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  • Tags: C4th-C5th

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Aghdzk is in Aragatsotn Province on the southern slopes of Mt. Aragats. It is best known for the Arshakid or Arshakuni Mausoleum, which was a funerary chapel housing the remains of both Pagan and Christian rulers. The mausoleum abuts a fourth or fifth century Christian basilica and ongoing excavations were exploring the area south of the church and tomb complex when the site was visited in August 2017.

Type: Archaeological Site
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Holy Cross, Aparan

Holy Cross Church also referred to as Kasagh Basilica is in the town of Aparan, Aragatsotn Province. The church dates to the fourth or fifth century and was restored in 1877, as well as having evidence of more recent renovation. The basilica sits on a two-step platform, so is like Yereruyk and Zvartnots in being placed on a raised base and there is a ruined apsed structure of unclear date to the north of the building suggesting that it may have been linked to a possible side chapel in the past. The apse is a protruding polygonal structure, which is relatively unusual in early South Caucasian basilicas, which appear to most frequently terminate in a flat east end. The decoration above the windows on the south side and also in the apse is of the linear type seen at Yereruyk and also above the south entrance of the church at Tsilkani in Georgia. This Armenian variant is in some ways close to Syrian decorative motifs found on the northwest Limestone Massif, but deviates by only being present directly above and to the side of the windows, whereas in Syria they usually follow in a ribbon along the entire church exterior - see for example the entries on this site for Qalb Lozeh and Qal'at Sem'an.

Type: Architecture
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The basilica of Yereruyk is located in the village of Anipemza in Shirak Province in Armenia, right by the border with Turkey. It is believed to date to the fourth and fifth centuries and is one of the earliest Christian monuments in the country. Since the nineteenth century frequent comparisons have been drawn between this site and basilicas in Syria based largely on floor plans and a few images. However there is little more contemporary literature that explores this analogy in any detail and this question is considered on this site in the article entitled The Missing Link? Preliminary Fieldwork in Armenia.

Type: Architecture
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Chabukauri is located to the west of Nekresi monastery and lies in the modern territory of that foundation. As at Dolochopi, the large three-church basilica found on the site was once the centre of a substantial settlement that has since been overtaken by forest, although in this case the growth is not as dense as it is in Dolochopi. Also as at Dolochopi, there are various phases to the building. In this case the large church is believed to date to the fourth to fifth centuries and, after the main church was damaged in an earthquake, part of the north-eastern sector of the building was adapted to become the south aisle of a new, smaller building. This smaller church was constructed with two distinctive horseshoe-shaped apses, the larger of which had a synthronon - as at the main church in nearby Dolochopi. Also as at Dolochopi there are medieval kist burials scattered across the site. Finally to the north west of the main church there is a small apses structure, believed to date to the fourth century, that boasts a high quality terracotta tiled floor, suggesting that this too could have been an early church. The main building was roofed by timber beams and terracotta tiles held in place with nails and ante fixes as at Dolochopi and here there was evidence that the walls of the structure were once plastered and painted red.

Type: Archaeological Excavation
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St. Nicholas/Gemiler Island

Gemiler Island is dotted with several late antique church's from the 4th-6th century AD and is believed to have been the original burial site of St Nicholas, the 4th century AD Bishop of Myra. A covered processional walkway leads to the uppermost and largest church on the island which is cut into the summit of the hill. Fresco's and writing are still visible on portions of one of the lower churches. By the sea, facing the mainland and partially submerged, lie the remains of relatively small structures cut into the rock, likely houses and or shops. Large cisterns are also to be found, presumably to provide fresh water to the permanent monastic population that would have occupied the island and to thirsty pilgrims to the site.

Type: Architecture
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Mount of Beatitudes, Galilee

During Christ’s teachings and miracles in and around the Sea of Galilee, He delivered a collection of teachings that is commonly termed the Sermon on the Mount. This has come to represent the most important piece of teachings from Him and includes the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer. They were written in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapters 5-7. The mountainside on which it took place is known as Mount of the Beatitudes and was said to overlook the Sea of Galilee. Since the 4th Century, a mountainside just north-east of Tabgha has been venerated as the place of the Sermon and a church was built on the site. Very little of this original structure remains and it is difficult to gain access to. In the 20th Century, a new church was built near to the 4th Century church.

Type: Architecture
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Resafa City Gates and Walls

The impressively preserved city walls of Resafa are the subject of some debate when regards to their age and to who's reign their construction can be credited to. Scholars seem to be split as to whether they were constructed in the reigns of the Emperor Anastasius (491-518 AD) or the Emperor Justinian (527-565 AD). Procopius' attributes the first stone wall to the reign of Justinian. However this cannot be wholly accepted as fact as Procopius' accounts are occasionally deliberately misleading and sometimes wholly inaccurate. The most well preserved and impressive of the gates still extant is the Sura Gate on the north side of the city.
Regardless of which reign they were constructed in the defences do seem to be Late Antique. The walls, their covered galleries, the towers and gates were well preserved when I visited in 2010. As a result of the civil war their current condition is hard to ascertain.

Type: Architecture
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Capernaum is an ancient fishing town situated on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee and the ancient highway, the Via Maris, passed through it. It is identified as the place where Christ settled and as it was referred to as “his own town” (Matthew 9:1). He taught in the synagogue (which was rebuilt in the fifth century), it is the place where He healed the paralysed man and it is also the site of Peter’s house. Today, Capernaum is in ruins. It is possible to see the foundations of the houses and the original synagogue that were all made from a local basalt stone. Many decorated stones from the fifth century synagogue are also dotted around the site.

Type: Architecture
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Kafar Daret 'Azzeh

Kafar Daret 'Azzeh means the ruins of Daret 'Azzeh and the remains of the church are located on a hill to the north and east of the current town. The church is dated 399-400 and only survives to a height of 3-4 courses above ground level.

Type: Architecture
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