The name of this monastery is translated as “new monastery”, however, Noravank was built in 13th century. This exceptionally beautiful Armenian monastery is located in a gorge of River Amarghu, 122 km away from Yerevan. The monastery is called Noravank at Amaghu in order to not to confuse it with another Noravank Monastery, in Goris. Amaghu was the name of little settlement that inhabited the gorge. Hard to find another Armenian monastery equally spectacular to this one. Noravank is surrounded by tall, brick-red cliffs of the gorge. Under the rule of Orbelyan dynasty the monastery was a significant religious center of the country. In 13th-14th centuries, residence of Syunik bishops located there. The monastery was, also, the cultural and educational center of medieval Armenia, that wa connected to famous educational institutions like University of Gladzor and University of Tatev.
The construction of the complex was initiated by Bishop Hovhannes who hired a famous architect Monik. The legend says that talented architect fell in love with beautiful girl from a noble Orbelyan family. Her father who ruled in the Syunik Province found out about their relationships. He offered to Monik his daughter’s hand with one condition. Monik had to build an exceptionally beautiful monastery within 3 years. Being madly in love, famous architect got to work immediately. He was putting finishing touches on the dome of the monastery, when an unknown man pushed him off the cupola and Monik died. The ruler of the province would have never given his daughter’s hand to Monik, but he wanted to get use out of architect’s mad love to his daughter, so he did.
Today one of the most beautiful Armenian monasteries consists of Surb Astvatsatsin Church – the largest one, Surb Karapet Church, Surb Grigor Chapel, and a complex of khachkars. This Armenian monastery will amaze you with its architecture and surroundings. Don’t forget to put it on your bucket-list!