New documentary tells about the Armenian Church of Gagkashen in Ani

Alisa Gevorgyan
Public Radio of Armenia

A new film prepared by the Research on Armenian Architecture NGO tells about the Armenian Church of Saint Gregory of Gagkashen in Ani, the replica of Zvartnots Temple – the masterpiece of Armenian architecture. The Church has been under the threat of destruction for about 900 years now. The film will premiere tomorrow at the Union of Architects.

It is thought that King Gagik (who reigned from the year 990 to 1020) chose the architect Trdat (the man who designed the cathedral of Ani) to build his “millennium” church, and it was probably erected between the years 1001 and 1005.

The structure was never very stable, and in 1013 strengthening had to be carried out – including the addition of a substantial amount of extra masonry around the middle two columns of each apse, converting them into piers. These consolidations were unsuccessful and the church collapsed shortly afterwards.

In the 13th century houses were built around and over the ruins, using some of the fallen church’s masonry. Later the ruin site became covered with earth, and at the end of the 19th century all that was visible were some walls on a tall mound.

The ruins were excavated in 1906 by Nikoli Marr. His excavations revealed the plan of the church and recovered many objects of worship, including a bronze candlestick and a chandelier.

Asked whether there is need to built the replica of the Temple of Zvartnots today, expert of monuments Samvel Karapetyan said “We have not reached that level yet.”

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