The Khor Virap monastery represents great touristic interest due to its jaw-dropping history. It is a 17th-century church built around the pit which hosted Surb Grigor Lusavorich (St Grigory the Illuminator) for 13 years. It has a spectacular view of the Mount Ararat, the national symbol of all Armenians.
Khor Virap means “deep dungeon”.
Grigor Lusavorich cured King Trdat III of a disease after being imprisoned in Khor Virap, and this caused the conversion of Armenians to Christianity as a state religion in 301.
Nowadays everybody can visit the pit located in St Gevorg Chapel. where Lusavorich was kept. There are two holes to climb down. The first hole is a chamber with stairs, and then a ladder that leads to the small room. Another hole is situated in the central room, on the right side of the altar with a long ladder heading down, to the pit, where St Grigory was imprisoned.
Here you can also witness the green belt along the Araks River, marking the Armenian-Turkish boundary.
The large St Astvatsatsin church built at Khor Virap in the 17th century is a modest structure without any decorative carving or elements. The pit of Khor Virap with its surrounding church and territory once composed a part of ancient capital Artashat built by King Artashes I, the founder of Artashesid dynasty in 180BC.