Harich. The architectural monuments of Harich are situated in the village of he same name in the Artik District, on a cape formed by shallow ravines and the rivers flowing in them. In the village known since the second century BC there survived ruins of ancient fortifications. On the cemetery there are ruins of a small single-nave basilica of the fifth century with annexes in the sides of the altar apse and interesting tombstones with ornamented slabs of the 5th-6th centuries, now at Armenia’s State History Museum, Yerevan. The founding date of the monastery is unknown. Probably it was built not later than the 7th century when its first church was erected. Over 800 years the monastery was repeatedly reconstructed. The largest of these date back to the second half of the 9th century after Harich was made the summer audience of the Catholicos of Echmiadzin in 1850.
A distinctive feature of Harich, which places it in a class by itself among similar structures of Armenia, is the absence of a graveyard on its territory. The first church of St. Gregory was of the cross-winged dome type and dated back to he 7th century. Later, in the 10th century, a one-storey annex was added to the south-eastern corner of the church, and in the 13th century was added a two-storey annex to its south-western corner.
The second main church, main, church of Astvatsatsin was built in 1201. It belongs to the type, widespread at the end of the 12th – the beginning of the 13th century, of outwardly rectangular and inwardly cross-winged domed buildings with two-storey annexes in all the four corners. The interior is marked by its severe architecture. Its only decoration is a carved ornament on the front wall of the altar dais, consisting or the traditional early 13th century motives of interwoven stalks and stylized leaves with curls.
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