Arkazi Surb Khach monastery is located in Vayots Dzor province 7 km to the east from Vernashen village. It was a well known pilgrimage place. The monastery is called Surb Khach (Holy Cross) since the wooden relic of the cross, on which Jesus Christ was crucified was kept in the South-Eastern sacristy of the church. The church was built of sandstone. It is a domed basilica with four dimensions that join the arches and keep the dome. There is a semi-circular altar and tombstones in the eastern part. There are three entrances: in the western, southern and northern sides.
The well-established transport infrastructure of Armenia allows to get to Arkazi Monastery by a private car or with the help of various travel companies which offer regular excursions and tours to different sights of the country. Due to the geographical location of Arkazi Monastery the trip will not seem long.
The high season in Armenia lasts for a long time due to the pleasant climate conditions. Warm days in Armenia start in March and last until late autumn; winter is usually snowless and not long. The high precipitation season is variable. The tourist season for Arkazi Monastery depends on the weather conditions.
Acoording to Catholicos and historian Hovhannes Draskhanakertsi, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius defeating the Persians in the 7th century and taking Holy Cross of Jesus Christ, which had been fallen into the hands of the Persian emperor Chosroes II, headed towards the Armenian land. The prince of Syunik Byuregh's wife, who had given the Emperor Heraclius a thousand helmets, golden weapon, a thousand armor and 3,000 troops before the invasion to Persia, welcomed him. When Emperor Heraclius, in gratitude, offered treasures and conquered lands, the mistress asked for a piece of the Holy Cross, the particle of which is buried here. The monastery, where the Christian relic is buried, is one of the most famous pilmigrage monasteries in Armenia. The day dedicated to the relics was celebrated on October 8 or 11 (probably according to the old calendar).
The Vayots Dzor Commander Yapon placed his headquarters in rooms adjacent to the Surb Khach monastery in Arkaz, and in 1921 From February 16 to 17 he began leading the liberation of Vayots Dzor.
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