Armenia is a small country in south-west Asia with a population of only 3 million people. Also, it has a sizable place in spiritual history. Besides, most historians believe that in 301 AD. Moreover, it became the first country in the world to adopt Christianity. Furthermore, this Asian country made Christianity its official religion in 301 AD, and this history can still see today.
In addition, today, around 95% of Armenians are Christian. Also, the country’s pious history can be traced back through some of its ancient sites and monuments. (Credit: Rodolfo Contreras)So, Lets’ be familiar will all witnesses which proved that Armenia is the first Christian Country in all around the world.
Historical places of Armenia
The spiritual leader
According to legend, the first head of the Armenian Apostolic Church was Gregory the Illuminator in Armenia. So, the son of the nobleman named Anag who assassinated Armenia’s King Khosrov II. Gregory’s father executed for his crime. Also, Gregory managed to flee to Cappadocia, where he raised by Bishop St. Firmilian.
Moreover, as an adult, Gregory returned to his homeland in hopes of converting the Armenian king ‒ and, by extension, the Armenian people ‒ to Christianity. Besides, when he learned of Gregory’s homecoming, King Tiridates III, son of the murdered King Khosrov II, had Gregory imprisoned.
In addition, the king insisted that his prisoner renounce Christianity and also Gregory refused to. Besides, after around thirteen years of imprisonment, Gregory had managed to convince Tiridates of the power of faith, converting the king himself into the religion. So, in 301 AD, Tiridates III declared Christianity the state religion of Armenia. (Credit: Rodolfo Contreras)
Traces of the past.
The fortress of Garni perched on the edge of a cliff near the Garni village in central Armenia’s Kotayk Province. Also, it built in the 1st Century AD by King Tiridates I. Besides, the temple within the fortress predates the spread of Christianity in Armenia and said to have built for a sun god in Armenian mythology.
In addition, many Pagan temples destroyed when King Tiridates III declared Christianity the official state religion. Also, Garni is one of the few that survived. Besides, today it stands as a symbol of Armenian Neopaganism, and receives more than 136,000 visitors annually, making it one of Armenia’s most popular tourist sites.
Church of a Saint in Armenia
West of the Armenian capital city of Yerevan is Vagharshapat. Also, a city known as the country’s ‘holy capital’. Besides, it located here is St. Gayane Church (pictured). Moreover, constructed in 630 and now a Unesco World Heritage Site,
In addition, St. Gayane built on the site of the execution of Abbess Gayane, who killed by King Tiridates III for being Christian prior to his own conversion. Besides, Gayane named a saint by the Armenian Church; her grave lies under St. Gayane. (Credit: Rodolfo Contreras)
A former dungeonKhor Virap is a monastery located in the Ararat Plain in south-east Armenia, where Tiridates III imprisoned Gregory the Illuminator upon his return.
In addition, the chapel of Khor Virap first built in 642 over the dungeon to honour Gregory. Also, a larger chapel and monastery added in 1662. Besides, today, Khor Virap is one of the most visited sites in Armenia. Furthermore, its chapel is a popular spot for marriages and baptisms. (Credit: Rodolfo Contreras)
Cave Prayers Northeast in Armenia
Cave prayers Northeast of Garni is the Monastery of Geghard. Also, a Unesco World Heritage Site, the monastery first founded in the 4th Century by Gregory the Illuminator following the Christianization of Armenia. Besides, other structures in the complex date up to the 13th Century. Previously named Airivank, or ‘cave monastery’, some of Geghard’s chambers extend into the adjacent mountain, giving them a cavernous look.
Moreover, according to the legend, the monastery named Geghard (which means ‘spear’ in Armenian) around this time. Also, when the spear that allegedly pierced Jesus Christ on the cross was brought to the site. Besides, It said to have kept in Geghard for 500 years before being taken to Etchmiadzin Cathedral in Vagharshapat, where it remains on display today. (Credit: Rodolfo Contreras)
War Zorats Church
Blessed in warZorats Church in Yeghegis, a town in southern Armenia’s Vayots Dzor Province. Also, it built in the 14th Century, when the country was under Mongol control and at war with the Syrian Mamluks. Besides, the church consists only of an elevated altar and two side vestries. Furthermore, due to the altar’s height, historians believe the church used to bless Armenian soldiers mounted on their horses before they left for combat. (Credit: Rodolfo Contreras)
Cemetery of salvation Khachkars in Armenia
Cemetery of salvation Khachkars, or stones carved in Armenia with crosses and floral motifs, primarily seen as a symbol of salvation of the soul, either living or deceased. Also, it first created around the 9th Century, khachkars often erected in converted Pagan temples as symbols of a new faith. Besides, today, these stones are part of the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
In addition, Noratus Cemetery (pictured) in Gegharkunik Province has the largest existing cluster of khachkars in the country. Also, more than 800 stones, each with a unique design. Besides, the khachkars in Noratus are some of the earliest existing examples of the art, with some of them dating back to the 10th Century. (Credit: Rodolfo Contreras)
Karahunj in Armenia
An ancient graveyard Comparable in age and appearance to England’s Stonehenge, Karahunj located in Armenia’s Syunik Province, south of Yerevan. Also, it covers an area of approximately 7 hectares and consists of tombs, a central ring and rows of megaliths that could date back 7,000 years.
In addition, historians believe Karahunj served as a prehistoric burial ground. Also, it was common for the dead to bury in cists and covered with slabs of stone during the Bronze Age. Besides, the ring of megaliths has a diameter of up to 45m, with rocks as tall as 2.8m weighing up to 10 tonnes. Moreover, around a third of the 223 stones on the site have small, circular holes cutting through the rock, which some scientists believe could have created for astronomical observation, which would likely make Karahunj the world’s oldest observatory. (Credit: Rodolfo Contreras)
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Armenia is in Europe. The text has been update to state that it’s in Asia.