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| Tegher Monastery|
The Monastery of Tegher.
|Location|| Near the modern village of Tegher and across the gorge from Byurakan, Aragatsotn Province,|
|Affiliation||Armenian Apostolic Church|
|Year completed||13th century|
The Tegher Monastery (Armenian: Տեղեր or Տեղերի Վանք; also Tegheri Vank) is an early 13th century Armenian monastery and church located on the southeastern slopes of Mount Aragats near the modern village of Tegher and across the gorge from Byurakan, Armenia. It was built for Princess Khatun, the wife of Prince Vatcheh Vatchutian who had purchased the district of Aragatzotn from the Zakarian brothers. The architect Vardapet Aighbairik designed Tegher and the monasteries of Saghmosavank and Hovhannavank during the 13th century. The church survived intact during a time that Mongol invasions plagued the lands.
The church of Surb Astvatsatsin was built in the year 1213, and is constructed from dark gray basalt. It is a cruciform type structure with a chamber in each of the four corners and a semicircular apse at the end of the hall. A central tall round drum rests above with a tent style dome, supported by the corners of the square which is supported by columns below. The roof of the church is gabled. The structure is simply decorated except for the cornice moldings and accentuation of the arches in the main area. From the outside, the building is rectangular with two wall niches and windows on the north, east, and south.
The gavit adjacent to S. Astvatsatsin was finished in the year 1221. It is a large central-plan with four large columns. Intersecting arches support the square on which the dome with an oculus sits. Situated on top of the gavit are two towers with second stories where students lived. On one of the columns of the gavit is an inscription that gives credit to the architect Vardapet Aighbairik for designing S. Astvatsatsin and gavit. In this same structure are numerous graves, one of which is Princess Khatun and another is her husband Prince Vatcheh Vatchutian. Outside of the gavit, on the front façade above the portal are a grouping of cross designs carved into the stone. Each is a memorial to a wealthy donor who supported the construction of the monastery, and is thus given "free passage" to heaven.
The ruins of the 9th century village of Tegher sits a short distance walk from the front portal of the monastery. Numerous foundations may be seen, along with the remains of a Tukh Manuk funerary chapel of the 5th century. Nearby is also the medieval to 19th century cemetery with some mausoleums and khachkars.
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