Long lost Armenian monastery found inside a rock!


The discovery

The renown ancient Armenian monastery complex ‘Tzarakar’ has been discovered near the village of Chukurayva, 5 kms south-east of the fortified town of Kechror, modern-day Turkey (the old Gabeghiank district, Ayrarat province of Greater Armenia). What remains of it are the interior cut-in-rock structures, the exterior buildings are irretrievably lost.

The monastery consists of a church which has several entrances connected with each other, at least six chapels and other adjoining buildings. It is remarkable for its very interesting structure and extended lapidary inscriptions. Despite it, however, until recently neither specialists nor topographers ever paid any attention to it.

It was only in the late 19th and 20th century that the monument was first visited by specialists. Scottish researcher Stephen Sim, took photographs of it and made its first schematic plan. Later it was visited by seismologist Shiro Sasano, who published a small-scale research work on it together with…

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