Tsitsernavank Monastery and the Origins of its Name – Artsakh

Tsitsernavank Monastery and the Origins of its NameTsitsernavank Monastery is located in the southwestern outskirts of the village of the same name in Kashatagh Region, the Republic of Artsakh, on the right bank of the Aghavno River, 5 km from the Syunik Province of Armenia. The monastery was historically located in Aghahechk, one of the 12 cantons of the historical Syunik province and principality.

The monastery is dated at the 4th-6th centuries. A legend says that it replaced an ancient pagan temple. The name of the monastery contains the word “tsitsernak”, which is the Armenian name of the swallow bird.

This could be connected with the cult of swallows, which was quite spread in pre-Christian Armenia. However, the Classical Armenian word “tsitsarn” means “pinky”. Thus, the name could also be a reference to the relics of St. George kept in the church.

Tsitsernavank Monastery is the only monastery built from clean-hewn stone preserved today. The territory of the monastery was once surrounded by walls, of which only the western gates’ fragments are left. Several arched premises adjoin the monastery from the south. An ancient cemetery is located north of the monastery as well.

Tsitsernavank Monastery was opened to the public after 1999-2000 renovation works.


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