The Surb Mesrop Church of Harav Village


Surb Mesrop Church is located in the heart of Harav village in Artsakh's Askeran region (Fig. 1).

Harav (1)

Fig. 1 The general view of the church from the southwest, photo by A. Grigoryan, 2022.

Historical overview

The church was constructed in the 18th century and then renovated in the 19th century. Makar Barkhudaryants' work "Artsakh" contains information about the village and the church, including the following: "The village of Harav is founded on the height of the right side of a valley on the northern portion of the mountain range, the residents are indigenous, the land is fragile and less fertile, it has a temperate air and climatic conditions, the water is clean, the life span is long, 85 years, the church is Surb Mesrop, stone-built, it has one priest"(Barkhutareants 1895, 109).

Architectural-compositional examination

It is a single-nave vaulted hall with a rectangular architectural plan made of local rough stones and lime mortar. Only the cornerstones, wall pillars, arch stones, and door and window frames have been polished. The vault is supported by north and south wall pilasters and arches. A gable roof crowns the structure from the outside.

The semicircular tabernacle faces east, and the two sacristies run parallel to it (Fig. 2). The baptismal font has been preserved in its traditional location in a niche of the church's northern wall (Fig. 3). There are small alcoves for the preservation of ritual objects in the central part of the tabernacle, directly under the window and on the southern wall.

Fig. 3 The baptismal font, photo by A. Grigoryan, 2022.

Նկ. 3 Մկրտության ավազանը, լուս․ Ա․ Գրիգորյանի, 2022թ․։

The only entrance is from the south and runs from the center to the western corner (Fig. 4). It is built with a double-section system of polished quadrants and carved columns, as is common in rural churches from the 18th and 19th centuries. The church was illuminated by three windows from the east, two from the south, and one from the west facade (Figs. 5, 6). The southern windows were demolished and enlarged during the Soviet era, and the church was utilized for economic purposes.

Before the renovation, the church's gable roof had steeper slopes.

Fig. 4 The southern facade of the church, photo by A. Grigoryan, 2022.

Fig. 6 The entrance and enlarged windows, photo by A. Grigoryan, 2022.

Fig. 5 The interior, viewed from the east, photo by A. Grigoryan, 2022.

The condition before, during, and after the war

The church is no longer functional, and the roof tiles have not been preserved. During the Soviet era, the church's tile covering was replaced with asbestos sheets, which are now severely damaged. As a result, trees and vegetation have sprouted on the roof. The church was not damaged before or during the 2020 war.


  1. Barkhutareants 1895 - Barkhutareants M., Artsakh, Baku.
The Surb Mesrop Church of Harav Village
The Surb Mesrop Church of Harav Village
The Surb Mesrop Church of Harav Village