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The monastic complex of Vorotnavank.
Vorotnavank is located in Armenia
Shown within Armenia
Basic information
Location On a promontory overlooking the Vorotan gorge, between the villages of Vaghatin and Vorotan, Syunik Province,  Armenia
Geographic coordinates
Affiliation Armenian Apostolic Church
Architectural description
Architectural style Armenian
Completed In use from the 10th-15th centuries
S. Stepanos c. 1000
S. Karapet c. 1007
Dome(s) 1 (rebuilt after its collapse in the 1931 earthquake)

Vorotnavank (Vaghatin and Vorotan in the Syunik Province of Armenia. The complex is surrounded by a high stone wall for defense against foreign invasions and once housed workshops, stores, a seminary, resort, cemetery and an alms-house. A pillar stood in the yard of the monastery symbolizing that there were monks entering into religious service and kings inaugurated at this location. Hovhan Vorotnetsi (1315-1398), an Armenian medieval philosopher and theologian as well as the founder of Tatev Vardapetaran University lived and worked at the monastery.


  • Architecture 1
    • Surp Stepanos Church 1.1
    • Surp Karapet Church 1.2
  • Destruction 2
  • Gallery 3
  • References 4
    • Bibliography 4.1
  • External links 5


Surp Stepanos Church

The main church of Surp Stepanos was built in 1000 by Queen Shahandukht, ruler of the lands of Syunik and grandmother to Katranide (consort to King Ashot I Bagratuni). Prior to the construction of the church stood a shrine to Saint Grigor Lusavorich. Four sacristies were placed at the southeastern end of S. Stepanos.

Surp Karapet Church

The adjoining church of Surp Karapet was constructed in 1006-1007 by Queen Shahandukht's son Sevada. The structure has a triple-arched portico at the front façade. A circular drum and a recently reconstructed dome rest above the cruciform plan of the church.


Vorotnavank was destroyed multiple times by foreign invasions as well as an earthquake in 1931 during which S. Karapet's dome collapsed. In 1104 Seljuk-Turks attacked the monastery and the nearby fortress of Vorotnaberd (3 km southeast). Ivane Zakaryan liberated them and gave control of Vorotnavank and Vorotnaberd to Liparit Orbelian of the Orbelyan family. The monastery was repaired and made funcionable during this time. Other foreign invasions included the Mongol-Tatars (1236?) and later Timur Lenk in 1386. An underground passageway was connected to the fortress of Vorotnaberd, and was used during sieges by invading armies. Reconstruction efforts have been underway since 1980 and are nearly complete.




  • Brady Kiesling, Rediscovering Armenia, p. 93, 94; original archived at, and current version online on
  • Kiesling, Brady (2005), Rediscovering Armenia: Guide,  

External links

  • Vorotnavank
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