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Khor Virap Monastery (Խոր Վիրապ)
Khor Virap Monastery was originally found in
642 near Lusarat in the Armenian Ararat Province. It offers a great view of the mountain Ararat.
According to Old Testament this was the mountain where Noah's
Ark have landed after the Great Flood.
The hill of Khor Virap
where the monastery stands today is located on the site of the
ancient Armenian capital of Artashat that was found here circa
180 BC by king Artashes I, the founder of the Artashesid
dynasty. Armenian king Tiridates III arrested Saint Gregory,
Christian missionary that preached Christianity in the region. Famous
saint spent 13 years in the underground dungeon. This prison cell is
still preserved in its original condition. Khor Vrap Monastery dungeon
is basically a stone blackened vault with small slit windows. It is
opened to tourists and pilgrims. In 301 Tiridates III accepted
Christianity as an official religion of the state and gave Gregory the
Educator his freedom, but the prison was preserved for generations. In
fact monastery complex of "Khor Virap" in Armenian means "deep hole".
Khor Virap Monastery is dominated by an ensemble of two
churches. The first church is dedicated to Saint Gevorg or Saint
Gregory. It was built by Catholicos Nerses III in 642 on a former
ancient prison where Saint Gregory was held as a prisoner. The
second church is dedicated to Saint Astvatsatsin that was constructed in
the late 17th century. It is crowned by a coned dome with a bell tower
adjacent to it.