Monday, November 10, 2008


Armenia is a country of stones. When someone asks Armenia which is the richness in their country, in most cases they will definitely mention the stones. There are many types of stones on this land.

Therefore it is not surprising, that Armenians used their wealth in expressing their belief in God and being the first Christians. This expression is found on Cross Stones (in Armenian Khachkar). Khachkars are carved stones, on which one can usually find a cross. There are thousands of Khachkars in Armenia and no 2 of them are identical.

In the center of Khachkar is usually depicted a cross and is decorated with different Christian symbols or scenes from the bible or pictures of saints.

First Khachkars date back to the 9th century. The oldest known Khachkar was created in 879, found in Garni. It was dedicated to the wife of Armenian King Ashot I Bagratuni - Katranide. The carving of Khachkars reached its peak in 12-14 centuries. The carving of Khachkars was in decline after Mongols invaded Armenia in 14th century. But in the end of the 16th century it revived.

However, the tradition of carving Khachkars has not disappeared fully. Even now in Armenia there are people who are still carving Khachkars. Of course these newly carved Khachkars are not as precious as the old ones but they will gain their values with time.

There are about 40.000 Khachkars today. The most famous ones are the Khachkar in Geghard, created in 1213, and the Khachkar in Goshavank, created in 1291. Most of the Khachkars are situated near churches and other holy places, including the graveyards. Some of them are presented in museums of Yerevan and in the holy cathedral of Echmiadzin.

So if you come to Armenia, you are going to find thousand of Khachkars that you probably will not find in any other country… And if you have already found them in other countries, you have definitely felt the spirit of Armenian culture and history!


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