Haghpat – Sanahin
Haghpat Monastery, also known as Haghpatavank, is a medieval monastery complex in Haghpat, Armenia.
The monastery was founded by Queen Khosrovanuysh, wife of the king Ashot III, probably in 976.The nearby monastery at Sanahin was built around the same time.
The location of Haghpat Monastery was chosen so that it overlooks the Debed River in northern Armenia's Lori region. It was built, not on a peak, but halfway up a hillside on a site chosen to afford protection and concealment from prying eyes and also in response to a kind of monastic humility. It is built on a verdant promontory located in the middle of a mountain cirque, which is often wreathed in clouds. A peak on the opposite side of the river is over 2,500 meters high. The monasteries of northern Armenia are not isolated, unlike their counterparts in the country's arid regions. They were built in a village environment and Haghpat is surrounded by many hamlets.
Sanahin Monastery is an Armenian monastery founded in the 10th century in the Lori Province of Armenia.
The name Sanahin literally translates from Armenian as "this one is older than that one", presumably representing a claim to having an older monastery than the neighbouring Haghpat Monastery. The two villages and their monasteries are similar in many ways, and lie in plain view of each other on a dissected plateau formation, separated by a deep "crack" formed by a small river flowing into the Debed river.
As with Haghpat, Sanahin is frequented by an increasing number of tourists, due to its recent inclusion on the itineraries of a great number of Armenian tour agencies, the beauty of its monastery complex matching that of Haghpat's. The complex belongs to the Armenian Apostolic Church with numerous khachkars (stones with elaborate engravings representing a cross) and bishop gravesites scattered throughout it.
The monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat are unique by virtue of their blending of elements of both church architecture and traditional vernacular building styles of this region.
The monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat are outstanding examples of the ecclesiastical architecture that developed in Armenia from the 10th to the 13th century.