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Vagarshapat better known as Echmiadzin, disposed twenty km away from the capital, it is a town in Armavir province with a populace of approximately 57 thousand inhabitants. It is a sacred place for Armenians and the headquarter of the Armenian Church.
Initially, at the foundation in the fourth or third century BC by king Vagharsh, to the city was given the name Vardkesavan, but in subsequent periods it was renamed as Vagharshapat, which is remained as its official name until now. Up to the 4th centenary for decades it was the capital of Armenia.
The city, like the entire region is rich in historical memorials, but the most significant is the Echmiadzin Cathedral, founded by Gregory the Illuminator. As it seen from the Armenian chronicles of the fifth century, Saint had an apparition of Christ, showed him the place, where to be built the Cathedral.
It was primarily an arched basilica, but in the 5th century, that time governor ordered to destroy it and instead build a new one. In 618 it was amended again and this time the Cathedral was built with a cupola, with four massive pillars are connected by arches. Since then, the structure of the shrine has rested almost unclippled to this day.
Only in the early 18th, the inside walls of the cathedral was enriched with murals depicting oriental garden full of roses, cypress and winged cherubs, and also added a few elements of the facade. In the past centuries here was stored a priceless collection of medieval manuscripts, which was then transported to the Matenadaran in Yerevan.
To the left of the Cathedral there is a Gate of St. Trdat, where is the path to the impressive Palace of the Patriarch. It also has close Theological Academy, and in the vicinity you can see numerous khachkars.
Along with the cathedral and temples of Echmiadzin, the Site of Zvartnots became included in the World Heritage List since 2000.
The most important relic, is a treasure of the Church, represents a part of the Holy Lance, by which had been pierced the body of Christ. Other relics stored here – the remains of the saints Thaddeus, Peter and Andrew, and fragments of Noah’s ark.
The cathedral is encircled by a large beauteous garden where in the territory also visible other buildings and cells of monks.
Apart from the famous Cathedral, in Vagharshapat you can also visit the temples, having great importance in the Christian culture of Armenia, are shrines of the holy martyrs Hripsime, Gayane and Shoghakat.
So, Saint Hripsime Church was constructed in 618 in the site where before there was a chapel on the spot of the death of the Holy martyr. This temple was later rebuilt and is considered amongst the most beautiful edifices of its era.