Further west and just south off the main road is the much more important but much less appealingly situated monastery of Aruchavank situated in the village of Aruch. The large Cathedral Church of St Gregory was built of red and grey tuff in 666 when Aruch was the seat of Grigor Mamikonian, a prince who enjoyed local autonomy during the period of Arab rule. The cupola of the church has collapsed, remaining unrestored when some work was carried out between 1946 and 1948. Further work has been carried out recently and the church, having been locked for many years, is now open. The windows have been glazed but the cupola is still missing. The church is unusual for one so large in having only a single nave. There are the remains of the frescoes in the apse and in the southeast corner room. A cemetery with recumbent 19th-century gravestones surrounds the church and in the south of the precinct are the remains of Grigor Mamikonians palace and another basilica church. Away from the centre of the village Aruch also has a ruined caravanserai, possibly Armenia's most frequently noticed as it is just a few metres from the main Yerevan to Gyumri road on the south side. When built it was on the main route linking the then important Armenian cities of Tabriz (in present-day Iran), Dvin and Kars. The caravanserai is commended as a stop for birdwatchers as it is an excellent location for the larks, wheatears and other birds of this arid plain.
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