Being the first nation to accept Christianity, Armenians have built churches and monasteries throughout the country in every possible and impossible place wherever a human foot could step. During the course of the time these places have been abandoned but the churches, monasteries and fortresses built by them are still standing alone but proudly in those deserted areas. But the fact of being isolated does not hinder all the beauty of the delicately constructed buildings. Just on the contrary. The skyscraping rocks add to the beauty and pride of those old age monastic complexes and fortresses.
The ancient monastery of Gndevank is not an exception. Its ancient spirit is harmonious with the “beautifully carved, handmade mountains around”.
Gndevank means Round Cathedral. It is a perfect place to visit. The complex was built a thousand years ago, but it is still in a good condition and has a much more pleasant appearance than many of the recently constructed ones. Gndevank is a perfect place to visit as the view from just above including the whole of the canyon and the entire complex is a picturesque and breathtaking one.
The complex is surrounded by fort like walls. Inside those walls you can see a very nice church, surrounded by great carved stones, then an enormous courtyard under the shade of a big walnut tree, as well as the walls with many chambers to explore. The territory of the monastery is rich in khachkars or cross stones and gravestones dating back to the 10-13th centuries. On the dome from the inside you can see four evangelists depicted. The dining hall in the southern part of the building with its subsidiary constructions and sewerage system is a noteworthy one.
The princess Sofia officially opened the complex and left an inscription on the western wall of the church which says: “Vayots Dzor was a ring with no gem. I built it and put it on it as a precious gem.”
These words of the princess best describe both the monastery and the region itself.