The cultural heritage of Armenians includes not only khachkars and churches but also valuable manuscripts that have survived numerous disasters. Armenian people have always treated their heritage cautiously and have preserved them at the cost of their lives. The manuscripts that have escaped invasions and robbery are now paid considerable attention.
Even cruel wars and genocide have not deprived us of ancient manuscripts, miniatures, books and works of ancient literature that are preserved in Matenadaran (manuscript store or library). The Repository of various documents, Matenadaran was built in 1957. It is a must-see place, and no one can leave Armenia without seeing these old books.
Right at the entrance stand the statues to famous Armenian people of arts, philosophers, and scientists such as Anania Shirakatsi, Mkhitar Gosh, Grigor Tatevatsi, Toros Roslin, Movses Khorenatsi and Frik. At the base of the building is the statue of Mesrop Mashtots, the first Armenian teacher and creator of the alphabet with his student Koryun knelt in front of him.
Currently, Matenadaran is a home for about 16.477 materials and nearly 300.000 archive documents. The saved manuscripts include information about medieval Armenian culture, history, grammar, law, philosophy, medicine, geography, chemistry and almost every sphere of science. Here you can find manuscripts in other languages as well, like Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian, Indian and so on. Matenadaran guards the oldest parchment book, the Gospel of Lazarus (887). The visitors can also see the heaviest and the biggest manuscript that weighs 34 kg.