Monastery of Sanahin
A monastic grandiose and majestic estate of Sanahin founded in the year of 996 by King Ashot III Merciful is in the vicinity of the homonymous Alaverdi village, Lori region. It became an essential administrative center and the ancestral sepulcher of Kyurikians as well as diocese seat of their kingdom. It was a popular cultural center and had a high school with its rich library. At the end of the 12th century Sanahin, being a part of Tashir province became the Zakaryans’ property and ancestral resting residence. The monastery complex includes Holy Mother church built in the years of 928-944 and All Saviour Churches, the chapel, 3 narthexes, book repository, bell tower, academy and small church chapel of St. Gregory were founded by the wife of the King Ashot Merciful in the years of 957-966.
The most valuable example of a medieval sculpture is the composition depicted in the upper part of the eastern wall where king Gourgen and his brother Smbat facing each other hold the small-scaled model of the cathedral. The Academy of the Master’s Seminary is a unique sample of medieval secular buildings of the monastery and was founded in the 10th century. The narthexes of Monastery of Sanahin have various solutions. The western facade significantly stands out for its decorations.
The bridge of Sanahin was built by Vaneni queen with the best engineering ancient medieval solutions One of the most famous and prominent educational centers of medieval Armenia was the ancient Sanahin university with an adjacent built-in manuscript repository.
Schools of rhetoric and philosophy as well as musical and medical schools were opened and the “seven free arts” and other sciences were taught here. More than 50 cross-stones have been preserved in the Monastery of Sanahin. In 2001 ancient Sanahin monastery was included in UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list on the basis of cultural criteria.