Ahmed Ibrahim
3 min readDec 2, 2022


The History of Armenian Architecture 1

Armenian architecture has a special character, that is difficult to place within precise geographical boundaries, as most of the monuments were created in the historical Armenian regions known as the "Armenian Highlands."

Armenian churches

Armenian churches are known for many distinctive features that some believe to be the first national style of church construction, as a result of the influence of Armenians on the surrounding nature, as their pointed domes-usually polygonal from the outside, often octagonal, based on a cylindrical tower—resemble the conical shape of Mount Ararat.

The churches were constructed from stone because the stone is more readily available in Armenia than wood, and since stone buildings tend to be low and have thick walls, they are earthquake-resistant. While small buildings and most residential buildings are usually built of lighter materials, building materials located in the same place as stone are usually used in order to give the structure a uniform color.

In cases where different coloured stones are used, they are often deliberately contrasted in a striped or checkerboard pattern.

The system of building churches

The building system is divided according to Toros Toramanian (March 18, 1864-March 1, 1934), who is considered the father of Armenian architectural historiography, into six styles:

1-Vertical-emphasis rectangular "Church of St. Gayane"
2-Cruciform "Etchmiadzin Cathedral"
3-Circular "Zvartnots church"
4-The radial "Saint Hripsime"
5-Domed basilica "Tekor Basilica Church"
6-Basilica "Basilica Church of Ererouk"

The development of Armenian architecture

Pre-Christian period

Armenian architecture flourished during the third millennium BC, as it was considered the basis for the inclusion of many geometric shapes, as can be seen in the monuments located in the Gyul-Tepe and Nakhichevan regions.

Urartian architecture is known for its use of intricately cut rocks, used as the foundations of mud-brick buildings, usually built in a compact manner as in Erebuni. The urban architectural traditions, and other forms of art in the years preceding the appearance of Christ and his subsequent development, were influenced by Roman art.

Urartian architecture is famous for its use of intricately cut rocks, used as foundations for mud-brick buildings, usually built in a compact manner as in Erebuni.

The Garni Temple, built in the first century AD, in the Hellenistic style, is the only remaining temple in Armenia, as many other places were destroyed or converted to Christian places of worship under the reign of King Trdat III.

Post-Christian period:

After the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of Armenia in 301 AD, architecture experienced development with the preservation of Ancient Traditions.

St. Gregory the Illuminator gave the order to construct the first Armenian churches, many of which were erected atop pagan temples while emulating elements of pre-Christian Armenian design.

The Armenian churches describe the general landscape of the Christian East at a time when eyewitness testimonies were extremely rare, and also formed and preserved public memory, bringing together diverse linguistic, religious, political and ethnic groups.

Armenian architecture of the Middle Ages

Armenian classical architecture of the Middle Ages is divided into four separate periods:

1- Formative period
2- Bagratunyats Hayastan
3- Zakarid dynasty
4- The Safavid period

Soviet era "19th - century"

Armenian architecture developed when the Russians entered eastern Armenia, a number of architectural masterpieces were built in Alexandropol and Yerevan, as well as in Kars, which is now part of Turkey.

Armenian buildings of that time were mainly made of basalt, so those buildings were black.

Modern times

Baghdasar Arzumanyan is one of the most famous architects of the twentieth century, he designed numerous civil and church buildings, as well as legendary architects such as Alexander Tamanyan, the planner of the capital Yerevan, Raphael Israilian, the architects of the Armenian Balyan family in Turkey, and others.

Ruben Hasratyan and Sargis Gurzadyan are today's Armenian architecture masters.



Ahmed Ibrahim

Full-fledged Content Creator & Tech Journalist. Worked previously with top publishers like AkhbarTech, Abda Adv, and RobbReportArabia.