Type: Domed Basilica - Longitudinal three-aisled
Location: In the village and region of the same name in Armenia
Date: VII c
Evidence for date:
State of preservation:
Summary: The Cathedral of T'alin is located in the village
and region of the same name in Armenia (Coord. 40-23/43-53).
On the basis of architectural evidence, the church
is assigned to the 7th century when the region of Talin was ruled
by the Gamsarakan family. Prince Nerseh Kamsarakan is known to have
commissioned the nearby small church of T'alin, St. Astuacacin,
(A-0022) according to its building inscription. The Cathedral may
have been constructed in the second half of the seventh century
(Mnac'akanyan, 1964; Harouthiounian, 1975).
The church was severely damaged through the centuries. An earthquake
destroyed the cupola and part of the drum in 1840. Restoration work
was undertaken in 1947. In 1958, further work was begun and is continuing
as of 1981. Many areas of the church need repair, including walls,
arches, vaults, foundations, the drum and portions of the ornamental
T'alin is a longitudinal three-aisled church with a dome and with
three projecting Apses on the east, north, and south sides respectively.
Its plan appears to be a synthesis of the cruciform and the older
Armenian basilica-type churches with cupola (Dvin, A-0016 or Mren,
A-2176). Each Apse is polygonal on the exterior.
Four large piers, linked by arches, define the central square that
supported the cupola (now collapsed). Pendentives are used to make
the transition from the square below to the circular drum of the
cupola above. Entrances are from the north, south, and west elevations.
The Cathedral is one of the most imposing churches in Armenia in
size and height. It is constructed of native tuff stone with colors
ranging from rose to gray predominating. As at Aruc (A-0002) there
are many large windows. Each Apse has three framed on the exterior
with a blind arcade. A variety of floral and geometric motifs are
carved on the arches which rest on slender double colonnettes. A
similar arcade frames the windows of the drum. Other openings are
crowned with arches, each consisting of a band of sculptured ornament.
The tall niches on the west facade have no constructional significance
with respect to the interior division of space (as at Hrip'sime
or Aruc, A-0020 and A-0002). Traces of col
or on the exterior cornices and crowns of the windows indicate that
they were painted at on time.
On the interior, T'alin contains remnants of important wall paintings
which corroborate the testimony of the late 6th or early 7th century
Vrt'anes K'ert'ogh that gospel cycles were painted on the interiors
of Armenian churches. Christ's entry into Jerusalem is represented
on the south wall. The figure of Christ seated on a donkey was clearly
visible in 1918. At present, the only segments of the scene visible
are the portraits of the six apostles.
T'alin contains the only existing Armenian example of a wall painting
showing Christ in a medallion with busts of the apostles. The figures
surround the Apse arch. The Apse itself once contained a Theophanic
vision, as at Mren (A-2176), Lmbat (A-0008) and Gosh (A-0083). In
addition, there are portraits of saints standing in pairs between
the window of the Apse. Other examples of standing saints appear
at Aruc (A-0002) and Mren (A-2176), both 7th century churches.
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(Rept. Beirut, 1965-1967). I, 322-325.
EP'RIKIAN, S. Bnashkharhik Bararan. 2 vols. Venice, 1903-1905. I,
STRZYGOWSKI, J. Die Baukunst der Armenier und Europa. 2 vols. ,
Vienna, 1918. I, 124.
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Byzantinische Zeitschrift XXIX, 1930
JAKOBSON, A.L. Esquisse de l'Histoire de l'Architecture Armenienne,
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Moscow and Leningrad, 1951, 45.
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Erevan, 1955, 124.
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Kesic' Minch'ew VII Dari Verje", Aknark Hay Chartarapetut'yan
Patmut'yan, Ed. B. Arak'elian and M.D. Mazmanian. Erevan, 1964,
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Leningrad and Moscow, 1966, 212-213.
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