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.
Tags: Aparan, Architecture, Armenia, Basilica, C4th-C5th, Qalat Seman, Qalb Lozeh, Yereruyk, Zvartnots
Zvartnots is a centrally-planned cathedral in Armavir Province that was built in the seventh century by Catholicos Nerses III. Today it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and it remains one of the most significant early Christian monuments in Armenia. From the early twentieth century onwards it has been explored in archaeological excavations and a number of archaeologists, art historians and architects have attempted to reconstruct the original form of the building from the extant architectural details. This website is not the place to rehearse the various arguments relating to the site, but a clear and convincing summary of this history and an up-to-date interpretation of the material is offered by Christina Maranci in Vigilant Powers: Three Churches of Early Medieval Armenia, Brepols; Turnhout, 2015. This entry is obviously not the place to detail this complex historiographical tradition, but it is hoped that specialists and non-specialists alike may find some of the attached images useful and/or interesting.
Tags: Archaeological Excavation, Architecture, Armenia, C7th, Centrally-Planned, Church, Nerses III, UNESCO, Zvartnots