The church of Surp Astvatsatsin, August 2009
|Location||Ashtarak, Aragatsotn Province, Armenia|
|Affiliation||Armenian Apostolic Church|
|Architectural type||Small cruciform central-plan|
Karmravor (Armenian: Կարմրաւոր եկեղեցի; meaning "Reddish" because of the color of its dome) or Surp Astvatsatsin (Armenian: Սուրբ Աստուածածին; meaning "Holy Mother of God") is a 7th-century Armenian church built by priests Gregory and Manas. The church is located on the northeast side of the town of Ashtarak in the Aragatsotn Province of Armenia. It is the final resting place of poet Gevorg Emin.
According to a legend, three sisters lived in Ashtarak, all of whom fell in love with the same man, prince Sargis. The elder two sisters decided to commit suicide in favor of the youngest one. One wearing an apricot-orange dress and the other wearing a red dress, they threw themselves into the gorge. When the youngest sister found out, she put on a white dress and also threw herself into the gorge. Sargis then became a hermit and three small churches appeared at the edge of the gorge, named after the sisters' dress colors.
Surp Astvatsatsin is a simple building with a small cruciform central-plan and a Byzantine style single red tile dome roof. It is a small church measuring only 19 feet 7 inches by 24 feet 6 inches. The apse is horseshoe shaped in the interior, and is rectangular on the exterior. It has an octagonal drum, and is simply decorated with geometric and foliage patterns around the eaves and cornices. Most of the original tiles on the roof which were laid in mortar have remained intact, and the church has had only some minor restoration during the 1950s.
According to Thierry, Surp Astvatsatsin marks a turning point in Armenian architecture, with its simple building in the shape of a cross with a single dome setting a style that would be repeated over the years in spite of other influences.
Church door Karmravor have been created and carved in 1983 by Sargis Poghosyan who is National Master of Armenia.
- (Thierry 1989, p. 10)
- sargis.me: Author of Karmravor Church's carved door
- Kiesling, Brady (2005), Rediscovering Armenia: Guide, Yerevan, Armenia: Matit Graphic Design Studio
- Kouymjian, Dickran. "Index of Armenian Art: Armenian Architecture - Karmravor". Armenian Studies Program. California State University, Fresno.
- Thierry, Jean-Michel (1989). Armenian Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-0625-2.
Media related to Karmravor at Wikimedia Commons