Armenia became the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion, in 301. This country has the oldest history and the most interesting and beautiful places. Echmiadzin is one of such places.
Etchmiadzin or Vagharshapat, became the political, cultural, religious and educational center of the country. There is a bracing chill of history in the air.
As soon as I reached the city, I decided to ask the local people where I should start my trip in Etchmiadzin. And the answer I received immediately: the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, which hes its connection with the name of King Trdat III and the Catholicos of St. Gregory the Illuminator.
Usually Armenian churches are rather ascetic which creates some peaceful atmosphere of the Armenian churches. But not this Cathedral.
The path to the cathedral runs past the carved wooden sculptures, khachkars of various shapes and sizes.
There is a theological university-institute of the Armenian Apostolic Church: Gevorkian Theological Seminary on the territory of the monastic complex. As well as Armenian Genoice monument, which was erected to the victims of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, on the monument are carved the names of the holy Armenian martyrs who were victims of the massacre.
There is also the Vache and Tamar Manukian Matenadaran, which allows the reading community and scientists to use rich collection of the religious and Armenian study books from the Holy See depository.
Etchmiadzin is the residence of the Armenian patriarch, the Catholicos of all Armenians. His palace is located in the courtyard of the monastery. At the entrance to the residence of Catholicos rises "the gates of Trdat”.
But while visiting Etchmiadzin it’s worth to drop a little deeper and further out of Etchmiadzin Cathedral.
Armenian guests also like to visit other temples of Vagharshapat as St. Hripsime, Shoghakat and Gayane. These temples not only enchant the harmony of proportions, but also force you to ingulf more and more in the enchanting and mysterious atmosphere floating in the air.
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