St.Astvatzatzin (Surb Nshan) church of Yeghvard

1301 c.

Yeghvard (Kotayk district) is a large, tidy, ancient village with the small, two-story St.Astvatzatzin (Holy Virgin) church (1301), steeple visible from afar, and an important 5th century ruined basilica.

Yeghvard, one of the Armenian old settlements, is full of different period and type valuable architectural monuments. In the middle of Avan are situated the ruins of a one-nave church (only the bottom part of walls preserved). The scheme is a prolonged rectangle (9.1 x 23.5m) stretching towards east-west direction. One of the four entries is from west, the other three are from south. A one line inscription of 660 stretches on the wall. By its architecture and decoration Yeghvard's basilica belongs to the Armenia's churches of Vc. But in VI-VIIcc (probably in Movses Yeghvardetsi's power) the basilica was restored- the original wooden roof was replaced with a tiled one.

In the middle of Yeghvard stands the Holy Virgin church-belfry (1301). Its second floor has an almost cross-like scheme, with a stalactic finishing hole instead of an apse. Stone stairs are only on the second floor; a wooden staircase was put to get up there.

The walls of the church stand out with exceptional richness of decorations. Yeghvard's church is one of the best monuments of Medieval Armenia and is the best-preserved one.

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