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Noravank

In the Marz (region) of Vayots Dzor, 3 km to the north-east stands the masterpiece of the Armenian architecture. As long ago as in the early Middle Ages, the Church of St. Pokas functioned here. The healing water was beating under the scene of the church. One can assume that in the pre - Christian Armenia in the place of Noravank there used to be a temple dedicated to the goddess Tsovinar or to the goddess Anahit. The complex includes the St. Astvatsatsin (St. Holly Mother) (“Burtelashen”) sepulcher - church, St. Stepanos Nakhavka (Protomartyr) church with attached gavit (narthex), the St. Grigor Church (Stepanos Orbelian’s Sepulchre).

The main church of the complex is the two - storey mausoleum - church of St. Holly Mother (St. Astvatsatsin), which was built in 1339 as patrimonial cemetery of Orbelyan’s by the count Burtel. Burtelashen is one of the mausoleum - churches of high value, which preserved in the Armenian architecture. This is the last work of the famous medieval master - mason Momik. In the southern side of the church stands the preserved modest cross – stone - graveside monument to Momik, which was created by himself. There is the mausoleum on the semi - underground ground floor. It is distinguished by the exquisite khachkars (cross - stones) and the images of evangelists. On the two sides of the western entrance stairs risen up to the chapel lead to the second floor, which finishes with semicircular altar in the east. Building with four vestries surmounted with colonnade rotunda upon which the dome abuts. On 12 columns of the rotunda there are depicted sculptures of birds, as well as the count Burtel with the maquette of the building in his hands. On the eastern facade of the church the family coat of arms of the count house of Orbelyans is depicted - the eagle, with a deer in his claws.

The gavit (narthex) adjacent to the main church of St. Stephanos Nakhavka (St. Stephanos Protomartyr) and was built by the architect Siranes. Decoration of the gavit (narthex) is a high relief of God the Father and Adam, which considered to be one of the masterpieces of the architect Momik. Church of St. Stephanos Nakhavka (St. Stephanos Protomartyr) was built in 1216 - 1223 by the count Liparit Orbelyan. The cruciform church originally had a central dome as well as two - story vestries in the corners.

The chapel - cemetery St. Grigor, the mausoleum of the count Smbat. The architect of the mausoleum was Sianes. It was built in 1275. The 10 members of the count family of Orbelyans are buried here. The most notable of the gravestones of large size, is a gravestone of Elikum, where he is depicted as a sleeping lion.