July 18, 2015

1079, 1755 ARMENIA - The monastery of Noravank and the upper Amaghou Valley (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

1079 The monastery of Noravank (1)

Posted on 18.05.2014, 18.07.2015
The armenian architecture developed over the last 4,500 years of habitation in the Armenian Highland (the eastern part of Asia Minor), but its greatest achievement are the medieval churches. This country has abundant resources of stone, so stone was nearly always used throughout for large buildings. In addition, the region being prone to earthquakes, the buildings were erected with this hazard in mind, resulting sturdy, low-slung and thick-walled structures. Even if many relics of Armenia's past have been subject to devastation as a result of Anti-Armenianism, some of them survived, several being included among UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and others being proposed in Tentative List.

1755 The monastery of Noravank (2)

Between the ones proposed is Noravank (New Monastery), a 13th-century monastery located at 122km from Yerevan, in a narrow gorge made by the Amaghu river, near the city of Yeghegnadzor. In the 13th-14th centuries it became a residence of Syunik's bishops and, consequently a major religious and, later, cultural center of Armenia closely connected with many of the local seats of learning, especially with Gladzor's famed university and library. It is best known for its two-storey Surp Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) church, which grants access to the second floor by way of a narrow stone-made staircase jutting out from the face of building. Also called Burtelashen (Burtel's construction) in the honour of Prince Burtel Orbelian, it was completed in 1339, a masterpiece of the talented sculptor and miniaturist Momik, who designed it, and was also his last work. Near the church there is his tomb khachkar, small and modestly decorated, dated the same year.

The gavit, a distinctive Armenian style of narthex, lies to the west of the main church of St. Stepanos, and was its formal entrance, an academy, manuscriptorium, and community center. Outside the gavit there are a number of tombstones paving the ground. A number of these stones are also inside the gavit and the churches. Standing stones were sometimes converted to khachkars and grave stones in later centuries, their use in cromlechs and ancient observatories granting them a special status by later generations that had long forgotten their original use.

About the stamp
On the postcard 1079
The stamp is part of the second series (issued on July 30, 2013) with the Armenian alphabet, about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 1755
The postcard being sent from Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, the stamps were released by this entity. The second stamp is part of the series issued with the occasion of the fifth anniversary of independence of the republic, about which I wrote here.


The last two stamps are part of the series Traditional Costumes, issued in 2014.

Noravank - Wikipedia
Momik: Norvank - Armenia Monuments Awareness Project
Noravank: Magic Monastery of Armenia - Welcome to Armenia!

Sender 1079: Inga Karp (direct swap)
Sent from Yerevan (Armenia), on 23.04.2014
Photo: Rouben Mangasaryan
Sender 1755: Sergey Kalantaryan
Sent from Stepanakert (Artsakh / Nagorno-Karabakh), on 29.05.2015

1 comment:

  1. Wow! great postcard!! I love that it is actually mailed from Armenia.