Haghartsin monastery complex is situated in Tavush region. It is only 18km far from the town Dilijan. The monastery is located in the picturesque gorge of upper reaches of the river Haghartsin. The complex consists of churches, vestibules, burial vaults of two kings of Kyurikians dynasty and a refectory.
The St. Gregory church is an ancient construction of the monastery complex. It was built in the 10th century by the monks who escaped from persecutions in the Western Armenia ruled by Byzantine Empire. The church is rectangular from outside and cruciform from inside. There are four side chapels in each corner. The church is crowned with a dome resting upon octahedral drum.
Haghartsin reached its development zenith under the Father Superior Khachatur Taronatsi who was also a renowned scientist and musician. At the end of the 12th and at the beginning of 13th centuries Haghartsnavank became one of the spiritual and cultural centers of north-east Armenia.
The small domed St. Stepanos church built from sky blue basalt dates back to 1244. It's a diminutive copy of the main church. There are no abutments dividing the inner space of the church that's why its interior is cozy and integral.
The church of Holy mother of God dominates the whole ensemble. It was built in the 11th century. The church is a cross-domed construction. The facades with magnificent decoration are divided by “the Armenian niches”. A graceful arcature of sixteen-faceted dome makes it taller and more majestic. The sculptural group of the eastern façade of the church shows two men in monks' attire pointing to a model of church placed between them.
The refectory of Haghartsin monastery was built by the talented architect Minas with the participation of architects Movses and Grigores in 1248. It's one of the best architectural compositions of the Medieval Armenia. The building is divided into two square-plan parts by pillars and roofed with a system of original intersecting arches.
There are chapels (mostly ruined) and cross-stones (khachkars) around the monastery. Not far from the refectory there are ruins of monastic kitchen. During the excavations there was found a bronze pot (350kg) made in 1232 which is kept now in the Museum of Armenian History.
The burial vault of two kings – Smbat and Gagik Kyurikians – preserved near the south wall of St. Gregory church.