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Index of Armenian Art: Armenian Architecture

TSITSERNAVANK

Type: Three aisled basilica
Location: 10 km from the village of Khonotsakh, near Lachin, Karabagh
Date: V-VI c.
Evidence for date:
Important details: Pillars were originally square and later made wider in length. Hidden apse. Two side chambers. One roof highland, Hellenistic type.
State of preservation: Deserted, everything existing
Reconstruction:
Summary: The name means "Swallows Monastery". This complex still enclosed in its protective walls is located on a low hill dominating a wide valley.

The ground plan resembles that of the triple-nave basilicas of Eghvard, Ashtarak, and Aparan but with still more striking orientalizing traits. The horseshoe shaped apse is enclosed in the thickness of the wall and the small windows also have the same form. The entrances on the south side and the internal proportions of the nave show a remarkable vertical thrust which is accentuated by the reduced dimensions of the side aisles and the cross vaulting of the main nave. One of the most unusual details is the tripartite gallery (now inaccessible) in the apse; some analogy may be found in Visigothic art despite the improbability of stylistic contact. The basilica was built on a previous pagan structure of which the subsisting foundations are clearly distinguishable through the difference in the materials used. The north wall and all interior pillars have been coated with reinforcements in masonry perhaps as a result of a tendency to landslides.

The geometric bas-reliefs on the pillars are very interesting as well as the curious small niches whose purpose is unknown.

Bibliography:
Sahin 1948 p. 129
Even 1955 p. 58
Cuneo REA 4 1957 203-216
Mnatz 1960 p. 14
Cuneo 1967 monograph
Cuneo plan no. 43. Fig. 11-14
Khatch Fig. 32, plan.
AMA 1968 80
Khatch 1971 43-5, 62, pl. 7 fig. 31
Cuneo 1973 104, 106-7, 109n, 110
D'Onofrio 1973 90-1, 111, 112n, ill. 48 & 65
Gandolfo 1973 213
Kouymjian 1973 15
Kouymjian 1974 1
Kouymjian 1978 20
Zarian REA 197. ...
AA 1981 31-32

 

 


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