CATHEDRAL OF ANI, Katoghike Holy Mother of God Church of Ani, was built by the Armenian king Smbat II Master of the Universe, in 989, the construction was finished by the Armenian king Gagik I Bagratuni's wife- queen Katranide. It was built by Trdat the Architect. The Cathedral of Ani symbolized the power of the revived Armenian statehood with its four-strut domed composition (dimensions- 24,7x34,3m),monumental form and rich ornaments. External fronts lined with '' Cathedral of AniArmenian niches'' were decorated with an elegant arcade. The major altar was decorated with the graphic wall mural ''Christ on the Throne'' (later was covered with plaster). Trdat played a great role in the development of the church architecture forms; the middle dome nave dominates on the whole inner space of the building due to considerable narrowing of side naves.

The wavy split of struts and wall-struts, the arrow-formed arches give the Cathedral of Ani an emphasized magnificence. Such solution to the inner style of the church, especially the split-like fragmentation of struts became the characteristic features of the gothic architecture formed and spread in Western Europe in the 12-14th centuries. Due to its unique structural perfection and beautiful decoration, the Cathedral of Ani is considered to be one of the architectural marvels of the world. Queen Katranide decorated the Cathedral of Ani with tapestries embroidered with purple flowers and gold, silver and golden vessels. A human-sized cross was put on the dome of the cathedral and the king Smbat II has ordered to bring a crystal giant chandelier from India. In 1010s Catholicos Sargis I Sevantsi built a monastery of Hripsimian Virgins next to the Cathedral of Ani.

In 1040-1050s the deeds of Aron Magister and Bagrat Magister were recorded on the Eastern and Western fronts of the Cathedral of Ani ( reconstruction of walls/fences,Cathedral of Ani, painter Arshak Fetvadjian. National Gallery of Armenia construction of water pipes of the city, reduction of taxes for the people of Ani). In 1064 Seljuks conquered Ani  and turned the Cathedral into a mosque. In 1124 the amira of Ani inserted a large crescent on the dome of the Cathedral. The people of Ani invited David the Builder of Georgia and opened the gates of the city for his army. The Cathedral was re-anointed and started to play an important role in the Armenian spiritual life again. In the 12th century Hovhannes Sarkavag, historian Samuel Anetsi, historian and translator Mkhitar Anetsi served at the Cathedral. In 1126 the Georgians had to return Ani to Shaddadians who swore to never commit violations against it. In 1198, after liberating Ani by Zakarian ishkhans (Armenian: իշխան - title in medieval Armenia), in the 13th century the Cathedral of Ani received many donations (kiosk, silver set, Gospel etc.). In 1213 Tigran Honents repaired the destroyed stairs of the Cathedral. In 1319 the dome of the Cathedral of Ani  and in 1988 the North-Western angle were demolished as a result of  earthquake. 

                                                              Hasratyan M.


Source —''Christian Armenia '' Encyclopedia, chief editor Hovh., Ayvazyan, Armenian Encyclopedia Publishing House, Yerevan, 2002.


RA, Yerevan, Alex Manoogian 1, YSU 2nd annex
the 5th floor,
Tel.: + 37460 71 00 92

© Institute for Armenian Studies of YSU
All rights are reserved. In case of full or partial use of the web-site materials or the citation the reference to is compulsory.