Oromosavank – The Tomb of Armenian Kings

Oromosavank – The Tomb of Armenian Kings

The monastery complex Oromosavank or Khoshavank is one of the most outstanding examples of Armenian architecture of the 10th-11th centuries. It is located in the territory of modern Turkey, in the Kars Province, 15 kilometers northeast of the medieval capital of Armenia Ani, on the right bank of the Akhuryan River, in a closed border area. At one time, the monastery was one of the religious and cultural centers of the kingdom of Ani (Bagratid Armenia).

Currently, the monastery complex is in a dilapidated state. However, until 1920 when the Kars region was part of the Russian Empire and then the First Republic of Armenia, the complex, striking with its unique architecture, was fully intact and operational. Oromosavank, like many other Armenian historical and architectural monuments of Kars, was razed in the 60s of the last century.

A few people know that it was in the Oromos monastery where the tomb of the royal dynasty of Bagratids (Bagratuni), the rulers of the Ani Kingdom, was located. Many representatives of the Armenian royal court and princely families have been buried here.

The grave of one of the most prominent Armenian monarchs from the Bagratuni dynasty, King Ashot III the Merciful who reigned 953-977, was also located in Oromosavank.

To the east of the Surb Gevorg Church within the Oromosavank complex are the ruins of a single-nave arched chapel: only two of its walls have survived. It was here in 977 that Ashot III Bagratuni was buried. On the stereoscopic postcards with the image of Ani authored by Aram Vruyr and published in 1909, the grave of the Armenian King is also depicted.

As seen in old photographs, the upper part of the king’s tombstones resembles the base of a khachkar (cross-stone). At the upper pyramid-like portion of the tombstone was engraved the name of the king. Note that the spouse of Ashot III Khosrovanush was buried here.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Bagratuni tomb in Oromosavank was a frequent place of pilgrimage. Many famous Armenians were photographed here, including Martiros Saryan, Hovhannes Tumanyan, and Avetik Isahakyan.

During the reign of Ashot III, Armenia experienced an economic and cultural flourishing, the country lived in peace. In 961, the residence of the kings was moved from Kars to Ani, which was proclaimed the capital of Armenia.

A fortress wall was erected around Ani, and palaces and other structures were built in the city as well. In Ani and other major cities of Armenia, King Ashot Bagratuni established schools, hospitals, and shelters, for the maintenance of which a separate treasury was dedicated. This was a phenomenon unprecedented for that time.

Ashot III Bagratuni went down in history as a true benefactor, for which he was nicknamed the Merciful. A monument to Ashot the Merciful authored by sculptor Ferdinand Arakelyan stands in Gyumri.

Queen Khosrovanush was not inferior to her husband: in 966, Sanahin Monastery was built thanks to her efforts. In Haghpat, large scientific and educational centers were established in 976 as well.Ruben Shukhyan

Ruben Shukhyan

Oromos, early 20th century
Oromos Monastery. Surb Gevorg Chapel and the grave of King Ashot the Most Gracious (Ashot III Bagratuni)
Monument to Tsar Ashot the Gracious (Ashot III Bagratuni) in Gyumri
Martiros Saryan at the Oromos temple

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