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Gandzasar

The monastery complex Gandzasar is located in the village of Vank of Martakert Province of the Nagorno - Karabakh Republic. The name of Gandzasar is connected with the metal mines in the nearby mountains (in Armenian Gandz – treasure, Sar - Mountain). It has been the spiritual center of Artsakh over the centuries. In the late Middle Ages Separate Patriarchate functioned in Gandzasar. As the Armenian Catholicos (supreme patriarch of the Armenian Gregorian Church) Ananias Mokatsi evidenced, there was a church as early as in the 10th century, traces of which have not survived.

The first church of the monastery, St. Hovhannes Mkrtich (John the Baptist), was built by the architect Karim, under the auspices of the count Khacheni Hasan - Jalal, in 1216. There is a highly artistic scene of the crucifixion on the western facade of the church.

The narthex (gavit) is a spacious room with arches. In 1261 the countess Mamkan build a large narthex in front of the church, which became the graveyard of the count family of Hasan Jalalyan.

There functioned a Seminary in the Middle Ages. Gandzasar was the center of the Armenian liberation struggle in the 17th - 18th centuries.

Hovhannes Miaynaketsi left the inscription of the Hasan Jalal the great vow on the northern wall of the St. Hovhannes Mkrtich church in Gandzasar, in 1240. According to the 27 - lined will of Hasan Jalal the Great, when the construction works of Gandzasar started and the stonemasons reached the eastern window, his mother, Khorishah went to Jerusalem, just like Heghine, the wife of King Abas, had done, and stayed there as a hermit in the church of St. Haroutiun for the rest of her life. According to his will, he freed the church from taxes and by the will of the congregation and by the patriarchy of Nerses Catholicos of Aghvanq celebrates holy liturgies. According to the legend the head of Hovhannes Mkrtich, the blood of Zechariah, the father of Hovhannes Mkrtich, the jaw if Gigor Lusavorich, the remains of the Lusavorich's grandson, Grigoris, St. Pantaleon doctor and of other martyrs are buried in Gandzasar.