Kotavank 1.jpg

Kotavank (south wall) and the adjacent cemetery.

Basic information
Location Nerkin Getashen village, Gegharkunik Province, Template:Flag
Geographic coordinates 40°08′29″N 45°15′53″E / 40.1415°N 45.2647°E / 40.1415; 45.2647Coordinates: 40°08′29″N 45°15′53″E / 40.1415°N 45.2647°E / 40.1415; 45.2647
Affiliation Armenian Apostolic Church
Architectural description
Architectural type Cruciform central-plan
Architectural style Armenian
Year completed 9th century
Dome(s) 1 (collapsed)
Armenia location map
Shown within Armenia

Kotavank (Armenian: Կոթավանք) is a church located on a hill overlooking the Argitchi River and village of Nerkin Getashen, south of Lake Sevan in the Gegharkunik Province of Armenia. In the early medieval it was the capital of the region known during that time as Kot.


The church of Surb Astvatsatsin (Kotavank) was built in the 9th century for Grigor Supan, the son of Princess Mariam. It has a large cruciform central-plan constructed from roughly hewn basalt blocks. There are two portals that lead into the space from the south and west walls. The roof, drum, and dome have since collapsed, while the walls, some of the vaulting (one vault is collapsed), and the semicircular apse with four side rooms are still intact. The apse of the church is located at the east. The north and south wings are semicircular in plan, whereas the west wing is rectangular. Two of the corner rooms or "studies" are entered through the north and south walls of the western rectangular wing. The other two are entered from the east walls of the northern and southern semicircular wings. Above the studies were secret chambers that were meant to be used as places to hide from invading armies. These areas are partially viewable through two holes high upon the wall on either side of the apse. The dome and drum that once stood above, had numerous decorations. Under the church were two tunnels; one that lead from a spring nearby to the church, and another used as an escape route in case of invasion that lead from the church to the valley . Kotavank and Kot were destroyed by invasions and later a earthquake.

A large medieval cemetery surrounds the church with numerous khachkars. A modern cemetery adjacent has started to encroach upon the old one, leaving many of the khachkars and ancient tombstones upturned in a pile, moved from their original locations. Upon a hill adjacent to the modern cemetery is yet another ancient cemetery with many khachkars. Within the village is a ruined basilica called "Jam" by the locals with ancient khachkars and tombstones built into its walls, and not far away is a small shrine. There are also two large stone forts from the Middle Ages located 2 km to the east and 3 km the west of the village. Other khachkars may be seen along the main road leading to the hill where Kotavank rests upon.



  • Kiesling, Brady (2005), Rediscovering Armenia: Guide, Yerevan, Armenia: Matit Graphic Design Studio 

External links

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