Khachkars or Cross Stones are the unique manifestation of Christian Armenian national art which in its Christian form and type has no other equivalent in the world. Khachkars constitute an integral dimension of Armenian sculptural art; with their high artistic standards and strong national character, they also occupy their worthy position in the treasury of international art. Khachkars are also an expression of the Christian faith and high esthetics taste of the Armenian nation, nation that was first to officially adopt the Christian faith in the year 301 AD. While spreading Christianity in Armenia, St. Gregory the Illuminator used to put wooden crosses in the places of pagan shrines as well as where Christian Churches were to be built. As the wooden crosses could be destroyed easily, the stone crosses replaced them later. Initially khachkars were carved on vertical stone stabs. Later cross stones attained such a perfection that they ceased to be mere religious symbols becoming unique pieces of art. Khachkars cannot be counted in total but we know more than 100,000 were carved, each one a unique work of art. Their history and roots are deeper than the 4th and 5th century AD forms which first started dotting the Christian landscape, combining both pagan and Christian symbols into a stunning form that endures to this day. Recently in the deep respect and commemoration of the Khachkar by the International community, a Khachkar was placed in the front entrance of the Main Hall of the United Nations in New York.
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