Surb Marine Church – Ashtarak, Armenia

Surb Marine Church – Ashtarak, ArmeniaThe 1281 Church of Surb Marine is located in Ashtarak, Armenia. This remarkable piece of Armenian architectonics was built in the cross-in-square style from hewn brown tuff. The layout of the Surb Marine Church has many features that are characteristic to the Armenian architectonics of the 13th century.

In the 13th-14th centuries, the church played a key role in the trade life of Ashtarak and received large tributes and new domains.

The drum and dome of the church have a round form inside and 10-edge design from the exterior. The dome features a pointed spire. The entrance of the church is located on its southern end.

The tuff the church is built from was cemented with mortar. A 13th-19th-century cemetery stands southeast of the church.

In the churchyard resides a richly-ornamented khachkar (cross-stone) erected in 1291. On the right-hand side of the road to the church stands a monument to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, as well as of the 1988 Spitak earthquake.

After the collapse of another local Church of Tsiranavor, a wooden chapel was adjoined to the southern side of the church in 1838 – 39, which would allow for the satisfaction of the religious needs of the population. Apart from that, a small belfry-rotunda was adjoined to the southern fronton. The southern façade of the church features a well-preserved sundial.

In the early 20th century, the wooden chapel was replaced by a stone vestibule. Today, the Surb Marine Church catches the eye with its tall shape and elegant drum.

In 1950, the lining of the drum and the façade of the church were renovated, and its roof was covered in new stone tiles. The territory of the church was also landscaped to a great extent.

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