Hovhannavank monastery rises majestically above a steep cliff. The size and complicated architectural structure of the monastery make it a distinctive historical monument constructed in the Middle Ages. The monastery was established by the first Catholicos of Armenia Gregory the Illuminator who buried John (Hovhannes) the Baptist’s relics in this location. So that is why the monastery was called “Hovhannavank”. The most ancient part of the monastery complex is St. Karapet church. The distinctive characteristic of Hovhannavank is the compact arrangement of the buildings around the dominant building.
The well-established transport infrastructure of Armenia allows to get to Hovhannavank 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 Hovhannavank 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 Hovhannavank monastery depends on the weather conditions.
The oldest building of the monastery is a basilica type church of St. Karapet, built by Grigor the Illuminator at the beginning of the IV century. The wooden roof of this church was replaced by a stone roof in 554, and was completely restored in 1652-1734. Various sources mention the monastery under different names: Amatuni St. Karapet, Anavank Monastery, the Monastery of St. John, Hanavank and etc.
The main church of the complex, St. Karapet (St. Mkrtich), was built by Prince Vache Vachutyan in 1216-1221. The magnificent building is located directly on the rocky outcrop. Visitors can admire a magnificent view of the Kasakh gorge from here. The church has a cruciform floor plan, with two storey sacristies in each of the four extensions of the church.
There were various educational institutions, a secondary school in the monastery, where philosophy, music, philology were taught. Dozens copies of many manuscripts were made in Hovanavank. Nowadays, there are about 20 manuscripts from here that are preserved in The Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts – Matenadaran, which is located in Yerevan.
Mary Amp 1253