Arsen E. Harutyunyan
For studying the medieval history of Yerevan, in addition to the information transmitted in the writings of chroniclers, important original sources are also extant epigraphic inscriptions, which have been preserved for the most part on church walls, cross-stones (khachkars) and gravestones. Medieval Yerevan, which appears in the manuscript memorabilia mainly as a rural area, and since the 15th century as a city, was a populated territory rich in churches in which, among other things, manuscripts were copied.
The study of the epigraphic heritage of Yerevan was carried out by archaeologist, expert in epigraphy Karo Ghafadaryan, who presented 293 epigraphic inscriptions on the pages of his monograph published in 1975. Despite this circumstance, the history of Yerevan by epigraphic evidence has never been the subject of special research. Undoubtedly, commemorative inscriptions are silent witnesses of the medieval history of the city, the construction and reconstruction of its churches, donations, spiritual and cultural life. Based on commemorative inscriptions, it can be stated that the churches of the settlements that were once close to Yerevan, and that have now entered the city plan (Nork, Avan, Noragavit, Kanaker, etc.), as well as the churches of the central part of Yerevan, almost in all medieval periods were active and played an important role. Despite the great destruction caused by the earthquake of 1679, at the end of the 17th century, church construction and cultural life in the city and its environs survived the time of its revival.
It should be noted that medieval Yerevan as a place rich in gardens is repeatedly mentioned especially in the dedicatory inscriptions of the 13th century preserved in the monasteries of Kecharis, Harich, Haghartsin, the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator (Tigran Honentz) in Ani, Katoghike of Yerevan and on the walls of other monasteries and churches. The donors, hoping to receive the liturgy, donated a garden located in Yerevan or a part of the garden to a certain spiritual center, for which a memorial inscription was created. For example, in 1204, a certain Vardmbel acquired a quarter of the garden in Yerevan called Megitoni, and donated it to the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Kecharis Monastery. In response to this, two liturgies were served in his honor. According to another commemorative inscription created during the construction of a lintel for the church of Surb Nshan (Holy Sign) of the same monastery, Paron (lord) Vard donated his own garden in Yerevan, called Chmshka, to the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Kecharis, in response to which friar Petros appointed eight masses – four in honor of Vard and four in honor of Aniar.