“Aseghnagorts” - The Finest Khachkar In The World
The 12th century monastery of Goshavank, located in the Tavush Province of Armenia, kept samples of the world's finest khachkars (cross-stones) - two khachkars of the beautiful “lace” work, and both were made by the Master Poghos.
In 1291, they were installed on both sides of the entrance to the church of St. Gregory the Illuminator. In 1935, one of the khachkars was moved to Yerevan, to the Museum of History of Armenia.
When you visit Goshavank, you’ll see the “Aseghnagorts” (“The Needlecarved”) khachkar still standing by the entrance to the chapel, which is a true work of art: lace patterns and ornaments are carved into the intricate multi-layered composition of the stone so that it seems to have soared above its base. The “lace” of the ornament gracefully and smoothly changes, following the gaze moving around the cross on the stone.
It is noteworthy that none of the elements and patterns on the surface of the khachkar is repeated. The cross sits on an ornamented rosette, over which the Tree of Life is depicted, and the framing of the khachkar consists of eight-pointed stars.
Khachkar is a stone stele, a votive column, installed as a gift or in honor of a memorable event. Initially, the khachkars were not tombstones, although now they can often be seen in this capacity.
Most often, khachkars were made from volcanic basalt or tuffa. Khachkars are not covered with an ordinary ornamental pattern - symbols related to Christianity are woven into each of them. The slabs were grouped in several pieces and installed with the front surface to the west. The large khachkars often have a cornice protecting them from the rain.