The 13th-century Noravank Monastery is located 122 km from Yerevan in a narrow canyon of the Amaghu River near the town of Yeghegnadzor, Vayots Dzor Province. The canyon is renowned for its tall and brick-red cliffs rising directly across from Noravank Monastery. The monastery is particularly famous for its two-level Surb Astvatsatsin Church (Holy Mother of God Church).
Noravank Monastery is sometimes called Noravank at Amaghu, Amaghu being the small, presently abandoned village above the gorge. This name was given to the monastery to help distinguish it from Bgheno-Noravank in the vicinity of the town of Goris, Syunik Province.
In the 13th-14th centuries, Noravank Monastery became a residence of Syunik’s bishops. Subsequently, the monastery would become a significant religious and later cultural center of Armenia, which was due to its connection to the local seats of learning, in particular, to the famed university and library Gladzor. Apart from that, Noravank Monastery has been the residence of the Orbelian princes. Architect Siranes and miniature painter and sculptor Momik worked here in the late 13th and early 14th century as well.
The monastery was established in 1205 by Bishop Hovhannes, a former abbot at Vahanavank in Syunik. Apart from the already mentioned Surb Astvatsatsin Church, the Noravank complex includes the church of Surb Karapet, as well as the Surb Grigor chapel with a vaulted hall. Both within and outside the monastery complex are found ruins of civil buildings and khachkars (cross-stones).
NORAVANK MONASTERY, Amaghu Valley, Vayots Dzor Province, Armenia