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Haghartsin monastery ensemble

     In the upper reaches of the Aghstev River, there is Haghartsin monastery ensemble of the Tavush district. It is situated in dense oak wood, in the gorge of small but turbulent mountain river. The local terrain and scenery determined the compositional peculiarities of this ensemble.
     The church of St. Astvatsatsin (1281) de­serves special mention. This is the biggest building of all, the artistic dominant of the ensemble. The tall sixteen-faceted dome, dominating all the other structures, is decorated with a graceful arcature. This adds to the optical height of the dome and creates the impression that its drum is weightless. The interesting sculptural group of the church's eastern facade shows two men in monks' attires who point with their hands at a model of a church and a picture of a dove with half-spread wings placed between them. The figures are shown wearing different dresses - the one standing right is dressed richer than the one standing left. The faces, with their long whiskers, luxuriant combed beards and large almond-shaped eyes, are also executed in different manners. These are probably the founders of the church, the Father Supe­rior and his assistant.

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