Zvartnots Cathedral is located in the Ararat valley, 3 km south of Echmiadzin city. Zvartnots Cathedral was a unique architectural structure of impressive dimensions. Instead of cross-domed or basilica type structure characteristic of the period, Zvartnots introduced an entirely new style. It had three levels and the central dome rested on one complete circle. It was also one of the tallest structures of its time (45-49 m). Religious construction laid the foundation for the birth of a new direction in architecture and gained great fame around the world. The cathedral was remarkable for its amazing beauty and lightness of construction. 300 years later it was completely destroyed by an earthquake. Only the first level of the building has been restored at this moment. There is Archaeological Museum located here.
The well-established transport infrastructure of Armenia allows to get to Zvartnots Cathedral 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 Zvartnots Cathedral 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 Zvartnots Cathedral depends on the weather conditions.
According to the Armenian historian Sebeos, Zvartnots was built during the reign of the Catholicos Nerses III Builder in 640-650. In 1989, the ruins of the cathedral and the archaeological territory around it were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. "Zvartun" used to mean "angel" in Armenian. So Zvartnots means "The cathedral of angels."
Zvartnots was founded on the site, where the king Tiridates met Gregory the Illuminator, visiting Vagharshapat, and it is supposed that Nerses III built the cathedral after St. Gregory to commemorate this exact event.
The Byzantine emperor Costas II attended the consecration of the cathedral. He was so impressed with the construction that, returning to his homeland, he hired the architect of Zvartnots to build a similar cathedral in Constantinople. The architect, however, fell ill and died on the way.
Mary Amp 1253