Amaras Monastery: A Witness to the History of Artsakh

Amaras Monastery is one of the oldest and most significant monastic complexes in Artsakh, a region located in the South Caucasus. Situated on the right bank of the Tartar River, the monastery is about 10 km from the regional center of Martuni.

The monastery was founded in the 4th century by Saint Gregory the Illuminator, who is credited with converting Armenia to Christianity. It is said that he built the monastery on the site where he saw a vision of the Virgin Mary. The monastery was named after Amaras, one of the apostles of Christ, who is believed to have preached in the region.

Over the centuries, Amaras Monastery has played an important role in the religious and cultural life of Artsakh. It was a center of learning and scholarship, and many notable scholars and theologians studied and taught there. The monastery was also a place of pilgrimage, and people from all over the region came to pray and seek blessings.

During the Middle Ages, Amaras Monastery was a stronghold of Armenian culture and identity. It was a center of resistance against foreign invaders and played a key role in the defense of Artsakh. The monastery was also a center of art and architecture, and many beautiful frescoes, carvings, and manuscripts were produced there.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Amaras Monastery suffered from the wars and conflicts that plagued the region. It was damaged and partially destroyed by invading armies, and its treasures were looted and dispersed. However, despite these setbacks, the monastery remained a symbol of Armenian resilience and perseverance.

Mesrop Mashtots was a visionary who recognized the importance of education and established the first-ever school of Artsakh in the 5th century.

Located in the Amaras monastery, this school was a groundbreaking achievement that paved the way for future educational institutions. Mashtots’ dedication to teaching and learning was unparalleled, and his legacy continues to inspire educators around the world.

The establishment of this school was a significant milestone in the history of education, and it was a testament to Mashtots’ commitment to improving the lives of those around him through knowledge and enlightenment. Today, the school of Artsakh serves as a symbol of the power of education to transform lives and communities.

In conclusion, Amaras Monastery is a testament to the enduring spirit and cultural heritage of Artsakh. It has witnessed centuries of history and survived wars, invasions, and cultural upheavals. Today, it stands as a symbol of hope and resilience, and a reminder of the power of faith and culture to transcend the boundaries of time and space.

Vigen Avetisyan

Photo taken from: Levan Tonaganyan

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