The monastery of Bri Yeghtsi

The monastery is situated 0.6 km northeast of Hatsi village in the Martuni region of Artsakh.

It is the largest monastery in Artsakh in terms of spatial spread. The monastery comprises a chapel church located on the hilltop, two churches with a single gavit, a fourth church located at the foot of the hill, and three-walled khachkars. The area is home to several early Christian monuments from the 5th- 7th centuries and a cemetery from the 12th-19th centuries that have been preserved over the years.

The structures were plastered from the inside using "bri" (in the Artsakh dialect, "bri" refers to plaster made with lime mortar), from which the monastery derived its folk name.

The churches of Bri Yeghtsi, constructed in the second half of the 13th century, are notable for their western walls, which are predominantly adorned with khachkars specifically prepared for this purpose. In the walls of the structures, khachkars that were present in the area until then are also incorporated.

The monastery complex of Bri Yeghtsi is one of the few monuments in Artsakh whose two mid-13th-century architects left their mark. They are known as Khachenek (Khacinek) Anetsi and Shahen. Khachenek Anetsi left his mark on the chapel church he constructed atop the hill and on one of the walled khachkars. "Khachenek is the architect of the Holy Church, remember Christ in your prayers," "I, Khachinek Anetsi, architect of the Holy Sign, son of Varham, whoever reads, remember Christ in your prayers."

Shahen left his name on the wall of the church constructed at the foot of the hill: "Architect of the church, Shahen, remember (in prayers to) the Lord." The structures of the monastery were not damaged during the two Artsakh wars. However, the churches and porch roofs of the hill group are on the verge of collapse, and the roof of the church at the foot of the hill has long since collapsed.

The monastery is located about 300-400 meters from the current Artsakh-Azerbaijani border and requires special supervision.

Fig. 1 The group atop hill, photo by H. Petrosyan

Fig. 3 The west facade of the chapel church, photo by H. Petrosyan.

Fig. 2 The chapel church from the southwest, photo by H. Petrosyan.

Fig. 4 The gavit and the entrance to one of the churches,photo by H. Petrosyan.

Fig. 5 The view of the fourth church from the northwest, photo by H. Petrosyan.

Fig. 6 The western facade of the fourth church, photo by H. Petrosyan.

Fig. 7 Walled khachkars, photo by H. Petrosyan.

Fig. 8 Photo by H. Petrosyan.

Fig. 9 Photo by H. Petrosyan.

Fig. 10 Photo by H. Petrosyan.

The monastery of Bri Yeghtsi
The monastery of Bri Yeghtsi
The monastery of Bri Yeghtsi