Etchmiadzin, Zvartnots temple, Musaler

Etchmiadzin Cathedral

Etchmiadzin Cathedral has always been in the core of the Armenian and foreign architects’ and scientists’ research. This historical, spiritual and architectural place is not only a church, but also a unique museum for researchers. Etchmiadzin Cathedral, likewise other Christian churches, was established in the location of a pagan temple. According to History of the Armenians by Agathangelos, Armenias patron saint Gregory the Illuminator had a vision of Jesus Christ descending from heaven and striking the earth with a golden hammer to show where the cathedral should be built. Hence, the patriarch gave the church the name of Etchmiadzin which translates to "the Descent of the Only-Begotten (Son of God)."

The Treasury Museum

The museum is home to rare items such as church accessories with historical and artistic value, gold and pearl dresses, crosses and cathedral rocks, numerous ritual items made of gold, silver and ivory decorated with delicate and precious stones. Here you can see rare, ancient coins and ancient manuscripts. The catholic chairs of the 17th-century are particularly remarkable, decorated with peppermint and ivory, with lions head and scarf. The museum also features unique sacred relics as well as St. Geghard, the spear by which the centurion Longinus pierced Jesus Christ or the Ark of Noah.

St. Hripsime

Saint Hripsime Church is one of the oldest churches in Armenia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is located in Echmiadzin. According to legend, the girl named Hripsime, escaped to Armenia from Roman emperor Diocletian for her Christian beliefs. Here, Armenian king Trdat lll fell in love with her beauty and wanted to marry her. As the king was rejected commanded to kill her. After the adoption of Christianity in the place where she was killed a church was built. St. Hripsime church in Etchmiadzin is considered a masterpiece of early Christian Armenian architecture.

St. Gayane

The Church of St. Gayane was built in the 7th century. It is domed-basilica in style. Gayane came to Armenia with 38 nuns including Hripsime .The legend says the church was built over the tomb of Virgin Gayane who was killed for preaching Christianity.


Musaler is an Armenian village known for its eagle-like building called Memorial and museum of Musaler. This place is a symbol of Armenian will to survive as in 1915 when Turkish plan of ethnic cleaning of Armenians was started, Armenians have been announced to leave their homeland, but population of Musaler ignored the deportation edict and chose to resist against Turkish troops. They decided to climb the mountain and organize a self-defense. The 4300 inhabitants of Musaler repelled onslaughts by Turkish armies for 53 day. They were starving without food or water, they were out in the rain for days and in order to warm themselves and not to lose courage they were dancing to the music of zurna and drum. And Musaler resisted. The death was weak against the immortal heroes of Musaler.

Zvartnots temple

Zvartnots Cathedral is a 7th-century centrally planned aisled tetraconch type Armenian cathedral built by the order of Catholicos Nerses the Builder from 643-652. Now in ruins, it is located at the edge of the city of Vagharshapat in Armavir Province of Armenia. It is said that the cathedral was built on the post where Grigir Lusavorich met Trdat, initiating the king’s conversion and leading to Armenia adopting Christianity as the state religion. The cathedral’s unique construction was an engineering marvel. Many legends are connected to the monument. One legend relates how the Byzantine Roman Emperor Cosas II, attending the temple, impressed by its design, hired the master architect to built a similar church in Constantinople.

DestinationMusaler Memorial Complex - Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin Mother Cathedral, The Treasury Museum, St. Gayane, Hripsime churches), Zvartnots temple
Duration8-9 hrs

* The unused portions of the itinerary are not refundable.

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