{Armenia} Treading on Holy Ground

November 14, 2012


I’ve introduced you to a couple of wonderful museums from Yerevan now, but during the ICOM-CECA Conference we also had the opportunity to go on a day trip and see some more of the country. We had a choice of four different options, and I chose the one with the main focus of visiting Echmiadzin in Armavir Province, Central Armenia, about 20km from Yerevan.

Echmiadzin is home to Echmiadzin Cathedral, also known as the ‘Mother Cathedral of Holy Echmiadzin – the central cathedral of the ‘Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin’, which is the name for the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the worldwide Armenian Apostolic Church and residence of its head, the Catholicos. The cathedral was built in the early 4th century AD and is one of the oldest christians churches in the world. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unfortunately the cathedral was dressed in scaffolding, but you could still see what a beautiful building it was, and the entrance and interior were ornately decorated.

As well as the cathedral and the pontifical and monastic residences, the ‘Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin’ complex also houses a number of other buildings including a library and four museums, mostly church related. We had the chance to visit the Echmiadzin Treasury Museum, home to rare and precious treasures of the Armenian Apostolic Church throughout history including stone crosses, Gospels, robes and headgear, ancient embroidery, metal artefacts such as incense burners or other Eucharistic vessels, and religious icons and paintings.

One of the highlights of the collection is an alleged piece of Noah’s Ark, but sadly it was loan elsewhere for a temporary exhibition. It was still a very interesting visit, and we felt privileged to have had the chance to see this very special place.

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2 Responses to “{Armenia} Treading on Holy Ground”

  1. handmade by amalia Says:

    this is a fascinating glimpse to a place I will probably never visit, it looks so beautiful and steeped with history



  1. Music rising from the ruins | Museum Diary - November 22, 2012

    […] some pretty impressive architecture. I’ve already mentioned the very beautiful 4th century Echmiadzin Cathedral. Alas, another beautiful cathedral that we we were introduced to, this time from the 7th century, […]

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