ZVARTNOTS

Its incomparable magic has captivated the people of different nations and religions, has enchanted emperors and travelers. For the construction of Zvartnots, we owe to the Armenian Catholicos Nerses Taetsi, 642-661, whom people called Nerses Shinogh(Builder) for his glorious construction works. It was one of the wonders of those times. The temple, indeed, was huge in its size. Being on a large, seven-stair stylobate, it had a height of 59 meters, a three-storeyed, fully built from a grey basalt and an orange tufa. Zvartnots's composition was calculated from the point of a viewer's visual perception. It should have an impact on a man with its unusual artistic elegance. The temple has been standing for 300 years and has been devastated by an earthquake staying eight years under the land layers.It was found during the excavations in 1900-1907. The main excavations in Zvartnots were performed by the genius architect T.Toramanian. In 1905 Toramanian already presented his plan of the reconstruction of the temple, showing that, unlike any other early medieval Armenian architectural monuments, it incorporates their best peculiarities; and it marks a new level, such a success in the Armenian architecture that later on, in the X-XI centuries-Ani periods ( Bagratid Armenia), each significant building on the Armenian land should have its influence. Toramanian’s reconstruction plan caused a number of disputes; many of the time researchers were skeptic and claimed that a large, three-storey building, the upper volumes of which rested on the arches, could not have been built in that century. However, soon during the excavations of the ancient capital Ani, the model of st. Grigor Church (just like Zvartnots building), built by Gagik Bagratuni was found. The model was just the same as Toroamanian’s reconstucted plan-the great master of Armenian architecture. Here is the Toramanian’s reconstruction plan: Zvartnots is a square, four apses, central-domed from inside, with a rounded symmetry from the outside, a three-storey, gradually becoming in a narrow, wonderful building, the last storey of which is the dome. The architect restored the architectural forms, details, and decorations of the first and second floors and the outer walls of the dome from the debris of the temple .

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