Church of Marmashen

Marmashen, Shirak region, Armenia


The tenth-century monastic complex of Marmashen in Armenia consists of five structures located along one of the primary medieval trade routes between Ani and Tbilsi. One of the features of the site is a structure known as the Domed Hall Church, built of red volcanic tuff and a remarkable example of Armenian ecclesiastical architecture.

How We Helped

In collaboration with the Committee for the Preservation of Monuments of Armenia, WMF undertook condition surveys at the monastic complex, which led to conservation work to improve the stability and presentation of this important historic site. Conservation work involved structural repairs, cleaning and conservation of the stone, channeling of a river to reduce the risk of water infiltration, construction of a parking lot, and the building of a museum to improve the visitor experience.

Why It Matters

Armenia’s rich architectural heritage reflects its once important economic, social, artistic, and religious roles in medieval life at the crossroads of important trade routes. These buildings demonstrate that the wealth of the region allowed the best artisans to be hired to complete sophisticated designs. Much of the area was abandoned as trade routes shifted over the centuries. The conservation of the buildings remaining from this era allows the contemporary visitor to understand the vast reach of the well-established communities that once were found along historic commercial routes.

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