TURKEY – Armenian architecture and its European impact

TURKEY – Armenian architecture and its European impact

Dr. Mark Jarzombek, Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), emphasizes the role of Armenian (church) architecture in shaping the medieval stone building tradition from Europe to India in A Global History of Architecture, which he co-authored.

The Church of the Vigilant Powers (Zwartnots, AD 641-666) or the Cathedral at Mren from that period are typical. But my point was that advanced stone masonry by 600 AD was a dying art in the rest of the world. It was not practiced in Europe before 800 AD, not practiced in Byzantium (which emphasized brick), nor in Persia (mud brick), nor even in India (wood). In other words, during the time period between 400 and 800 AD Armenia/Syria was the only place in the world where advanced stone masonry was still practiced. That is the key to understanding the role of Armenia in the history of architecture.

Read the whole article here.

The World Monuments Fund reports that Mren cathedral (Digor, Kars, Turkey) is in desperate need of documentation and conservation, as its condition has deteriorated dramatically in recent years. The south facade has recently collapsed. Read their report here.

Photo via Fresno State University

The cathedral of Mren, 7th century. Photo via Fresno State University

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