Karmravor Church

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Karmravor Church
Կարմրաւոր եկեղեցի
Karmravor Corner1.jpg
The church of Surp Astvatsatsin, October 2014
Karmravor Church is located in Armenia
Karmravor Church
Shown within Armenia
Basic information
Location Ashtarak, Aragatsotn Province,  Armenia
Geographic coordinates 40°17′59″N 44°21′56″E / 40.299628°N 44.365417°E / 40.299628; 44.365417Coordinates: 40°17′59″N 44°21′56″E / 40.299628°N 44.365417°E / 40.299628; 44.365417
Affiliation Armenian Apostolic Church
Architectural description
Architectural type Small cruciform central-plan
Architectural style Armenian
Completed 7th century
Dome(s) 1

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.[1]


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.[2]

Church door Karmravor have been created and carved in 1983 by Sargis Poghosyan who is National Master of Armenia.[3]

Other churches of a similar style attributed to the 6th or 7th century are St. Marine of Artik, Lmbatavank, St. Astvatsatsin of Talin, and St. Astvatsatsin of Voskepar.




  1. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=emin&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=105034807&df=all&
  2. ^ (Thierry 1989, p. 10)
  3. ^ sargis.me: Author of Karmravor Church's carved door


External links[edit]

Media related to Karmravor at Wikimedia Commons