Armavir is a province (marz) in the western part of Armenia. Located in the Ararat plain dominated by Mount Ararat from the south and Mount Aragats from the north, the province's capital is the town of Armavir while the largest city is Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin). The province shares a 72 km (45 mi)-long border with Turkey to the south and west.
The province is home to the spiritual centre of the Armenian nation; the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is the seat of the Catholicos of All Armenians.
The province is named after the ancient city of Armavir founded in 331 BC. The province is also the site of the decisive Battle of Sardarapat in 1918 that resulted in the foundation of the Republic of Armenia. The battle is seen as a crucial historical event not only by stopping the Turkish advance into the rest of Armenia but also preventing the complete destruction of the Armenian nation.
The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant is also located in Amravir Province near the town of Metsamor.
The Yerevan Zvartnots International Airport is located near the village of Parakar in Armavir Province (12 km (7 mi) west of Yerevan).
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin is the governing body of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is headquartered around Etchmiadzin Cathedral in Vagharshapat(Etchmiadzin), Armenia and is the seat of the Catholicos of All Armenians, the head of the church.
Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, located in the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia. According to scholars it was the first cathedral built in ancient Armenia, and is considered the oldest cathedral in the world.
The original church was built in the early fourth century—between 301 and 303 according to tradition—by Armenia's patron saint Gregory the Illuminator, following the adoption of Christianity as a state religion by King Tiridates III. It replaced a preexisting temple, symbolizing the conversion from paganism to Christianity. The core of the current building was built in 483/4 by Vahan Mamikonian after the cathedral was severely damaged in a Persian invasion. From its foundation until the second half of the fifth century, Etchmiadzin was the seat of the Catholicos, the supreme head of the Armenian Church.
Although never losing its significance, the cathedral subsequently suffered centuries of virtual neglect. In 1441 it was restored as catholicosate and remains as such to this day. Since then the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has been the administrative headquarters of the ArmenianChurch. Etchmiadzin was plundered by the Safavids in 1604, when relics and stones were taken out of the cathedral to New Julfa in an effort to undermine Armenians' attachment to their land. Since then the cathedral has undergone a number of renovations. Belfries were added in the latter half of the seventeenth century and in 1868 a sacristy was constructed at the cathedral's east end. Today, it incorporates styles of different periods of Armenian architecture. Diminished during the early Soviet period, Etchmiadzin revived again in the second half of the twentieth century, and under independent Armenia.
As the main shrine of religious Christian Armenians worldwide, Etchmiadzin has been an important location in Armenia not only religiously, but also politically and culturally. A major pilgrimage site, it is one of the most visited places in the country. Along with several important early medieval churches located nearby, the cathedral was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.
Saint Hripsime Church, sometimes Hripsimeh) is a seventh century Armenian Apostolic church in the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia. It is one of the oldest surviving churches in the country.
The church was erected by Catholicos Komitas to replace the original mausoleum built by Catholicos Sahak the Great in 395 AD that contained the remains of the martyred Saint Hripsime to whom the church is dedicated. The current structure was completed in 618 AD. It is known for its fine Armenian-style architecture of the classical period, which has influenced many other Armenian churches since. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other nearby churches, including Etchmiadzin Cathedral, Armenia's mother church, in 2000.
The Church of Saint Gayane is a 7th-century Armenian church in Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), the religious center of Armenia. It is located within walking distance from the Etchmiadzin Cathedral of 301. St. Gayane was built by Catholicos Ezra I in the year 630. Its design has remained unchanged despite partial renovations of the dome and some ceilings in 1652.
Gayane was the name of an abbess who was martyred with other nuns by Tiridates III of Armenia in the year 301, and subsequently made a saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
In 2000, Saint Gayane Church was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with historical churches of Vagharshapat.
Zvartnots Cathedral (literally 'celestial angels cathedral') is a 7th-century centrally planned aisled tetraconch type Armenian cathedral built by the order of Catholicos Nerses the Builder from 643-652. Now in ruins, it is located at the edge of the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin) in Armavir Province of Armenia.
Sardarapat Memorial is a memorial complex to the Battle of Sardarapat located in the village of Araks, in the Armavir Province of Armenia, 11 kilometers southwest of Armavir town. In 1968 during the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Sardarapat that took place on May 22–26, 1918 a memorial park was laid out on the spot of the battlefield.