Geghard monastery is located in Ararat Province and is believed to date back to the fourth century, when a small cave church was excavated from the rock around a spring. It was expanded throughout the middle ages and the monastery today dates from the thirteenth century, with the rebuilding commencing in 1215. The name Geghard refers to the Holy Lance that pierced the side of Christ and appears to have linked to the site from the time of its rebuilding in the thirteenth century. Today the fact that Geghard is a UNESCO World Heritage site relatively close to Garni means that it is a centre of tourism as well as pilgrims. Although there is nothing remaining of the ancient monastery, the site is included here to offer evidence that there was cave monasticism in Armenia, even if it does not appear to have been as widespread a practice as in Georgia.
Tags: Architecture, Armenia, C13th, C4th, Cave, Church, Geghard, Holy Lance, Monastery, UNESCO
Noria al Jessrieh in Hama 1962
This image shows one of the famous noria, or wooden water wheels of Hama. Although they were once numerous along the Orontes River, few survive to the present day and they are believed to date back to at least the C13th. However, since the wood is replaced with new insertions as it wears away or rots, it is debateable how much ancient wood still remains in these wheels. They are particularly prized for their distinctive 'song' made by the creaking of the wood as the wheel turns.
Tags: 1962, Architecture, C13th, Hama, Noria, Orontes, Syria, Wood
Church of St. Gregory of Tigran Honents
An inscription on the Eastern wall of the church tells us that the church was built by a wealthy merchant, Tigran Honents, in 1215 AD. At the time Ani was under Georgian control and the church is believed to have been Georgian orthodox originally with the impressive and well preserved frescos within speculated as having been painted by Georgian artists.
Tags: Armenian, C13th, Church, Fresco, Georgian, Inscription, Turkey
Qalat Ibn Maan
Qalat Ibn Maan is the medieval castle that sits on the hill to the west of the ancient city of Palmyra. It is thought to date to the C13th and, although occupying an impressive defensive position its construction of rough fieldstone means that the walls would not have been able to withstand a heavy bombardment.
Tags: Architecture, C13th, Castle, Citadel, Fortress, Palmyra, Qalat Ibn Maan, Syria, Tadmor
Samtavisi is a large C13th church with the remains of a substantial C5th basilica lying directly to the south. This means that they were built side-by-side and raises the question of when the C5th basilica fell out of use and whether the later building was its replacement.
Tags: (As)Syrian Fathers, Architecture, C13th, C5th, Church, Georgia, Samtavisi, Shida Kartli, Thirteen (As)Syrian Fathers
Samtavro is the place just outside the ancient settlement of Mtskheta where St. Nino is believed to have lived. A small chapel thought to have C4th origins stands beside a bush which Georgians believe to replicate the burning bush witnessed by Moses in the Sinai desert. The C11th church beside the chapel of St. Nino was the place of burial for a number of Georgian kings and queens, most significantly King Mirian I and Queen Nana historically the first Christian rulers of the country. The belltower in the complex is C13th.
Tags: Architecture, Bell Tower, Burning Bush, C11th, C13th, C4th, Church, Georgia, Grave, Mirian, Mtskheta, Nana, Samtavro, Shida Kartli, Sinai, St. Nino