Friday, October 31, 2008



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"


"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"


Anonymous said...

For some reason Armenia was the first Christian kingdom on Earth. The Holy See of Echmiadzin and the ruins of the Zvarnots Church – listed at UNESCO’s World Heritage Site – are a must see in Armenia! Hope you enjoy this somehow off the beaten track trip!

eye in the sky said...

the cathedral looks amazing. and that photo of the mountain is breath taking.

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Very interesting as usual, yet another place I would like to visit. The cathedral is so beautiful!

Voegtli said...


Visiting your blog is always a moment of joy and pleasure. Reading your post is one thing and looking at the pictures another. That is what I like to do. There is such a wealth of eye capturing, interesting, insolite and beautiful photos showing us one thing: The beauty of this world we are living in. And you are a master of showing us this beauty.

Dina said...

Great stuff here. I always wondered how Armenia looks.
The manuscripts took my breath away!
I love the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem. If in the Old City at 3 pm, I like to go to vespers in St. James.
Thanks for this unusual tour.

Maria Verivaki said...

the armenian churches are very similar to the greek ones in their interior

Anonymous said...

very educational again, with excellent photos

hpy said...

Such a beautiful architecture, both old and recent.

PeterParis said...

Wonderful, interesting (as usual)! Once more, I notice a country worth visiting! What a history!

I passed in front of the Armenian Church in Paris (St. Jean Baptiste) yesterday. Beautiful... but closed when I passed! Maybe a post one day?

PeterParis said...

(You asked me a "technical" question the other day. I know there is an answer, but I cannot remember how. Have you found the solution?)

S-V-H said...

Very nice report about this for many of us unknown part of the world.
Thanks for sharing, Gil!

Mariposa said...

wow stunning... Mt.Ararat takes my breath away!

virtualjourney said...

Fascinating post - spouse will be interested in this. Thanks.

Nihal said...

''Mount Ararat, the sacred Armenian mountain, is nowadays the tallest peak in Turkey''

Hi Gil,
A serious mistake here in this post, let me correct it:
Mount Ararat, or Agri Dagi as we call in Turkish language, is NOT nowadays but EVERYTIME -past-today-tomorrow- the tallest mountain (or peak) located in the borders of my country Turkey:) Please go to wikipedia for more.
As already commented in your previous post but you did not care, I'm afraid.
Yes, it's a sacred mountain by Armenians too.

Anonymous said...

Just to make it short, Mount Ararat has a long disputed history! Armenian in 585 BC, with several disputes thereon, it was placed on the Turkish side of the border, following the Treaty of Kars in 1923 AD. Nowadays... ;)

Ron said...

The cathedral is so beautiful. They sure make for wonderful photography.

Looks like another awesome place. I enjoy the world through your lens. You have wonderful work here.

Cutie said...

Cathedral are really beautiful. They have different design and structure of the building which makes it looks unique.
You are one lucky man to be able to travel around the world.

Ashira said...

Absolutely beautiful photos! Now I have another place to add to my continuously growing list of places I want to visit!

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Wonderful pictures! I liked the 3rd one from the last! Thats my favourite pic in this series!

ßrigida ∫chmidt © Copyright said...

Bom dia! I just happened to receive your comments moments ago, and I thank you for reading my blog... muito obrigado!

I just came back to the lowlands. Like you, I've been traveling too. Check out my latest adeventure, I just blogged it now. I'm back in Hawaii :)

Muito Prazer!

Lakshmi said...

wow..what a place to be in..two awesome blogs on Armenia..The name "Vardkesavan " seems to have an Indian feel to it..also Tamil Christians say "Yerevan" for God in Tamil..maybe im reading too much :)

Nikon said...

Very stunning series, Gil. I love the shots of Ararat in the clouds.
The architecture there is quite a blend!

Thérèse said...

It's a beautiful picture of the Mount Ararat. Did you find the Ark? lol

 gmirage said...

I do not remember Armenia from geography back when I was in school. But surely the bible speaks of it. I met lots of Armenian here who are very friendly and nice. Seeing your photos makes me want to visit!

Sorry for not dropping by much...was sick and lazy at the same time this past weeks! Best regards!

Joy said...

As a Catholic, I am so green with envy. Ooops. I'm not supposed to feel envy - being Catholic :D

These are gorgeous nooks and crannies of Armenia!

Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comments. Enjoy your weekend!

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NormanTheDoxie said...

Beautiful favorite is Mount Ararat.

lv2scpbk said...

Some wonderful looking pictures. Love the sculptures and buildings. Nice view of the city too. You have some great photos of different things. Always a pleasure looking at your blog.

alicesg said...

All the churches were so beautiful and the history rich. I happened to scroll right down of your blog and saw your map and you almost travelled the whole world...WOW. Have you run out of places to travel on earth? hehehe.
I wont be surprised to see photos of the moon (maybe space travel for you?). Have a nice weekend.

alok said...

Wow! great stuffs again. It's always a wonderful experience for me - going through your posts here, then the pictures and ofcourse the information tagged to them.

You have a good time and great weekend.

Anonymous said...

Those are so gorgeous! I love the old and the contemporary cathedrals! Armenia always seems mysterious to me... Glad that u r able to go there! Maybe some tips on going there? Do's and don'ts? ;)

I did think of adopting a child from there some time ago!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely tour. I like everything I've seen here.


Louise said...

What a place. The architechture is astounding. Mount Ararat is quite imposing as well. Wonderful tour!

Anonymous said...

Gil, Thank you for letting me see the mountain. I treasure that. ~ Lynn

Pietro Brosio said...

Gil, I enjoy very much this beautiful trip! I find magnificent "Echmisadzin complex" and the Cathedral, the view of Mount Ararat, and of course I like the sundial (I'm making a series of sundials!).
Great photographs.

RuneE said...

Lots of old and new(to me history) her! I didn't now that Mt. Ararat was a dormant volcano, for instance.

I especially enjoyed the pictures where you had used the entrance of one structure to frame another!

Pernille said...

Oh, such wonderful photos. Looks like a very very nice place to be! And I fall in love with that mountain:)

Thanks for sharing:)

freefalling said...

The Ararat, my Ararat is named after!!
(Our Mt Ararat looks NOTHING like that one! - it's kind of a bump rather than a mountain).

Tinsie said...

Interesting tour. I'd love to visit Armenia one day.

Tawnya Shields said...

The art in those cathedrals are extraordinary! What talent and patience. Very beautiful. :o)

Chris said...

Ola, Gil!

First, these photos are so wonderful! I just love the altar and the old bishop's robes. Quite interesting to see how my church looks in an ancient country.

Sorry I have been quiet. I have a lot of writing for class right now, and it is very time-consuming, as you can imagine. I do like dropping by, though.

The semester is over in another month. THANK HEAVEN!!

Maya said...

breathtaking!!! such detailed artwork that transcend through times..

Emery Roth said...

Anotehr terrific tour. I'm especially impressed with the shot of Mt. Arrarat behind the ruined cathedral. Are those paintings in the entry portal of the CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ECHMIADZIN or mosaics? Whatever they are, they're beautiful.

Unknown said...

This is beautiful Gil. If not for your post, I would not know anything about Armenia..beautiful images. Hope you are keeping well Gil :D

Anonymous said...

Super photos especially of the churches.

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Great to reading you here… Sometimes it seems so hard to get a comment, that I truly appreciate your willingness and gentleness to take time let a word here. It works as a great encouragement to keep this blog alive!! I don’t talk about Revival 70s & 80s or Revival 90s, since nobody cares about it… except (perhaps) me… ;))

Eye in the sky,
The very old cathedral is quite extraordinary and the Ararat quite impressive!
Did you turn off comments on your blog? Couldn’t leave one on you’re your flags post… ;)

This one is not so easy to reach, but you may start packing , anyhow… ;))

Thanks! Very kind of you! Glad to see that my intent comes true: to show at least parts of the beautiful place we happen to be living at…

Didn’t know that there is an Armenian quarter in the old city!
The manuscripts are a treasure!!


This cathedral is somehow built on a Greek cross, but no iconostasis…

Thanks! Was delighted to see your Hydra Island (32 years later)… ;))

Yerevan had its Haussmann in the 1920s, Aleksandr Tamanian, the architect that re-designed the city. I have a lousy picture of his state at the bottom of the Cascade but didn’t post… ;)

Paris is certainly also a centre for Armenian culture; I’m not sure I’ve been inside St. Jean Baptiste church…
I was wondering on what would be the better (and easier) option to publish some family pictures on Internet with private access only… No solution yet!

Unknown, ignored, sometimes misinterpreted…

At more than five thousand metres, no wonder it takes your breath away… ;))

Glad that you enjoyed!

The cathedral is a precious jewel!

Unique is a right word! As for travelling, luck is something you have to fight quite hardly for… ;))

Since you have a long time ahead of you, I believe that your to-visit-list is going to be growing at an increasing rate… ;))

You definitely have good taste, though the haze made the contrast of the ruins a bit blurred…;))

Aloha Brígida (this name looks familiar)! So you also speak Portuguese? No wonder in Hawaii, where we may find many people with Portuguese roots, actually from Madeira Island, where I was born…
Loved to visit your blog (wonderful Baguio post) and to see you commenting here! Hope to see you back soon Traveller!
Muito obrigado (ladies say «obrigada»)!

It’s true that «Vardkesavan» has some Indian touch. Interesting to know that the Tamil also use «Yerevan»; always learning! ;)

That Ararat is a treat; when you manage to see it, which is not always the rule… ;)

I didn’t! But there are some guys digging up there to find a boat…

Usually people don’t speak much about it in Western schools, I believe… but it’s not that far from Vienna (three and a half hour flight), and Austrian Airlines has a direct flight to Yerevan three times a week… ;)

Well, envious is forgivable… but green? Unbearable… ;))

That mountain is a favourite shot for many!

Thanks! Some different kind of buildings this time…

Alice SG,
It’s not such a small world, and that map is tricky: if you happen to have been in Moscow, it colours the whole Russia, Beijing is valid for the whole China and Singapore… for Singapore… ;))
Moon? I would love to go, but don’t think I’ll be fit for it… ;))

Thanks! Glad that you enjoyed!!

I was there on a professional trip, not the best way to «feel» a country… So, I can’t help much with do(s) and don’t(s). But as far as strolling around, I just walked alone safely throughout town without any interference… ;)

Happy to learn that you enjoyed!

More than imposing…

You’re luckier than Tsar Nicholas II who stayed one week in Yerevan and didn’t see it… ;))

The old cathedral is quite interesting, the Ararat impressive, but never thought that the sundial would catch attention! Interesting that you’re collecting them…

It took me some time to get a decent picture using the entrance to frame the photo, but it seems to have worked decently… ;)

No wonder you fall in love with the mountain as it is quite impressive and full of charm! But I would rather say a nice place «to go to», rather than «to be at»… ;))

So glad to see you back! Long time no see!!
I always found it amazing that you had an Ararat next door… now you’ve seen the original one… ;))

Direct flight from London to Yerevan, with British Midland. No publicity! ;))

Art and patience seems to have been a great asset of people of those times…

Great to read you back here. I wish you successfully end that semester!!
Look forward to seeing you back in shape on the blogosphere!

We are lucky to see what survived through the ages, but probably things were even much more impressive than what we can imagine now from what remains…

That shot of Ararat took me some time and the contrast blurred the ruins a bit… but I managed, though the front sun light didn’t help… ;)
As for the cathedral, the entrance and belfry dome are painted!!

Thanks! We are always learning, aren’t we?


JO said...

Some super fantasic shots as usual. What a beautiful place. I am loving the mountains in the background. Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

That Mount is not only famous but also wonderful!

Ming the Merciless said...

The tiles inside the cathedral are amazing.

Why are you standing in the middle of the road in the last photo? Did you have a flat tire??

Anonymous said...

They are paintings!
I'm not in the middle of the road; just behind the ruins of Zvartnots... ;))

kuanyin333 said...

Why should I travel when I can piggyback with ya'll! :-)

Once again, a great post!

Anonymous said...

You're welcome! My pleasure to take you around... ;))

tr3nta said...

great architecture...

Anonymous said...