Saghmosavank (Armenian: “Monastery of the psalms”) is located in the village of Saghmosavan in Aragatsotn Province, Armenia. In its vicinity is the river Kasagh, as well as Hovhannavank lying 5 kilometers to the south. In fact, standing on the opposite shore of Kasagh, you will be able to admire the entirety of Saghmosavank’s architectural beauty.
The outdoor area of the monastic complex is bestrewed by many tombstones, some of which are richly-decorated khachkars (cross-stones).
Built in 1215 by prince Vache Vachutian, the main church of the monastery is called Saint Zion. Like the Surb Karapet Church in Hovhannavank, the church of Saint Zion belongs to the cross-in-square architectural style. Over the decades following its establishment, the church of Saint Zion would be complemented by a large vestibule (1250) and library (1255). The library was connected to the smaller church of the complex called Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God, built in 1230) as well.
The library of Saghmosavank is a unique structure in terms of its architectural design. It is characterized by a large interior and two-floor chapels in its southeastern end. The layout of the library allowed researchers to conclude that monks not only stored but also rewrote manuscripts there.
Another remarkable feature of the library is the contrast between its smooth and modestly decorated façade and its richly and colorfully ornamented interior. The tent-like roof of the central arch is crowned by an octahedral dome, the elegance of which is strongly highlighted by the light coming through the aperture at the vertex of the dome.
The upper half of the altar apse is ornamented by a bas-relief image of the rising sun. Beneath is the bas-relief of a floating angel, as well as the carved-out princely coat of arms of the Vachutian dynasty – an eagle clawing a lamb. The plentitude of colors used in the interior – mainly red and black, as well as white and yellow – also attach certain elegance to it.
Սաղմոսավանք Saghmosavanq Сагмосаванк
Армения. Монастырь Сагмосаванк