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    Armenia: Noravank Monastery. Go Now!

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Architecture of Armenia

Armenian Architecture - Church in Sevan
Church in Sevan

Much of Armenia's most notable architecture is either historic church architecture or more recent soviet architecture. As the first country in the world to make Christianity its official religion, Armenia also has some of, if not the oldest still used churches in the world.

Armenian Architecture - Noravank Monastery
Noravank Monastery

The Cathedral of Echmiadzin was first built in 301-303 and remains to this day as the head of the Armenian Orthodox Church. Since it was originally built, the church has undergone a number of renovations, particularly in the 400s, 600s, and 1600s. Since it was built, the style has influenced many churches in Armenia, Georgia, and even other Eastern Orthodox churches which later arose in Byzantium.

Church architecture continued to develop in Armenia and the Medieval Ages experienced rock shrewn churches, with the Monastery of Geghard acting as the best example. The historic heart of what can be seen today was built in the 1200s as it was carved out of the adjoining cliff.

Armenian Architecture - Eternal flame
Eternal flame

From the 1200s until the 1900s there were few strongly influential architectural movements as Armenia found itself under the control of outside influence for much of this time. Beginning in the early 1900s though, the Soviets took over the region and vastly altered the architectural landscape in the country. The well-known Soviet Style consisting of drab concrete structures focused on efficiency and growth over style now dominates much of the country's large cities, including the capital of Yerevan.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia has slowly moved back towards their traditional architecture. The most striking example of this is again in church architecture with Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral (2001) in Yerevan.

This page was last updated: March, 2013