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General front view, seen from the south

This layout made it possible for the various buildings, not only the nucleus of the monastery itself, to be constructed in an orderly, balanced way over a period of four centuries. Placed along the longitudinal, transversal axis of the church of Amenaprkich the two little churches of St. Karapet and St.Sarkis fit into the general composition. The relationship between architecture and landscape which it thus achieved is on a vast scale, and the formal appearance and characteristics of individual building becomes secondary. The church of St. Astvatzatzin built in 934 by Armenian monks who had fled from Byzantium, is the main building and also the oldest in the Sanahin complex. It has dome-shaped halls (Kuppel-Halle) with four corner rooms, and the external volume is a solid mass. The interior is simple and spacious, with a cross-shaped plan and sharp emphasis on the central nucleus in which the harmony between the squared base and the overhanging dome is realized through original spoon-shaped wells.

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