Seven Churches - Varagavank Monastery

Located on the slopes of Mount Erek, about 9 km southeast of Van city center, is the Seven Churches Monastery, also known as Varagavank Monastery in Armenian.

Constructed in the early 11th century by Senekerim-Hovhannes Artsruni, the Armenian King of Vaspurakan, on an existing religious site, the monastery served as the necropolis of the Artsruni kings before becoming an archbishop of the church. It is believed to have been one of ancient Armenia's most extensive monasteries.

Seven Churches - Varagavank Monastery

The monastery is comprised of seven churches, namely the Church of St. Sofia, Church of St. John, Church of the Holy Mother of God, Church of Zhamatun of St. George, Chapel of the Holy Seal, Church of the Holy Cross, and Church of St. Sion. It also features a jamatun, library, and bell tower.

Of the remaining structures, the oldest is the Church of Saint Sophia, constructed in the 8th century, with only a part remaining. The Church of Saint John, located adjacent to the north wall, is now in ruins.

The Church of the Holy Virgin Mary, built between 1003-1021, is the monastery's main church. It is rectangular in configuration and has an east-west orientation from the outside. It has four interior spaces formed by rooms located in corner locations. The inside features semi-circular niches with planar walls and a collapsed dome.