Gladzor Monastery (otherwise known as Tanaat or Tanade) lies in 7 km from the village of Vernashen in Vayots Dzor Province, Armenia. The first mention of this monastery comes from 795 when, according to Armenian historian Stepanos Orbelian, a small chapel was built at the site of Stepanos Syunetsi’s grave.
In 1273 – 79, the main church of the complex, the Surb Stepanos Church, was built at the initiative of the princely dynasty of Proshyans. The coat of arms of this dynasty was carved out in the southern wall of the church. This wall also features ancient inscriptions, bas-reliefs depicting various animals, as well as a medieval sundial. The Church of Surb Stepanos was built in the cross-in-square architectural style. In each of its corners, the church has a chapel. The chapels located in the southern corners of the church have two levels.
North of the Church of Surb Stepanos stands the second church of the complex, the Surb Nshan Church (Church of Saint Sign), which was also built in the late 13th century. The entrance of the church is decorated by an impressive high relief depicting scenes of hunting. Apart from the churches, the territory of the monastery also houses 13th-14th-century khachkars (cross-stones). The area with the khachkars has supposedly been an ancient cemetery.
Gladzor Monastery reached its peak in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The largest contemporary university in Armenia, Gladzor, was supposedly established in the monastery in 1291. Graduates of the university had the right to engage in religious, scientific, and teaching activities. The university of Gladzor also had a school of art, which gave the world such renowned miniaturists as Momik and Toros Taronatsi.
Archaeological excavations were carried out in the territory of the monastery in 1970, which resulted in the discovery of a one-nave church, as well as several secular monastic structures. Renovation works were carried in the territory of the monastery in 1984.
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