SHS-2009 YEREVAN | 10th International Conference on SHS
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SHS-2009 Tsakhkadzor

6-11 July, Armenia

 

Duration 6-7 hours

 
 First Stop. The fortress of Garni and Temple
There are many things to see when travelling to these ancient places, one of them the road itself, surrounded by amazing landscape and nature, the road to Geghard and Garni one of the most beautiful in Armenia. The road follows the Azat river gorge and continues to the Geghard village and monastery.
Every region and place in Armenia is known for its local produce and specialties. Garni is famous for lavash (Armenian, thin bread), cheese, yogurt, apples, walnuts, hazelnut and almonds. On your way to Garni you will see local farmers selling canned greens, almonds, dried fruits and other local produce. Stop by and get some canned "sindrik" or "bokhi" pickled greens from local mountains. Halfway to Garni however, take a few minutes to look at the Charents Arch. The arch itself is not what you stop for, but for the great view of famous biblical Ararat Mountain, which it frames on a clear day.

The fortress of Garni and Temple are situated in the village of the same name. When you get to Temple, it will remind you of a somewhat plain Parthenon. It was built in the first century AD and was dedicated to a heathen god Mithra, the god of the sun whose figure stood in the depth of the sanctuary. The temple was destroyed in 1679 in an earthquake, but was reconstructed in 20th century. (You can recognize the new stones by their lack of carving, which allows you to appreciate the originals.) It is an excellent reconstruction and a very worthwhile place to visit. There are also ruins of mosaic ancient baths and summer residences of Armenian kings. The structures of Garni combine elements of Hellenistic and Armenian culture, which are an evidence of antique influences and the distinctive building traditions of the Armenian people. In its style, the temple, resembles similar structures in Syria (Baalbek) and Rome. Its architectural shapes are basically-Hellenistic.

Strategically, the place for building this fortress was very cleverly chosen. The fortress of Garni stands on a triangular cape, which dominates the locality and juts into the river. A deep gorge and steep mountain slopes serve as a natural impregnable obstacle, and therefore the fortress wall was put up only on the side of the plain. It was put together of large square-shaped slabs of basalt placed flat on top of each other without mortar and fastened together with iron cramps sealed with lead.
The artistic merit and uniqueness of its monuments place Garni among outstanding creations of architecture of world importance. The structures of the fortress of Garni are in perfect harmony with the surrounding nature. The fortress is situated in a picturesque mountain locality and commands a broad panorama of orchards, fields and mountain slopes covered with motley carpets of varicoloured grasses, of the jagged and precipitous canyon of the Azat river.

    

   Second Stop. Geghard monastery
Northeast of Garni, higher up the gorge of the Azat River, there is a magnificent monument of medieval Armenian architecture - Geghard monastery. It is amongst the top tourist sites in Armenia and is in the list of UNESCO's world heritage list. The cave church of St. Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) of the 4th century is still accessible by the entrance of the renovated territory of the monastery. The name Geghard means Lance as the spear that pierced our Lord Jesus Christ's side during the crucifixion later was brought to Armenia by one of the 12 apostles of Christ - St. Thaddeus (Judas).
The architecture of the monastery is very rich. You can find survivals from the early 4th century to the Zakarids' period of late 13th century. The mausoleum of Proshyans' is another famous piece of art. Various khachkars (cross-stones), an Armenian phenomenon, can be traced here. The setting of the complex is inspiring and provoking a healthy spiritual retreat.

Nothing has remained of the structures of Geghard. According to Armenian historians of the 4th, 8th and 10th centuries the monastery comprised, apart from religious buildings, well-appointed residential and service installations. Geghard suffered greatly in 923 from Nasr, a vice-regent of an Arabian caliph in Armenia, who plundered its valuable property, including unique manuscripts, and burned down the magnificent structures of the monastery. Earthquakes also did it no small damage.
The existing ensemble dates back to the 12th-13th centuries, the time of the flourishing of national culture, especially architecture. Under the princes of Zakarids' the main chapel as well as the same cave churches were built. In the second half of the 13th century the monastery was bought by Proshyan dynasty. Over a short period, they built the cave structures which brought Geghard well-merited fame - the second cave church, the family sepulcher of Proshyans'.
Erected over a short period, the monuments make up a single architectural and artistic whole in which ground structures are compositionally and stylistically connected with the premises hewn in rock.

Built in 1215, the main cathedral belongs, in its spatial arrangement and layout, to a type of structure spread in Armenia in the 10th-14th centuries - rectangular in the plan, on the outside, and cross-winged domed interior with two-storey annexes in the corners of the central crossing. The architectural forms of the building are well proportioned and harmonious. The pilasters and half-columns, crowned with pointed arches and spherical pendentives are fortunately coordinated with the cupola resting on a high drum.
The outward appearance of the cathedral is organically coordinated with its interior. The gentle divisions of the lower hulk are crowned with a graceful cupola which emphasizes the predomination of the vertical line in the structure's composition. It is also reflected in the arrangement of the main decorative elements of the facades, especially of the southern one. The Proshyans' sepulcher and the second cave church were hewn in 1283. The former consists of two sections - the big one, which served as a vestry, and the small one, connected with it by two archways; in its floor there are burial vaults. In their proportions both sections are rather low, which is emphasized by a heavy column, the segmental shape of archways and a low through vault with a light opening at the top. All this is meant to convey the purpose of this premise as a burial place and as a passageway to the church which was probably a memorial one.

Numerous khachkars cut on rock surface and on the walls of the structures or put up on the territory of Geghard in memory of a deceased or in commemoration of someone's donation to the monastery are richly ornamented with geometrical or floral motives. The composition of some khachkars' decoration is unique. The arrangement of the khachkars emphasizes certain points of the ensemble.
No works of applied art have survived in Geghard, the only exception being the legendary spear, "geghard" - a shaft with a diamond-shaped plate attached to its end; a Greek cross with flared ends is cut through the plate. In 1687, a special case was made for it, now kept in the museum of Echmiadzin - Holly See of Armenian Church.

From here you walk up a path which has a few vendors of souvenirs and snacks. (try the sweet "sujukh", sweet lavash and gata if you have never tasted them before). You then reach the entrance to the compound which is surrounded by high walls on three sides and the mountain on the fourth. Inside, you can enter the churches which are interconnected. There is some water in a small pond/stream in one chamber carved into the mountain, and the acoustics are great throughout. If you climb up stone stairs located on the left side of the church, you will pass some very finely carved khatchkars. From here you enter yet another chamber. This chamber, though not much to look at, had the greatest acoustics I ever saw demonstrated to me when the monk who was guiding us began to sing. His voice was beautiful to begin with, but when he began to sing in this chamber it was hard to believe a large choir was not singing praise at the top of their lungs... that it was only one man. Also in the corner of this chamber, if you look down you will see a hole that goes through which allows the lower churches interior to be seen. Outside of the monastery complex, before you enter the gates, you will notice some caves perhaps and ruins to the left of the entrance. If you are in shape, you should climb up in this area, which has a bunch of little cave-rooms and is quite interesting.
 

 

 


  

 

 

Extended abstract submission 15 December, 2008  
Information to Authors on abstract acceptation and format of presentation 25 February, 2009  
Tentative Program 01 April, 2009  
Early registration and hotel reservation 01 May, 2009  
Paper submission 01 July, 2009  
SHS-2009 6-11 July 2009  

 

 

Multi Rest House hotel
HOTEL VENUE and official symposium Hotel!
The Symposium will be held in Multi Rest House hotel complex that is located in Tsakhkadzor. Tsakhkadzor,  (in Armenian the word means Gorge of Flowers) is located in Kotayk region, Republic of Armenia. The distance from Yerevan, the capital of the Republic is 60km, and from "Zvartnots" International airport-75km. The city spreads out on the Eastern slop of Teghenis Mountain and has 1850m height above the sea level.
Please see more information click here

 
SHS-2009 YEREVAN | 10th International Conference on SHS
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