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St Gayane Church

St Gayane was the abbess of the fleeing nuns persecuted by Trdat III. Her church is slightly later, rather more pleasantly situated, and of quite different style. The present church was built by order of Katholikos Ezr in 630 on the site of Gayane's martyrium. By the early 17th century it was forlorn, the roof having collapsed to leave just the walls and piers standing. Major reconstruction was therefore carried out in 1651-53 and a chapel was constructed under the east apse for the saints relics. Unlike St Hripsimes church, St Gayane's is of the longitudinal basilica style and with an apse and corner rooms only at the east end. Free-standing pillars support the octagonal tambour. In 1683, a gallery was added at the west end: the three central arches are open while the smaller side ones built to house the remains of dignitaries of the church are blanked off and topped with six-column belfries. This gallery, prominent as one walks from the gate, gives the church a 17th-century appearance even though the main part of the building is older. On Sundays St Gayanes church is a popular place for sacrifices. The orhnakar is to the right of the main path leading to the front door while the mataghatun is in the southwest corner of the grounds.

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