Trdat the Architect (940 – date is unknown), Armenian architect, sculptor, the chief architect of the Bagratuni dynasty of Armenia. He mainly worked in Shirak. Trdat built catholic church of Catholicosate in Argina (973-977), the dome of the Hagia Sophia, (982-992), Mother Cathedral of Ani (989-1001), St. Grigor church in Gagkashen (1001-10).

It is believed that  Trdat built St. Nshan church of Haghpat Monastery, Amenaprkich (Holy Redeemer) church of Sanahin Monastery, the church of Marmashen monastery, Amenaprkich (Holy Redeemer) church in Ani, Catholicosal palace in Argina, Smbatashen wall in Ani, etc.  The first distinguished work of Trdat was the church in Argina ordered by catholicos Khachik I Arsharuni. Here the innovative approaches of Trdat, as well as the usage of early middle age traditions are noticed. In 980’s Trdat was already a famous architect beyond the borders of Armenia. 

Trdat reconstructed the dome of  Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, which had been destroyed by the earthquake. According to Stepanos Taronetsi, when the Byzantine architects were unable to reconstruct the dome, Trdat had made the model beforehand and then he reconstructed one of the wonders of medieval architecture which was “brighter than the first one”. The dome reconstructed by Trdat is  more than 1000 years old.

Mother Cathedral of Ani is the masterpiece of Trdat, where the setup of the early medieval domed basilicas (Odzun, Gayane, Mren) was represented in a new way, and the aesthetic comprehensions of the time were conditioned by it.

Trdat built St. Grigor (Gagkashen) church in Ani by the order of   Gagik I Bagratuni king, Zvartnots cathedral served as a model for the church. 

The sculpture of king Gagik holding the model of the church carved on the church wall is notable. Trdat’s talent was expressed in this sculpture. Trdat gave a great importance to the urban development, complex problems of harmonization in Ani.  Trdat had a great influence on the further development of Armenian architecture, on the formation of new stylistic movement and compositional principles.  He had his school of architecture, and his ideas were implemented by his apprentices. They  built several primary monumental structures in Middle ages.



Source: Encyclopedia of «Christian Armenia», editor in chief Hovhannes Ayvazyan, Yerevan, 2002, page 1023-1024. (in Armenian).                                                            

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.