Yereruyk basilica, Shirak region, Armenia

Yereruyk Basilica

Located about 50 km southwest of Stone Art Guest House, the ruins of the 5th-century basilica of Yereruyk in the ancient village of Yereruyk (now called Anipemza) overlook the Akhuryan River and the Armenia-Turkey border. It was built, most probably, through the efforts of the princes Kamsarakan who owned this land at the time.

A remarkable three-nave basilica – one of the oldest Christian churches of Armenia, Yereruyk today lays in ruins and is untouched by any significant alterations. Erected on an imposing basis, it featured a well-illuminated hall, divided into three naves by two rows of columns.

The main nave is three times wider than the lateral naves and, judging from the surviving parts of the western wall, until its collapse towered over their roofs. In ancient times the basilica was surrounded by a fortress wall, and, as the remains of several buildings indicate, it dominated the whole architectural complex, sprawling on the banks of a large artificial lake.

To the north of the village Anipemza is the village of Kharkov, from which the ruins of the ancient capital city Ani (now in Turkey) are perfectly visible. The Cathedral of Ani was once the most significant cult construction on the Armenian Highlands. Now the once majestic domed basilica stands in ruins.

On a clear day, both Mount Aragats, the highest peak in present-day Armenia, and Mount Ararat, the highest peak of the Armenia Highlands, can be seen from where the Yereruyk basilica is located.

Featured image by: Z. Galstyan / wikimedia

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