Monastery of Geghard, Armenia


The height of medieval Armenian architecture and art: Stunning churches and tombs built into the cliffs of Kotayk province.

Expedition Overview
In January 2015, CyArk traveled to Armenia to facilitate a two-week training session in digital preservation for high school students at the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies. This workshop guided students through the process of site documentation at Geghard Monastery through the use of 3D laser scanning and close-range hand scanning with the Artec scanner. The students learned how to develop conservation materials, such as drawings, 3D perspective images, animations, and virtual tours.  This project was made possible through donations from the Armenian-American community.
History of the Monastery
The Geghard Monastery complex was first founded in the 4th Century by Gregory the Illuminator, the religious leader who is credited with converting Armenia from paganism in 301 CE. The remote site rests at the entrance of the Azat Valley in central Armenia. Surrounded by towering cliffs, the complex contains a number of churches and tombs that are partially carved directly into the rock. The principal church was built in 1215 and features numerous khackars or stone crosses. The monastery became famous because of the relics it housed. Its full name, Geghardavank, meaning the Monastery of the Spear, originates from the spear that wounded Jesus during his Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, also known as Thaddeus in Armenian.
Khackars or Armenian stone crosses are one of the important cultural traditions in Armenia and they mostly date from the 13th century during the middle ages. It was customary for khackhars to be donated to the church in memory of a living or deceased relative for the salvation of their soul. Reaching up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) in height, Khachkars are carved by hand from local stone with a decorative cross in the center resting on a symbol of a sun or wheel of eternity. Khachkars often also display carvings of saints, animals, and plants.  In Armenia today, there are more than 50,000 Khachkars documented, with no two alike.

Summary of Data Captured

This project resulted in the following data which is now freely available for non-commercial use.

Areas with LiDAR documentation are indicated in grey.

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Credits: Story

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This project was made possible through the following partners:

TUMO Center for Creative Technologies

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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