Ejmiatsin – Zvartnots
Echmiadzin is the largest city in Armavir Province, in Central Armenia. It is the seat of the Armenian Catholicos, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Etchmiadzin Cathedral, is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, located in the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia.According to most scholars it was the first cathedral built in ancient Armenia, and is often considered the oldest cathedral in the world. It is one of the most visited places in the country.
Saint Hripsime Church
Built in 618, the Church of Saint Hripsimé has basically survived almost unchanged. It is considered one of the oldest surviving churches in Armenia, known for its fine architecture of the classical period, which influenced many other Armenian churches. It was erected in 618 by Catholicos Gomidas atop the original mausoleum, built by Catholicos Sahak the Great in 395, which contained the remains of the martyred Saint Hripsimé. According to the 17th century Armenian historian Arakel of Tabriz, the church was renovated during 1651–1653 by Catholicos Philip I. Repairs were made on the roof, top of the dome, the walls and bases. A cross was placed on top of the roof, and a small portico was added to the western side. It is one of the few churches in Armenian that remained active during the Soviet period.
Saint Gayane Church
Built in 630 by Catholicos Ezra I, Saint Gayane Church is distinguished by its harmonious proportions. It is a three-nave domed basilica with an octagonal drum resting on four internal pillars that divide the interior of the church into three. Its design remained unchanged despite partial renovations of the dome and some ceilings in 1652.
Meaning drop of light, Shoghakat Church is a single-nave domed basilica, built and completed in 1694 by prince Aghamal Sorotetsi during the period of Catholicos Nahabed I. It is built with red and black tufa stones, erected on the remains of a 6th-century basilica. The remains of a 4th-century small chapel could be seen at the southwestern end of Saint Shoghakat Church.
Zvartnots is a 7th-century ruined circular church built upon the order of Catholicos Nerses III the Builder between 641 and 653. It is at the eastern edge of modern-day Vagharshapat. Zvartnots was a majestic cathedral famous for its unique design, dedicated to Saint George, built at the place where a meeting between king Tiridates III and Saint Gregory the Illuminator was supposed to have taken place. In 930, the church was ruined by an earthquake and remained buried until it was rediscovered in the early 20th century by architect Toros Toramanian. The site was excavated between 1900 and 1907, uncovering the foundations of the cathedral as well as the remains of the Pontifical palace and a winery.