The Cathedral of Zvartnots is a 7th-century complex built by the order of Catholicos Nerses the Builder in 643. It is located near the city of Etchmiadzin.
The complex consisted of St. George temple or Zvartnots (“celestial angels”, “vigil forces”) and the palace of Catholicos Nerses III.
The cathedral was dedicated to St. Gregory and they say it is built on the place, where King Tiridates III and Grigor Lusavorich (Gregory the Illuminator) met. The construction has been taken place during the early invasions of Muslim Arabs and under Byzantine control.
Zvartnots survived until the end of the 10th century. The reason for its collapse is not known. A similar copy of the cathedral was erected in Ani by Tiridates the Architect during the reign of Gagik I Bagratuni.
The ruins of Zvartnots became uncovered at the beginning of the 20th century. Under the direction of Vardapet Khachik Dadyan, in 1901 and 1907 the site was excavated and revealed the cathedral foundations together with the ruins of the Catholicos palace and a winery. Afterwards, it became apparent that Zvartnots stood on the remnants of structures dating back to the reign of the Urartian King Rusa II.
Alongside with churches in Vagharshapat, Zvartnots was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000.