Hayravank Monastery is located in a picturesque area on a hill near Lake Sevan. It offers stunning views of the lake and its surroundings. The monastery complex includes a church, a chapel and a small narthex. Various buildings of the complex were erected at different times, from the 9th to the 12th centuries. Even now, the monastery looks impressive. Due to the unusual idea of the architect, the church is illuminated only by strips of sunlight that penetrate through narrow windows. On the territory around the monastery there are many ancient tombstones and carved khachkars (cross stones).
The well-established transport infrastructure of Armenia allows to get to Hayravank 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 Hayravank 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 Hayravank monastery depends on the weather conditions.
The monastery also bears the interesting name “Mardaghavnyats” (“Mard” - man, “Aghavni” - pigeon). The monastery gains the following name due to a beautiful legend. According to it, during the invasion by Tamerlane in 1381, thousands of peaceful Armenians took refuge in the monastery. To avoid death by the crual invaders, the local priest Hovhan prayed for the peaceful people, and by the power of the Christian relic - the part of Lord’s Cross, people were turned into pigeons, flew away from the monastery and survived.
The earliest inscriptions on the walls of the church date back to 1211. A small chapel was added in the 10th century, accessed from the southeastern corner of the church. The original drum and dome had collapsed completely: their current rebuilt form dates from a restoration undertaken between 1977 and 1989.
Hayravank is a unique example of ancient Armenian architecture. Altars are designed in such a way that their inner roundness is visible from the outside. The church has a south entrance (it is the main one) and a western entrance (open in a later period). Archaeological excavations were carried out in the monastery area in the 50s and 70s of the last century. As a result, many units of ancient weapons, vessels, jewelry, and household items were found that date back to the Bronze and Iron Ages.