Church complex of Pemzashen

Founded in the V c..

In the center of the Pemzashen village of the Shirak district, there is a midcentury unique monument consisting of churches, which had been built close to one another. In 1970 on the northern part the basilica 5 c., (the lower rows of the strong walls still preserved) was discovered. In the south, there is a small church from the 6th century. Between the two basilicas there is a cruciform, vaulted church 6c., made with large reddish shaved tuff stones. In the north-eastern and south-eastern parts of the church there are rectangular, three-storied shelters with numerous niches. On the walls are the initials of the master craftsmen. The tromps of the vault’s second row is decorated. On the western entrance there is a sculpture of St.Mary embracing the Holy Child and the angels are seen hovering above them. The church’s composition is of the Armenian early mid-century exceptional art.

To the south-east from Pemzashen is the Makaravank’s St.Sion church, which according to the inscription was constructed in 1001 by someone with the name of Sahak. Around the church there is an old cemetery of the monastery. Not too from it in the middle of a ravine - is the vaulted church of St.Astvatzatzin (Holy Virgin) 17c.

Also in the territory of Pemzashen the church of Arakelots monastery 11c is located. Until presently only the lower part of the bell-tower was preserved. To the west of the monastery there is a grave of Vahram Pahlavuni’s brother - Ablgharib - made of a masterpiece cross-stone on the tri-step pedestal (created by bishop Sargis in 1036).

In the south of Pemzashen - at the eastern part, a cross-stoned old cemetery 13-14 cc. is situated. At the south- eastern portion of the settlement, on top of the hill, there are remnants of the walls of the mid-century fort. In 1940 in Pemzashen a rich collection of bronze and iron items, dating back to 2000 B.C. was found.

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