The medieval monuments of the Armenian high plateau, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, are typically ignored in histories of art and architecture. Yet they are abundant, sophisticated in design and decoration, and bear inscriptions of historical importance. This lecture will introduce the architecture of medieval Armenia, demonstrating the importance of Armenian monuments for an understanding of the seventh century, when the Armenian plateau was at the center (and not the margins) of world history. Churches such as Mren, Zvartnots, Hripsime, Talin and others were produced at the height, and at the center, of Byzantine, Persian, and Arab conflicts, and thus hold not only architectural but historical significance. Armenia also played a role in the formation of Islamic and Byzantine architecture. In considering this rich and striking corpus of monuments, we thus arrive at a much more coherent picture of the early medieval era than has been achieved previously.
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