Samson Monastery – An Example Of Medieval Armenian Architecture

Samson Monastery (12th-13th centuries) is located in a wooded valley on the left bank of the Samson River, Tavush Province, Armenia. This monastery is an excellent example of medieval Armenian architecture.

The monastic complex of Samson incorporates two churches, a dilapidated chapel, as well as the ruins of residential and auxiliary buildings. The main church of the monastery, measuring 5.6 x 5.3 meters, is a domed structure built from hewn sandstone. The eastern wing of the church has a semicircular apse with a low altar base. The only entrance to the church is on the west side.

The dome drum is particularly eye-catching – it has a round shape from the inside and an octahedron shape on the outside. The outside octahedron is decorated with small half-columns.

The second church of the complex is adjacent to the southern wall of the main church. This church that once had a one-nave vaulted hall with a horseshoe-shaped apse and spacious long aisles has retained only its eastern wing and the lower rows of longitudinal walls.

The chapel located in the northern part of the complex had a vaulted ceiling decorated with frescoes. Now, the building is in a dilapidated state. On its western wall, one can see carved dedicatory inscriptions without date designations.

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