Armenians in Architecture: Trdat

Trdat the Architect was the chief architect of the Bagratuni kings of Armenia, whose 10th century monuments have been argued to be the forerunners of Gothic architecture which came to Europe several centuries later.

In 961, Ashot III moved his capital from Kars to the great city of Ani where he assembled new palaces and rebuilt the walls. The Catholicosate was moved to the Argina district in the suburbs of Ani where Trdat completed the building of the Catholicosal palace and the Mother Cathedral of Ani. This cathedral offers an example of a cruciform domed church within a rectangular plan.

After a great earthquake in 989 ruined the dome of Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine officials summoned Trdat to Byzantium to organize repairs. The restored dome was completed by 994. Trdat is also thought to have designed or supervised the construction of Surb Nshan (Holy Sign, completed in 991), the oldest structure at Haghpat Monastery.

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