From The Book Of Armenia: Khar Virap Monastery

Armenia's (Asia) culture severely rooted in its religion, and it's something that forms major chunk of the people's lives. So you can excuse them for wanting to show off the cornerstones to that rich heritage, not least the beautiful stone monasteries, which form a chunk of the sightseeing here. Just like the Armenian Apostolic Church, they arouse a sense of awe even in the staunchest of non-believers. Go monastery-hopping on a aisle that will take you to some of the country's finest.

First on the ballot is the Khor Virap Monastery (44km south of Yerevan). It's the nearest point in Armenia to the Turkish border and Mt Ararat, and you can take a good long look at the mighty Masis from here. The monastery of Khar Virap started out as a dungeon. When pagan King Trdat 111 controlled over  Armenia, his Christian assistant Gregory (Grigor) Lusavorich attempted to spread his teachings to the humans. Riled by his audacity, the king had Gregory thrown into a dungeon filled with scorpions. He was port down there for 13 years, and was all but forgetten, until one day the king went bonkers.

Gregory was notified to try and save the king. To the wonder of all, Gregory cured Trdat of his madness, making a devotee out of him. From then on, he was allowed to preach Christianity willingly, and was named St Gregory the illuminator. In 301 AD, Tradt made Christianity the state religion.

Pagan Temples were broken and Churches built over them, and the Armenian Apostolic Church was born.

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