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Haghpat monastery, view from the east | by Tigra K
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Haghpat monastery, view from the east

The Hamazasp gavit. Most of the Hamazasp is actually below this level down the hill, here we see only the roof and the upper part of the chapel.


Note the plaque in memory of one of Haghpat's most famous residents, the 18th century poet and musician, courtier Sayat Nova (1722-1795). Considered by many the greatest ashugh (folk singer-songwriter) that ever lived in the Caucasus, he was born Harutiun Sahakian, in the village of Sanahin and raised in Tiflis (Tbilisi).


Skilled in writing poetry, song and playing the kamancheh (a bow string instrument related to the violin), he achieved fame at the court of King Heracleh II of Georgia. Sayat Nova wrote equally well in Armenian, Turkish and Georgian and more than 200 musical pieces are attributed to him, though it is believed he penned thousands.

He lost his position at court when he fell in love with the king's sister Princess Anna and spent the rest of his life in exile, his last years in Haghpat with a religious name Father Stepanos. He served first as a monk, then as Grand Sacristan. His later period intertwined religious themes with haunting pieces of love lost and the despair of unrequited love.

In 1795 Sayat Nova was killed at Haghpat during an uprising in the area by the soldiers of Agha Mohammed Khan of Iran in an expedition against the Georgian Kingdom, which was subsequently reincorporated into Iran.


Haghpat monastery, Armenia, 2011

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Taken on October 14, 2011