Noravank monastery is located in Vayots Dzor province, 3 km northeast of Amaghu village. The name of the monastery is translated as “new monastery”. Noravank was built in the 13-14th centuries. The monastery complex is located on a steep mountain ledge, near the cliff. The territory is “framed” by unusual cliffs of bright red color, which create a very picturesque background for the buildings. Noravank was an important cultural and spiritual center in the Middle Ages; it also served as the residence of the bishops of Syunik province. Noravank monastery is one of the most visited attractions in Armenia. The complex is a magnificent architectural and artistic creation. The monastery was completely restored.
The well-established transport infrastructure of Armenia allows to get to Noravank 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 Noravank 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 Noravank Monastery depends on the weather conditions.
According to the medieval historian Stepanos Orbelian, a church of an earlier construction stood here before the construction of Noravank. The place itself was considered sacred in pre-Christian times. The prominent medieval architect Siranes (late 13th century), as well as his student sculptor, artist and architect Momik (14th century) worked here during the construction of Noravank.
The monastery complex consists of St. Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) mausoleum-church, which is also called Burtelashen, Saint Stephen church, the narthex adjacent to it from the west, St. Grigor chapel, ruins of medieval chapels and khachkars.
There is a beautiful and sad legend about Noravank monastery. According to the legend the famous artist and architect Momik fell in love with a young daughter of the Prince Orbelian. Although Momik was very talented and prominent man, the Prince did not want the architect to marry his daughter. So the Prince declared that he would give his daughter to Momik only on one condition: the master had to erect an amazing church in less than 3 years. At the same time, Momik was ordered to work alone, without the help of other workers and craftsmen. Probably, the prince did not expect Momik to take up this venture, but he accepted the challenge. The master worked on his creation for three years and erected a beautiful church, decorating it with elaborate stone carvings and bas-reliefs. And now the monastery was almost ready, it only remained to work on the last stone and install it on the dome of the church. But the treacherous prince was not going to fulfill his promise. He sent a servant to Momik, who rising to the dome of the church, pushed the great master from there. Momik fell from the top of the building, and the very last stone, which was supposed to complete the building, fell on him. When people finally managed to raise the stone to pull out and bury the master’s body, a great miracle appeared. Momik’s soul was imprinted in a stone slab and it turned into an amazingly beautiful carved khachkar. According to the legend, this particular khachkar is the tombstone on Momik’s grave. The grave has survived to the present day, and the exact date of the master’s death is 1333, which is carved on the khachkar.
Mary Amp 1253