Armenian Khachkars, the World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage

Armenian Khachkars, the World’s Intangible Cultural HeritageIn 2010, the unique Armenian khachkars (cross-stones) were inscribed in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Those ancient, unrepeatable monuments not only retain the Armenian history but also the craft that has been enlivening stone for centuries.

The geographical distribution of khachkars isn’t limited to one city or province. These examples of the iconic Armenian craftsmanship are spread throughout historical Armenia. While each of the khachkars is unique in its own way, they all testify to the antiquity of the Armenian culture and identity. Khachkars all tell a story: some are built around specific events while others may represent general religious motifs.

A necessary feature of Armenian khachkars is the carved-out image of date branches that symbolize the Resurrection of Jesus. Apart from that, the image of the cross is surrounded by five patterns of grapes and leaves. However, khachkars are like fingerprints: in spite of general rules, one cannot find identical khachkars, even if they had been made by the same craftsman.

A unique collection of photographs of Khachkars by Alexander Bakulin

And after all this, at last, he is khachkar – this is the fourth form (N.Marr) Khachkars near the shores of Lake Van, Western Armenia
One of the most famous Khachkars in Armenia. On it are not just ornaments, but the crucifix is fully depicted – in 1273, the monastery of Haghpat
Medieval Khachkar in the forests of Berdzor, Artsakh.


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