May 12, 2015

1575 NAGORNO-KARABAKH - Tsitsernavank Monastery


Tzitzernavank is a 5th- to 6th-century Armenian church and former monastery in the  Qashatagh Province of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (formerly Lachin Rayon of Azerbaijan), at 5km of the border of  Armenia's province of Syunik. There are two differing opinions on the etymology of the name. Some authors state that the name originates from the word tzitzernak which means the bird swallow in Armenian. Others believe that the name derives from the word tzitzern, which in Armenian means "little finger" - presumably a reference to the relics of St. George the Dragon-Slayer that were kept in the church.

When was constructed, Tzitzernavank lay in Aghahejk, one of the 12 regions of the Armenian principality of Syunik. By the 15th century Aghahejk had spit into two districts: the northern half was called Khozhoraberd; the southern half, containing Tzitzernavank, was called Kashatagh. In 1613, the monastery's fortified wall was repaired and its arched gateway was constructed. The church and its belltower were renovated in 1779. In the 19th century it served as the parish church for the adjoining peasant settlement of Zeyva, but these fled during the 1905  Armenian-Tartar war, never to return. The buiding was reconsecrated in October 2001, after a heavy restoration in 1999-2000 paid for by Armenian diaspora funds, and is a venue for annual festivals honoring St. George.

Based on its appearance, it is believed to have been constructed in three main stages. Its earliest form appears to have been a simple rectangular basilica, without an apse. During the second stage of construction, a windowless apse was added (constructed inside the eastern end of the rectangular interior) and the upper parts of the outside walls were built. In the third period of construction, stone pillars and arches replaced them. Anyway, the monastery is recognized as a native Armenian example of an "oriental" basilica. Being a three-nave basilica, like most of those in Armenia of 5-6th centuries;[13] Tzitzernavank's central nave is only slightly taller than the lateral naves, from which it is separated by two rows of pillars.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series The 1700th Anniversary of Christianity in Armenia, issued on June 20, 2001:
• Tsitsernavank Monastery (160 AMD) - It's on the postcard
• ??? (210 AMD)


The second stamp is part of the series of four issued on September 2, 1996, with the occasion of The Fifth Anniversary of Independence:
• the Parliament building (100 AMD) - It's on the postcard 1575
• the flag and the map of the republic (50 AMD)
• the flag and the coat of arms of the republic (500 AMD)
"We Are Our Mountains" monument (200 AMD) - It's on the postcard 1806

References
Tsitsernavank Monastery - Wikipedia

Sender: Sergey Kalantaryan
Sent from Stepanakert (Artsakh / Nagorno-Karabakh), on 01.04.2015

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