Noravank is a 13th century monastery, located in a
narrow gorge made by the Darichay river, nearby the city of Yeghegnadzor. The
gorge is known for its tall, sheer, brick-red cliffs, directly across from the
monastery. The monastery is best known for its two-storey S. Astvatsatsin
church, which grants access to the second floor by way of narrow stones jutting
out from the face of building. The monastery is sometimes called
Amaghu-Noravank, Amaghu being the name of a small recently destroyed village
above the canyon. In the 13th-14th centuries the monastery became a residence
of Syunik's bishops and, consequently a major religious and, later, cultural
center of Armenia closely connected with many of the local seats of learning.
Noravank was founded in 1205 by Bishop Hovhannes, the
former Abbot of Vahanavank. The monastic complex includes the church of S.
Karapet, S. Grigor chapel with a vaulted hall, and the church of S.
Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God).