ARMENIA - OCTOBER 2007
It's known that Armenia was the first kingdom to adopt Christianity as its official state religion. Echmiadzin is since 1441 the centre of the Armenian Apostolic Church, whose official name is «One Holy Universal Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church»! Headed by a Catholicos - title used by the Patriarch of certain Eastern churches - the Church has its most important complex in Echmiadzin, where the Catholicos Of All Armenians - currently Karekin II - lives, and where the Echmiadzin Cathedral, built in 480, is located!
"ON THE WAY - Echmiadzin (founded as Vardkesavan or Vardgesavan, had its name changed to Vagharshapat by King Vagharsh (117-140)) is the most populous city in the Armavir province, about 20 km west of Yerevan"
"MOTHER SEE OF HOLY ECHMIADZIN - The Main Gate and the Open Air Altar, with their contemporary design, were built in 2001 for the celebrations and events held during the celebration of the 1700th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Christianity as the State Religion of Armenia"
"ECHMIADZIN COMPLEX - The Cathedral is surrounded by a monastery complex, which includes the Theological Academy, the Residency of the Catholicos, the Synod, the library, the book depository, museums and cells. Most of the buildings were built in the 17th-19th centuries. The Cathedral and Churches of Echmiadzin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in the year 2000"
"CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ECHMIADZIN - Echmiadzin means «the place where the only-begotten Son of God descended» and the Cathedral, the oldest in the world, was built in 303 on the very spot where St. Gregory the Illuminator dreamt that Jesus had descended to from heaven to show him where the church should be built. In 618, the wooden dome was replaced with a stone one, making the church much as it is today. The three tier belfry was constructed in the middle of the 17th century (1653-1658), and the rotundas surmounting the apses appeared in the early 18th century"
"MANOOGIAN MUSEUM - The Alex and Marie Manoogian Treasury House Museum at Holy Echmiadzin has an interesting collection. Amazingly, the most important Portuguese Foundation (the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation) was created after the will of another Armenian - Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian - , who reserved US$300,000–400,000 of the Foundation Assets to restore the Echmiadzin Cathedral"
"TREE AND CATHEDRAL"
"ZVARTNOTS (Celestial Angels) CATHEDRAL is a ruined 7th century circular church located 15 km west of Yerevan, near the town of Echmiadzin. Built by Catholicos Nerses the Builder (641-661), its interior had a form of a cross inscribed not in a rectangle but in a circle. The three storey building was destroyed by an earthquake in 930"
"SUN-DIAL - Modern reproduction of the old sun-dial"
"ZVARTNOTS AND MOUNT ARARAT - Mount Ararat, the sacred Armenian mountain, is nowadays the tallest peak in Turkey"
"ARARAT - The snow-capped, dormant volcano is located near the northeast corner of Turkey, 32 km south of the Armenian border"