Idea #495 – Observing the most beautiful khatchkars of Armenia in Noradouz
The cemetery of Noradouz, is the most famous Armenian cemetery for “khatchkars”. A khatchkars, also spelt khachkar or xac’ k’ ar (in Armenian : “Stone with cross”), are “steles of hooked or rectangular form […] sculptured by one or by several cross accompanied often by a decorative decoration, sometimes by human figures and by registrations”. Specificity of Armenian art, they were formerly present on all the territory of historic Armenia and are today still particularly protected in Armenia and in the Nagorno-Karabakh. Raised, embedded, rupestral or in chapel, these works, measuring generally from 1,5 to 2 m of height, 0,5 to 1,5 m of width and from 10 to 30 cms of thickness, have a function either votive, or commemorative, or apotropaïque. They embody the Christology of the Armenian apostolic Church, in what they do not represent the death of the Christ but its divine nature, in a tree of life.
The cemetery of Noradouz possesses a historic zone counting 728 khatchkars of the IXth, Xth and XVIth-XVIIth centuries, what makes it the biggest cemetery of khatchkars in Armenia. A local legend tells that “the villagers, getting ready to undergo the assaults of the troops of Tamerlan, would have provided the khatchkars of helmets and swords; by far, these would have been taken for soldiers, causing the flight of the enemy …”. Khatchkars is completed of gravestones in the shape of safebox, quite sculptured. Engravings represent the jobs and the environments of the dead ones, in naive but very picturesque forms.
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