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Khachkars

The carving of khachkars, literally meaning “cross-stones,” is an ancient Armenian art. It began with a simple cross depicted on a stone, usually a tombstone or memorial, and eventually evolved into very intricate knotwork patterns covering the entire marker.

These beautiful stelae, some over a thousand years old, can be found all over historic Armenia and are a symbol of Armenia’s cultural heritage. The largest collection is at the Noratus Cemetery, near the Alpine Lake Sevan, where they line the hill around two simple old chapels, most of them liberally sprinkled with lichens. (There was at one time a much larger khachkar cemetery located in Old Julfa, but that was sadly destroyed over the years by the Soviet, then Azerbaijani governments.)

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