Goshavank (“The Monastery of Gosh” in Armenian) is a 12th century monastery located in the village of Gosh in the Tavush Province of Armenia. Today the monastery is not a functioning religious complex, although it remains a popular tourist destination and has recently undergone some light restoration. The impressive monastery, which has remained in relatively good condition also houses one of the world’s finest examples of the khachkars (cross-stones).
The monastery was founded in 1188 by the saintly Armenian cleric Mkhitar Gosh, who was buried in a little chapel overlooking the main complex. Goshavank features a main church (Surp Astvatsatsin) and smaller churches of St. Gregory of Narek and St. Gregory the Illuminator, and the St. Hripsime Chapel, which is located on the opposite hillside and within view. With a school attached, the library is said to have held 15,000 books before it was burned by Timur’s army in the 13th century.
The khachkars created by the carver Poghos in Goshavank stand out among the rest. The best of them is a 1291 khachkar with the maker’s name carved in the bottom left star, which is one of the most intricate examples in existence. The back of the 50,000 Armenian dram bank note depicts that famous Poghos’ khachkar known as “Aseghnagorts” (The Needlecarved) located in the front of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Goshavank Monastery.