Etchmiadzin Cathedral


The Etchmiadzin Cathedral (also spelled "Echmiatsin,” “Echmiadzin,” and “Edjmiadsin”) is located in the city of Etchmiadzin (also referred to as Vagharshapat), Armavir Province in what is now present-day Armenia. It is geographically situated near the fertile valley of the Aras River, and it is not too far away from Mount Ararat, Armenia's capital, Yerevan, and Khor Virap Monastery. It is the spiritual center of the Armenian people, and the administrative center of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Called the “Mother Cathedral of Etchmiadzin” by Armenians, the cathedral is among the most ancient examples of Christian architecture anywhere in the world. Many scholars contend Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in Armenia, and it is widely believed that it is thus the oldest Christian cathedral in the world. The cathedral was designated as a part of a UNESCO World Heritage zone in 2000 CE — the zone also encompasses St. Gayane Church, St. Hripsime Church, and the archaeological ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral — due to its importance in Armenian religious and cultural history.

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