The decorated interior of the Gandzasar gavit' is somewhat modest: the wall pillars and columns have simple bases and capitals, and the entrance portal to the church from the gavit' is very simple, while the decoration on the inside of the roofing is rather rich. The central section, as has been mentioned, bears a stalactite solution and ends with the classic opening (erdik) at its zenith; the west panels are decorated with reliefs, while the central panel, facing east, is decorated with a large cross. The exterior facades, built with blocks of dressed basalt, are also sober. The south panel is practically devoid of decoration and is enlivened only by the window openings; the smooth south fagade has as its only decoration the modest portal and a simple window frame opening above it. Highly interesting are the greatly stylized panthers at the sides of the door.
The most elaborate facade of the gavit' is the west one, with its richly decorated portal. In actual fact, the entire facade acts as a background for the portal. At the sides of the door's quadrangular opening are bundles of half-columns with bases and capitals and a sharply profiled arch resting on them. In the tympanum, polychrome stone typical of Armenian art in this period is used: circles and
semicircles in yellow stand out against the red background. A window is inserted above the portal and birds typical of medieval art are sculptured at the corners. The roofing of the gavit' has four slopes and is covered in stone; in the middle, over the zenithal opening, stands the six-column lantern, a later addition of the restoration of 1907. The original bell-tower of the gavit' must have been consonant with the dome of the church, both in form and wealth of decoration. This is shown by the fallen capital on the gavit' roof, the style of which is similar to the capitals of the half-columns of the dome.
There, then, we have the church and the gavit' of the Gandzasar monastery; two splendid monuments that well represent the canons of 13th century Armenian architecture.
In the Gandzasar complex, the buildings for living accomodation (17th century) are built against the north bastion. This is an excellent location, because the windows face south, towards the courtyard. There are eight cells, seven of them identical, while one at the west end is slightly different from the others. The cells are not large (interior measurements are 2.9 by 2.5 metres), made to house a single person. They are barrel-vaulted and constructed by joining blocks of rough-hewn, dressed basalt. The door and two windows of each cell open on the side facing the courtyard; one of the windows is near the door and the other, smaller one, which was also used for ventilation, is higher up, immediately below the vault. In all cells in Armenian monasteries, there is the hearth (bukhari) and niches in the walls (patrhan) to be used as storage-spaces.
Buildings for living accomodation in late-medieval Armenian monasteries are basically of two types. The most common is the type with pairs of rooms around an ordinary vaulted corridor. Examples are to be found at Tat'ev, Gndevank', Geghard, Havuts far, Aghdjots vank', Khor-Virap and Amaras, in Artsakh. They are rather large and are intended for more than one occupant. The Gandzasar cells belong to the other type: small, for one person only, and each with its own entrance. The best example of this type is the Great Hermitage of Tat'ev (Metz Anapat), one of the most significant medieval architectural complexes in the region of Siunik'.
Near the Gandzasar cells, towards the east, is the monastery refectory (1689).
It has a structure typical of 17th and 18th centuries buildings of the same type: a long, vaulted construction with a hearth and the pantry nearby. Similar refectories are at the Tat'ev monastery, the Great Hermitage of Tat'ev, Gndevank', Khor-Virap and so on. Its prototype is to be found in 12th-13th centuries Armenian architecture: long, vaulted buildings with bearing arches at K'obayr, Kirants vank' and T'egheniats vank'. But these are free-standing units, while the 17th and 18th centuries refectories form part of a complex of buildings and cannot be distinguished either by shape or size. The interior of the Gandzasar refectory is divided into internal bays. The half-columns do not reach the floor but stop some fifty centi¬metres above it. This was made necessary because of the need to place seats along the longitudinal wall. The seats must have been of wood since nothing remains of them. The decoration of the facade of the refectory facing the courtyard is quite sober: the portal has cylindrical half-columns, and figures of birds are sculptured on the sides of the service-room window.
The two-storey, vaulted building in the north-east corner of the Gandzasar complex was the bishop's residence. It is built in rough-hewn blocks of basalt and there is access from both the courtyard and the outside. The two-storey building used as a school (1898) had, towards the east, a wooden roof (now destroyed) and, on its west side, a wooden balcony facing the Khatchen valley.
The enclosure walls are in stone but, unlike many other Armenian monastery walls, they have no towers. There are three entrances to the complex: from the east, the west and the south. The latter was the most important, built in dressed stone and vaulted.