Ejmiatsin Things to Do Tips by RedEaredPanda
Ejmiatsin Things to Do: 13 reviews and 19 photos
Underneath the ground at St. Hripsime's Church
One of the rooms underground at corners of the church within St. Hripsime's Church is a room where one lights candles and sends prayers to God.
In the picture you can see stones leaning against the wall with Armenian text written on them. They are prayers carved into stone many centuries ago and these stones were found within the church at various point where they were collected and displayed in this underground prayer room. You can also see khachkars with are "stone crosses" carved within the stones of the walls.
Proudly said, we lighted a candle at every monastary and church we visited within Armenia... Even at Yerevuyk church where no one had visited the site for many months maybe.
Directions: Underneath The ground within St. Hripsime's Church at one of the corners down the stairs.
Christine Kneeling down by St. Hripsime's Tomb
When visiting St. Hripsime's Church in Ejmiatsin, make sure you walk down the stairs from within the church on one of the corners to visit St. Hripsime's Tomb.
The tomb is centrally placed in the middle of an underground room surrounded by 7th century stones. Trust me, the place smells and feels like many many centuries old. The picture of St. Hripsime is on the tomb stone and visited by nearly all tourists who visit the city of Ejmiatsin. You must also take notice to the small little window covered by glass where you will find a hand sized rock sitting inside. It is believed that St. Hripsime was murdered by a blow with this rock to the head. The rock is located on the front wall as you enter the underground room.
Directions: Down stairs underground from within St. Hripsime's Church in Ejmiatsin.
Outside St. Hripsime Church in Ejmiatsin
St. Hripsime was one of the refugee nuns from Rome in the late 3rd century who were persecuted under the rule of King Trdat III and the king himself tried to marry first then rape her. This 7th century church dedicated to her is unquestionably one of Armenia's architectural gems. It was built by order of katholikos Komitas in 618.
Standing on a raised paved area above the road and with the old fortified wall on the west side, the very pale pink tuff church is essentially a cross-dome church, with a 16 sided tambour, although it is more square most. It has four apses with a corner room between each apse.
We were fortunate to visit this church on 3 separate occasions. Since it was located fairly close to some friends who lived on the same street that church is, we walked over to it and spent a good chunk of time exploring. We also attended our good friend's wedding there as well.
This church is well worth a visit since it holds a very long history and you can really feel the age of the stones and walls as you walk inside the church. There is a room on one of the corners which must be visited and that is where St. Hripsime's grave is located.
Directions: It is the first church one comes across while driving to Ejmiatsin from Yerevan. It is located on the right hand side on Mesrop Mashtots Street.
Outside St. Gayane Church
St. Gayane church is another famous church in the city of Ejmiatsin after Ejmiatsin main Cathedral and St. Hripsime Church. They all all located near one another hence one can walk from one church to the other.
The history of St. Gayane Church has it that this Church was the abbess of the fleeing nuns persecuted by Trdat III king. The church was built by order of Katholikos Ezr in 630 on the site of Gayane's martyrium. By early 17th century it was forlorn, roof having collapsed to leave just the walls and piers standing. Major reconstruction was therefore carried out in 1651-53 and a chapel was constructed under the east apse of the saint's relics.
In 1683 a gallery was added at the west end. the 3 cathedral arches are open while the smaller side ones built to house the remains of dignitaries of the church are blanked off and topped with six column belfries.
On Sundays, St Gayane's church is a popular place for sacrifices and or celebrating christenings..
Directions: St. Gayane's church can be seen from Ejmiatsin Cathedral and monastary. It is also off of the street Araratian. If can't locate it, just ask anyone and they will point the way.
The Enterance to Ejmiatsin Cathedral
This is one of our favorite photos of Armenia.. Since taking photographs inside the cathedral is not allowed, especially using a flash, we opted to take a few photos outside the cathedral and inside the monastary as memories..
This Photograph of the entrance to the Ejmiatsin Cathedral turned out to be one of our favorites.. The detailed handwork that has gone into making this entrance is breathtaking... A tail holds that while the roof of the enterance gate was being made, carved and painted, a scorpion had traveled to the roof and the people working on the roof painted over the scorpion and left him there.. As one looks closely to the roof, at one of the corners, the shape of a scorpion can be seen.
Holly Bible and Cross in Ejmiatsin Cathedral
This picture is a close up of the Holly Cross and Holly Bible which is located in the center of the Ejmiatsin Cathedral in the Monastary..
We stood there during the mass watching many devoted people kneel down and approach the Holly Bible and the Cross on knees and then kiss them one by one... They would say things in the midst of it so it is my guess they were either saying prayers or asking God for forgiveness or wishing for something..
It is an experience one should not miss.. It is not allowed to take pictures with a flash inside the church so I could not really get a good picture of the public kissing the Holly Cross.. My pictures came out blurry....
In Ejmiatsin Cathedral where St. Gregory saw light
Inside the Ejmiatsin Cathedral in the monastary, the story holds that St. Gregory the Illuminator saw the light and heard from Christ in the city of Ejmiatsin at the exact location seen in the picture.
The center of the church way before the altar where the priest stands during the mass is a square with lots of religious ornaments, candles, etc.. and in there exists the Holly bible and the Holly Cross....
We couldn't really get close to it during the mass as many people were standing before it and lots of people would kneel down and kiss the cross and the bible.. It was an interesting scene to experience..
Wall inside Ejmiastin Monastary Where Pope Stood
Pope John Paul II arrived on a visit in Armenia Tuesday, September 25 of 2001. He participated in celebrations of the 1700th anniversary of Armenia's conversion to Christianity and spoke infront of this wall specially built for his visit to Armenia.
The Pope John Paul II gave an ecumenic mass in the new Yerevan's central cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator and a mass in Latin in the Echmiadzin cathedral.
We took a picture infront of this wall because the Pope's visit to Armenia and the 1700 years celebration of Christianity in Armenia is a special historic event.
Outside Ejmiatsin Monastary
On the basis of Archaeological evidence, the first monastary at Ejmiatsin is of the basilica form and built and rebuilt in the 480s. This monastary was built on the site where St. Gregory the Illuminator is said to have seen the light from above. It is a complex of many buildings with the main church in the center. There are theology students studying the religion of Christianity in some of the buildings surrounding the church.
On Sundays, there is an extensive mass with many people visiting the church. Thousands of tourists each year visit the city of Ejmiatsin including the one and only Pope residing in Italy who visited Armenia in the past couple of years. I would recommend visiting the monastary and the church on a sunday to see the sermon and the mass. It was an overwhelmingly emotional visit for the both of us to visit this holly site.
One important tip to remember about the church is that taking photographs with a flash is prohibited inside of the church. However, I saw people with videocameras during the mass.
Visiting this church and the monastary complex should be on everyone's top 10 sites to visit in Armenia. I highly recommend visiting on Sunday along with the other two famous monastaries in the city of Ejmiatsin, St. Hripsime and St. Gayane Monastaries.
City of Ejmiastin is a 20-30 minute drive with a taxi from Yerevan, the capital going East.
Directions: In the city of Ejmiatsin, it has entrances from Araratian Street and from Atarbekian street. Every taxi driver in Armenia knows of the location so there is no way to miss the church.
Komitas Statue in Ejmiatsin
The central square of the town Ejmiatsin is called the Komitas Square and a statue of Komitas, the composer, made by Ervand Kochar (Same person responsible for the eagle at Zvartnots) was erected in 1969.
Komitas (1869-1935) is perhaps the best known composer of more recent times in Armenian history. He has written many wonderful chants as well as other compositions in traditional Armenian style.
Listening to Komitas beautiful chants in any of Armenia's churches on a sunday morning is an experience which every visitor to Armenia should seek out.
Address: Komitas Square (town center) in Ejmiatsin
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