingdom. This structure belongs to the same crucifix as the St. Astvatsatsin church. The sights of this structure are located above the eastern front, the sculpture of Kyurike and Smbat kings, holding in hands model of the temple. Along with other Sanahin temples, this temple was also plundered by the Seljuk Turks in 1064, and the Persians in 1104. The case was completed in 1139 by an earthquake. The 10th-century builders left a narrow corridor between the Astvatsatsin Church and the Church of the Holy Virgin Mary, which was the building of the academy. Sanahin stamp is the largest in Armenia. There are not only manuscripts but also all sorts of valuable items of the monastic complex. During the day, the main light enters this room at the door opening and it also serves for ventilation. The role of cupboards here features ten characters of different sizes, shapes, and altitudes. A gallery was built along the southern wall to protect not only from the sun, wind, rain, and snow but also as a cemetery for the noblemen to create a kind of “gateway”. There are still gravestones of Nargiz, Zakare and Ivane Zakaryan sisters. The hall is square, decorated with four central pillars. The outer laconic forms of the lounge have reached us without significant changes. The dome was the last monumental building of the monastery. Unlike wooden towers that often serve as bell towers in medieval Armenia, this is a trident triangular tower on which the hexagonal rotundus is attached. The three floors were used for different purposes: The first is now thoroughly rebuilt, served as a monastic warehouse. A second was used as a chapel consisting of three small chapels. In the spacious and bright room on the third floor, probably was the manuscripts workplace. Next to the main complex is the grave of Zakaryan family. 13th-century St. Amenaprkich church has been preserved outside the monastery. It is a small square building. The existence of the two tabernacles differs this chapel from others, which makes it more likely to be used as a wedding memorial. His right tabernacle was dedicated to Harutyun, the left one to Grigor, probably, belongs to Grigor Tutevordi, whose gravestone is in the monastery. St. Garabed Church is on the top of the forested hill in the east of Sanahin. This is a small, moon-shaped basilica, with two small chapels on the north side. It was built in the 11th century and its lower parts consist of crushed dark green quartzite, called “fish bones”. The layers and the upper part of the church are made of pure basalt tiles. In the village of Sanahin, in addition to the monastery, you can also see Anastas and Artem Mikoyan brothers’ house-museum. They were Soviet politicians and famous pilots. The museum is located several hundred meters away from the monastery. Sanahin is one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites.
Haghpat monastic complex was founded in 976, during the reign of Ashot G Bagratuni and is located on the plateau in the south-eastern part of the village of Haghpat. Haghpat is one of the most important spiritual and cultural centers. In the second half of the 12-14th century, the monastery of Haghpat became the center of the Kyurikyan Dynasty. The royal cemetery of the kings was moved here from Sanahin Monastery. In the 11th century, Tashir was subjected to frequent attacks by Seljuk and Arabs. From the second half of the 12th century, the monastery was passed to the tribe of Arshakouni from Mahkanaberd and then to the family of Zakaryan. In 1223, by the order of Ivan Zakaryan, Haghpat fortress was built to protect the monastery. There are many legends concerning the name of Haghpat. One of them says that when the prince of Sanahin invites the architect to build a monastery, the master comes with his son. During the work, a fight broke out between the father and his son. After a long argument, the boy leaves his job and goes away. On the way, the other prince invites him to build another monastery. When the walls of the building reached such height that it could be seen from Sanahin, the workers told the old master about it. During the non-working day, the old man goes to Haghpat to see how his son’s construction is going on. He looks at the walls for a long time. Everyone is eagerly awaiting the master’s assessment, and finally, by pressing his hand on the wall, he exclaims: “Ah, wall!” (“This is a wall”). Then father and son proclaim peace, and the monastery is called Haghpat. Haghpat monastery is one of the largest monastic complexes in Armenia, which has unique peculiarities of Armenian medieval architecture, accurate illustration, a harmony of the environment and territorial balance. The monastery includes St. Nshan, St. Astvatsatsin church, St. Grigor Church, chapel, printing house, library, bell tower, dining hall, chapels and graves, khachkars. In the 11th-13th centuries, Haghpat School and Printing House became well-known. They taught grammar, rhetoric speech, philosophy, theology, music, and more. Haghpat was also known for his miniature school. Famous Armenian composer Sayat-Nova lived here for several years under the name of a priest.
Akhtala monastery complex (11th century) is located at the foot of Lalvar Mountain in Lori Marz, on the left bank of Debed. In the Middle Ages, the city was called “Copper Mine” (Copper Mines). Giragos Gandzaketsi in his “History of Armenia” mentions that Ivane Zakaryan died in 1241 and was buried in Pghndzavanq, which he had taken from the Armenians and turned into a Georgian (or Orthodox) church. In 1887-1880 a French archeologist, architect Jacques de Morgan discovered stone graves, clay, bronze and iron items in Akhtala from the 8th century. Here are graves of the times when people were still buried sitting in the grave. The Akhtala Monastery is one of the Orthodox complexes whose construction coincided with the Renaissance in Armenia. The monastery was built in 1188 by Mariam, King Kyurike Kyurikyan’s daughter. The complex of monuments harmoniously combines Armenian, Georgian and Byzantine architectural elements. St. Akhtala Church was the largest Orthodox Church in North Armenia, served as a spiritual, educational and cultural center in the 12th-13th centuries. The initiative was especially studied by Armenian and Georgian chroniclers. The magnificent frescoes of the St. Astvatsatsin church have been well preserved and only the image of the Blessed Virgin was damaged during the Tamerlane invasion. The mountain which stands in front of the castle carries the same name. The mural was made in the 13th century when the church became an Orthodox. In terms of colors, it is close to the Byzantine, but the choice of topics is entirely Armenian. They say that many bright colors distracted the believers during the liturgy, and the priest angrily ordered to cover the images with limestone. The territory of the monastery is surrounded by defensive walls of the 10th century, with towers constructed during the reign of Kyurikyans of Bagratuni. The walls extend from north to south, around the square’s perimeter.

  • Free of charge for children up to six years without a seat (in the lap of parents)
  • Children from 7 to 12 years old – 30% discount
  • Lunch: 7000 AMD or 1000 rubles. Calculation for one person (pure value)
  • The tour program can be edited at the guests’ request
DEPARTURE TIME Tour start time is variable and depends on the season. The exact time of the trip is coordinated on the spot with the guide
Access tickets for museums and historical-cultural centers A professional English speaking guide
Excursion service Water


NOT INCLUDED                 
Food: lunch or dinner during the excursion. We can arrange for food service in advance or can recommend a good restaurant
alcoholic beverages




1.  Sanahin monastery

2.  Monastery complex Haghpat

3.  Monastery complex Akhtala




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