Originally established in 642 BC, the monastery of Khor Virap (translated from the Armenian language "deep dungeon") acquired its modern form only in the XVII century. However, even in those days, the former prison was widely known, because in the local pit himself was imprisoned Gregory I. After thirteen years in prison, the future Pope to make Armenia the first Christian nation.
Before the Christian Church canonized Gregory I, Gregory the Illuminator was put into a deep pit dug on one of the hills. All thirteen years he lived only by a Christian woman who secretly brought him food. Then, as the story goes, the Illuminator healed governor Tiridates III the Great, who later became a Christian monarch.
Hill, where once was concluded Gregory the Illuminator, eventually became a popular place of pilgrimage. The first church, as already mentioned, was built on a hill in 642, and has since been repeatedly reconstructed. Today, thanks to the electric installations in the wooden house there is always a light, and in those days burned wooden torch or candle, causing the walls were covered with soot over time, as can be seen in the interiors of the monastery. Despite numerous architectural additions, pit, where he once served conclusion Gregory I, is still available to the public. You can get to it through the hole to the right of the altar. In a kind of prison cell can be reached by sticky mucus shestidesyatimetrovoy stairs. Dungeon is a wide circular room, which apparently had the same interior during the time of Gregory the Illuminator.
Today, the monastery of Khor Virap - the most visited place of pilgrimage, is also a popular tourist attraction in Armenia. Thousands of tourists are willing to go to such a remote corner of the country to understand the origins of Christian culture. From the walled monastery complex overlooking the snow-capped peaks of Mount Ararat, which, incidentally, is the highest volcanic massif of the Armenian Highland.