Haghpat Monastery is a complex located near the village of the same name, 10 km away from Alaverdi. This monastic complex is a beautiful example of Armenian temple architecture included in UNESCO World Heritage List. The monastery that was built in 976 is located on plateau surrounded by picturesque gorges. The construction was initiated by Queen Khosrovanuysh; the first part of the complex was the Cathedral of Surb Nishan. Wife of King Ashot III dedicated the monastic complex to her sons.
After the fall of Bagratid dynasty, the monastery became abandoned. In 1064, Haghpat experienced rapid development under the rule of Zakaryan dynasty. The monastic complex became three times as big as it used to be, a chapel, a library, and a large refectory were built; the interior of the cathedral was adorned with beautiful frescoes. In 12th century, the complex became the cultural and religious center of big significance not only in Lori, but in the country. Grammar, theology, and philosophy were taught by the brightest minds of medieval Armenia. The monastery possessed the only printing house in the region.
Haghpat is known for being the last refuge for a famous poet, musician, and ashugh –Sayat-Nova; his name translates as “King of Songs”. In 1768, Heraclius II of Georgia sent a famous poet to the monastery to be turned into a monk. Some sources say that tsar was enraged after finding out about love affair between King of Songs and his sister.
Modern monastic complex consists of Saint Nshan Church with beautifully adorned interior and exterior, Saint Gregory Church that was built in 1005, Saint Astvatsatsin Church, a book-depository, a refectory, and an ancient graveyard with khachkars. This ancient center of culture and science is included in UNESCO World Heritage List. Come and see this majestic example of temple architecture.