The 10th century Marmashen Monastery is located 10 km northwest of the city of Gyumri, in the valley of the Akhuryan River, far from the settlements, in the midst of nature in the Shirak Province of Armenia. The monastery is considered one of the most beautiful in the architectural school of Shirak.
The Marmashen Monastery was founded in 988, and its construction was completed in 1029. According to a legend, the famous architect Trdat was invited for this beautiful monument, he was the one who restored the dome of St. Sophia in Constantinople, built the residence of the Catholicoses and the royal palace in the new capital of Armenia, Ani, and erected the church of Surb Nshan in the Haghpat Monastery.
The territory of the monastery is surrounded by the remains of a roughly built fence, in which you can find fragments of ancient monastery buildings, details of khachkars, slabs with building inscriptions. On the southern wall of the main temple, a lengthy building inscription of the famous Armenian military leader Prince Vahram Pahlavuni has been preserved.
In the 11th century, during the Seljuk invasion, the monastery was devastated: the cathedral church was turned into a fortress, and the area around it into a village. Only in 1225 did the Zakarian princes (according to the inscription preserved on the northern wall) return the monastery to the princely house of Pahlavuni. It was restored through the efforts of the grandchildren of Vahram Pahlavuni, the Archbishop Grigor and his brother Prince Garib.
In the 13th century the monastery was destroyed again, this time during the Tatar-Mongol invasion. In the 30s of the 19th century, after the Russian-Turkish war, a group of Armenians from Kars arrived in Marmashen. The cathedral church of the monastery was turned into a parish church. In 1870, Mkrtich Jalalyan restored the monastery and opened a school under it.
During the earthquake of 1883, the northern church was damaged. In 1900, Catholicos Mkrtich I Vanetsi was engaged in restoration work in the monastery. In 1923, after the establishment of Soviet power in Armenia, the church ceased to function.
In 1988, its building was damaged by the Spitak earthquake (there were cracks on the southern wall from the base to the dome). In 2001, the Katoghike Church was restored by the efforts of the Italian benefactor Gayane Kaznati.
If you are in Armenia, be sure to visit this holy and sacred place! To include Marmashen Monastery in your itinerary, please contact Phoenix Tour in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org