For me the khachkar is one of the most powerful symbols of Armenia. A khachkar is a carved stone cross which can be set up at a site of devotion such as a church but also as a memorial in a cemetery or at a roadside. Some are over a thousand years old but still today master craftsmen are carving khachkars. The height of khachkar production was in the 13th and 14th century. Some are simple and some are ornate. No two are exactly alike. In short, they inspire because they focus attention on the cross, recalling the story at the heart of the Christian faith. Sometimes you sense that the cross is being discovered in the stone, a kind of pilgrimage for both the carver and the viewer. Here are a few examples of our favorite khachkars from around Armenia.

It is typical to see khachkars like this lined up in the vicinity of churches

Here you get a sense of their scale, some being quite large

New models coming off the line. Again, people emphasize that no two khachkars are alike

A field of khachkars at Noratus near Lake Sevan

Khachkars can be placed within the walls of churches or set in stone like these

A new khachkar. Notice the grapes and pomegranates at the bottom, both important religious symbols in Armenia

Khachkars with Christ portrayed are less common.

A very impressive example. At the bottom a 'tree of life' symbol emerges from the cross.

One of the most amazing we saw, carved by a fellow whose nickname was 'the embroiderer'

Here is a short video of a khachkar master and his words about the craft and the significance of khachkars are especially poignant.


One response to “Khachkars”

  1. DeNee hansen says :

    Wonderful presentation. It is so interesting to read all of your messages. Can’t wait until we see you again. Gram.

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