*The featured photo: Jrapi Church (photo by Gurdeep Mattu)
An ancient 12th-century caravanserai built by the Seljuk Turks and a 19th-century Armenian church right near the Armenian-Turkish border.
As I was driving towards Gyumri, the second largest city of Armenia, I spotted two ancient structures adjacent to each other on the side of the road and decided to explore.
Let’s hit the off the beaten path in Armenia!
Located a couple of hundred meters away from the Armenian town of Jrapi, this church was built in 1874. Jrapi Church can be considered as one of the fine examples of the Armenian stonemasonry and Armenian Christian architecture. When I visited this historic site, there was not even a single soul around, so I had the whole church to myself.
There were many offerings, Christian artworks, artisanal stone crafts left inside the Jrapi Church. It was truly a magical site.
The church has 2 small chapels on both sides of the altar. These altars have dozens of pictures of Jesus and the paintings depicting biblical scenes. Jrapi Church feels like a time machine that takes you back to the medieval ages.
Just a few meters away from the Jrapi Church, you’ll see a dilapidated structure which is the Jrapi Caravanserai. This structure was presumably built in the 12th century AD. Today, only 1/4 of the roof is intact. Apart from the arches and the somewhat preserved dome of the caravanserai, most of this structure has collapsed due to time and disruptive element of the nature.
Considering the similarities between the architectural fragments of the church and the caravanserai, we might as well can surmise that the church may have been constructed by using the pieces from the run-down caravanserai.
I highly suggest you to take a quick stop by these intriguing ancient sites.
Where is the Church and Caravanserai?