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

6-11 July, Armenia

 

Duration 9 hours

 
 First Stop. Khor Virap Monastery with Mt. Ararat behind it.  
Khor Virap is one of the most popular destinations in Armenia for a number of reasons, primarily because it is where Grigor Luisavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) was imprisoned for 13 years before curing King Trdat III of a disease. This caused the conversion of the king and Armenia into the first officially Christian nation in the world in 301AD. To this day, you can visit the underground chamber he was imprisoned, located in the nondescript St. Gevorg Chapel apart from the main church.

  

The monastery rests atop a little hill in an otherwise very flat Ararat Valley. When you arrive you will be as close to Mt. Ararat as you can probably get in Armenia. It is huge and towers over Khor Virap on even hazy days.
The large St. Astvatsatsin church at Khor Virap was built in the 17th century and is typical in design, but with a lack of virtually any decorative carving, or elements. It is located in a fort like complex with a nice courtyard.
The hill of Khor Virap and those adjoining were the site of the important early Armenian capital of ancient Artashat, built by Armenian King Artashes I, founder of the Artashesid dynasty, around 180 BC. According to legend, the Carthaginian general Hannibal, who spent his twilight years in flight from a vengeful Rome, inspired the founding of the city. There are extensive excavations of residential and other structures. Ancient coins and potsherds can still be found. The site was destroyed by the Persian King Shapur II, and the capital was moved to Dvin by King Khosrov III (330-338). The course of the rivers has evidently changed, since ancient authors said that this spacious and well-laid-out city was located at the confluence of the Araxes and Metsamor rivers.

Mt. Ararat (5,165 m) is a stratovolcano, formed of lava flows and pyroclastic ejecta, with no volcanic crater. Above the height of 4,200 m the mountain mostly consists of igneous rocks covered by an ice sheet. A smaller 3,896 m cone, Little Ararat, rises from the same base, southeast of the main peak. It is not known when the last eruption of Ararat occurred; there are no historic or recent observations of large-scale activity recorded. The Ararat anomaly is an object appearing on photographs of the snowfields near the summit of Mount Ararat and is advanced by Christian believers as the remains of Noah's Ark.
Over the centuries, the area of Ararat has been contested territory between several states. The first unified state to rule the region surrounding the mountain was ancient Urartu.

After the decline of Urartu following invasions by Scythians and the Medes in 585 BC, a semi-independent Armenian state emerged under the rule of the Orontid Dynasty. After the defeat of the Achaemenids by Alexander the Great in 330 BC, the Orontids gained autonomy, albeit under Macedonian influence. Antiochus the Great briefly subjugated Armenia in 201 BC, ending Orontid rule in the region. After the defeat of Antiochus in the Battle of Magnesia, a new independent Armenian Kingdom emerged in 198 BC that lasted for over six centuries, until 428 A.D., when it was briefly being annexed to the Roman Empire by Trajan from 114 to 118. Following the partition of Armenia between the Roman Empire and Sassanid Persia in 428, the region was a constant battleground between the two, and afterwards between the Arab Caliphate and the Byzantine Empire.
Ararat became part of the territory of the Armenian Kingdom under the Bagratuni Dynasty early in the ninth century AD, which was then annexed by Byzantium in 1045. It then lost the territory to the Seljuk Turks following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Georgian Kingdom took the region from the Seljuks from the late 12th century to the early 13th century, until various Mongol rulers of the Ilkhanate, including Tamerlane, took control of the area in the 13th and 14th centuries. The region was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1517 and often fought over and taken by the Safavids. In 1855 the northern side of the mountain became part of the Russian Empire, the southern side remained within the Ottoman Empire.
Dr. Friedrich Parrot from Dorpat University, with the help of Khachatur Abovyan, was the first explorer in modern times (1856) to reach the summit of Mount Ararat.
In 1918, in the aftermath of World War I, the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the October Revolution, the area became part of the Democratic Republic of Armenia, but the Republic was short-lived. With the invasion of the Red Army, the area became part of the Soviet Union. Following the Treaty of Kars in 1921, the area was divided up between Turkey and the USSR, and the new border, which became internationally recognized, placed Ararat on the Turkish side of the border.
 

   Second Stop. Noravank  
Noravank (Նորավանք, meaning New Monastery) is a 13th century monastery, located 165 km from Tsakhadzor in a narrow gorge made by the Darichay River. The gorge is known for its tall, sheer, brick-red cliffs, directly across from the monastery. The monastery is best known for its two-storey S. Astvatsatsin church, which grants access to the second floor by way of narrow stones jutting out from the face of building. In the 13th-14th centuries the monastery became a major religious and, later, cultural center of Armenia.

Noravank was founded in 1205 by Bishop Hovhannes. The monastic complex includes the church of S. Karapet, S. Grigor chapel with a vaulted hall, and the church of S. Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God). Ruins of various civil buildings are found both inside and outside of the compound walls. Noravank was the residence of the Orbelian dynasty. The architect Siranes and miniature painter and sculptor Momik worked here in the latter part of the thirteenth and early fourteenth century. The fortress walls surrounding the complex were built in the 17th-18th centuries.
The grandest church is the Astvatsatsin also called Burtelashen ("Burtel-built") in honor of nobleman Burtel Orbelian, its financer. The church, completed in 1339, is said to be the masterpiece of the talented sculptor and miniaturist Momik. The ground floor contained elaborate tombs of Burtel and his family. Narrow steps projecting from the west facade lead up to the entrance to the church/oratory. Note the fine relief sculpture over the doors, Christ flanked by Peter and Paul.
Burtelashen is a highly artistic monument reminiscent of the tower-like burial structures of the first years of Christianity in Armenia. It is a memorial church. Its ground floor, rectangular in the plan, was a family burial vault, and the first floor cross-shaped in the plan, was a memorial temple a multi-column rotunda.

 

The second church is the S. Karapet, a cross within square design with restored drum and dome built in 1216-1227, just north of the ruins of the original S. Karapet, destroyed in an earthquake. The church was built by the decree of Liparit Orbelian. The pointed tympanum of the twin window over the door is decorated with a unique relief representation of the large-headed and bearded God the Father with large almond shaped eyes blessing the Crucifix with his right hand and holding in his left hand the head of Adam, with a dove - the Holy Spirit - above it. In the right corner of the tympanum there is a seraph dove; the space between it and the figure of the Father is filled with an inscription.
The side chapel of S. Grigor was added by the architect Siranes to the northern wall of S. Karapet church in 1275. The chapel contains more Orbelian family tombs. The modest structure has a rectangular plan, with a semi-circular altar and a vaulted ceiling on a wall arch. The entrance with an arched tympanum is decorated with columns, and the altar apse is flanked with khachkars and representations of doves in relief.

The complex has several surviving khachkars.
Khachkar (cross-stone) is an outdoor, vertically erected flat stele, which, when in situ, is positioned in relation to the four cardinal points of the world; the western side has an ornamentally carved cross, accompanied by vegetative-geometric motifs, with animals (particularly birds), and sometimes with carvings of people. The khachkar both stimulated and reflects the unique development of Armenian culture; it is one of the most characteristic symbols of Armenian identity. With its marvelous carvings, savior symbolism of the cross, and the notion of eternity, which is conveyed by the stele, the khachkar was one of the most respected and, due to its positioning under the open air, one of the most accessible saints. After more than a thousand years, the khachkar is also a contemporary cultural phenomenon; today hundreds of khachkars are still being created in Armenia.
 

 

 


 

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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