The World Heritage List was established under terms of The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage adopted in November 1972 at the 17th General Conference of UNESCO.
The Convention states that a World Heritage Committee “will establish, keep up-to-date and publish” a World Heritage List of cultural and natural properties, submitted by the States Parties and considered to be of outstanding universal value.
The World Heritage Committee has inscribed the following properties of Armenia on the World Heritage List:
• 1996, 2000 Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin
• 2000 Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley
• 2000 Cathedral and Churches of Echmiatsin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots
The Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin represent a fusion of vernacular and Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture. Both monasteries are located in the Debed Canyon, in the Lori-region of North Armenia. Their oldest structures date back to the 10th century.
Haghpat also has a number of splendid khachkars (cross-stones) of the 11th-13th centuries standing on the territory of the monastery.
The Committee decided to inscribe the Monastery of Haghpat considering that it is of outstanding universal value and an exceptional example of ecclesiastical architecture that developed in Armenia in the 10th to 13th centuries which is unique by virtue of its blending of elements of both Byzantine church architecture and the traditional vernacular building style of this region.
In 1996, only Haghpat was inscribed. The site was extended to Haghpat and Sanahin in 2000 after the ownership of the latter monastery became clear.
Geghard Monastery- the monastery of Geghard is a unique architectural construction in the Kotayk province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs at the entrance to the Azat Valley.
The monastery of Geghard, with its remarkable rock-cut churches and tombs, is an exceptionally well preserved and complete example of medieval Armenian monastic architecture and decorative art, with many innovatory features which had a profound influence on subsequent developments in the region.
While the main chapel was built in 1215, the monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. The monastery had thus been originally named Ayrivank, meaning “the Monastery of the Cave”. The name commonly used for the monastery today, Geghard, or more fully Geghardavank meaning “the Monastery of the Spear”, originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Echmiadzin treasury.
The reason for inscription is that the monastery of Geghard, with its remarkable rock-cut churches and tombs, is an exceptionally well preserved and complete example of medieval Armenian monastic architecture and decorative art, with many innovatory features which had a profound influence on subsequent developments in the region.
Echmiatsin Monastery -Echmiatsin is the center of the Armenian Church. It is where the Catholicos of All Armenians lives, and is the location of the Echmiatsin Cathedral.
The cathedral, built in 480, is located in a walled compound with gardens and various structures.
The word “Echmiatsin” means The coming of the only-begotten, and the cathedral was built on the very spot Grigor Luysavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) dreamt Jesus Himself descended on from heaven to show him where He wanted the church to be built.
The Zvartnots dates from the 7th century, and was built to suppress the Echmiatsin Cathedral in grandeur. This complex consists of a temple and the palace of Catholicos Nerses III. Now in ruins, it is located at the edge of the city of Etchmiatsin in Armenia’s Armavir Province.
The reason for inscription is that the churches at Echmiatsin and the archaeological site of Zvartnots vividly depict both the spirituality and the innovatory artistic achievement of the Armenian Church from its foundation.
The Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage are established by UNESCO aiming to ensure the better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance. Through a compendium of the different oral and intangible treasures of humankind worldwide, the program aims to draw attention to the importance of safeguarding intangible heritage, which has been identified by UNESCO as an essential component and a repository of cultural diversity and creative expression.
Intangible cultural heritage includes practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and know-how that communities recognize as part of their cultural heritage. Passed down from generation to generation, it is constantly recreated by communities in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, providing them with a sense of identity and continuity.
World Heritage Tour
The cultural elements of Armenia inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity include:
Year proclaimed Year inscribed
1. The Duduk and its Music 2005 2008
5. Kochari, traditional group dance 2017