Dadivank

Dadivank (Khutavank) sacramental complex was a religious and cultural center in Khachen province of historical Artsakh and was built on the left bank of Tartar (Trtu) river and wooded slope of Mrav mountain. Dadivank was founded in the 1st century BC by Thaddeus,, who was one of 70 followers of Christ’s disciples with the aim to spread Christianity in the Eastern Armenia and it was named after the martyred saint Dadi. Since the 5th century it had been mentioned as a bishopric and spiritual primacy of the Great Kvenk province. Over the centuries the monastery had numerously been destroyed and looted by Arab and Turk Seljuk invasions, but it was restored every time since and even prospered.

Mkhitar Gosh, the greatest fabulist of the12th century lived here for some time and worked on his book “Datastanagirk” (Codex of Laws) which later played a huge role in the life of medieval civilization. This monument of epochal significance was built in the 13th century by Arzukhatun, a Hateri princess and a wife of prince Vakhtang of Aranshahik. By being a devoted art connoisseur, Arzukhatun created numerous murals and frescos in Dadivank as well as the knitted curtains for many churches. According to an Armenian historian and a churchman Kirakos Gandzaketsi, David Tsaretsi “Wonderworker” worked in Tsar Jermuk, close to Handaberd fortress. The narrator testified that Jesus Christ emerged to David Tsaretsi and said: “Change the world, Cure people”. And the latter cured the sick and ill with mineral water. Hence this very vision princess Arzukhatun depicted in the church fresco.

Lydia Durnova, an expert of the Armenian medieval art, was greatly admired by Dadivank frescoes, and hence she sincerely expressed her wish to spend a night there. In 1214 by order of Koghmants Queen the most important Memorial cathedral (Cathogike) among other four was built in honour of her husband and her two sons Hasan and Grigor, who martyred for their homeland. The Cathedral is based on the cross-form foundation and there are two storey annexes in all four corners with the interior abundantly adorned by delicate and scrupulous frescos. The structure is complemented with a magnificent two storey bell tower and a vaulted hall in the western part of which the two cross stones, erected by a church leader Athanasius in 1283, have been clearly preserved so far. Archbishop Nerses Melik Tankian, a national and public figure once said: “They have no rivals in any other churches in the world”.

Memorial Cathedral is the second church with vaulted narthex and a rectangular second stage. There is a massive church in the north with a small domed church in the south and a group of other auxiliary constructions with a four pillared chapel, a refectory with a kitchen, bookstore and various other rooms. Hasan-Jalal’s palace is also a part of the complex. The winepress and the winery were on the first floor. The monastery had large estates, but in 1920 after the forced subordination to Azerbaijan the province was deprived of all those and ceased to function.

In 1960 Azerbaijani authorities established a village within the territory of the monastery and its inhabitants damaged both the buildings and the frescoes. During the Artsakh war, Dadivank was liberated on March 31, 1993 and a spiritual center of Upper Khacheni has been renovating since 1999.

3D view Dadivank