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Shoghakat church

Shoghakat church was built in 1694 by Prince Aghamal Shorotetsi on the site of a chapel dedicated to one of Hripsime's and Gayane's anonymous companions. Coming here after visiting Ejmiatsin's other churches gives a clear picture of both continuity and change in Armenian church architecture. In particular the continued presence of a cupola atop a tambour, octagonal in this case, follows a tradition going back to the 5th century, but a prominent six-column belfry over the porch is evidence of 17th-century ideas. Similarly, the detailed ornamental carving in geometrical patterns could have been created at almost any time in the last 1,500 years. Few tourists ever go to Shoghakat, and certainly it does not compare to the main cathedral or St Hripsime, but it does provide interesting insights and locals claim that it marks the fourth place where St Gregory the Illuminator saw a vision of a column of fire.

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