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CROSS STONES Khachkar Marble Insert 6 Silver Coin Set 1000 Dram Armenia 2011


Collector coins “Kecharis”, “Sanahin”, “Gndevank”, “Goshavank”, “Etchmiadzin” and “Noravank” have been issued by the Central Bank of Armenia under the International Numismatic Program “Cross-Stones of Armenia”. All coins, made of Silver 925, feature a marble insert.

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Cross Stones of Armenia (Khachkar)
Armenia is a unique country; it has over 50,000 hand-made crosses, sculptured of rocks, noone is identical to another one. Each cross-stone has its own pattern; each one has its own story which goes back to the depth of ages. Sculpturing cross-stones, which sometimes weigh a few tons, requires hard work, genuine talent, and plenty of time. No nation in the world has employed such a powerful and long-lasting way to express its faith to God.

A typical cross stone is made out of slate of volcanic basalt or tuff. In the center of the cross stone is the symbol of Christ's crucifixion, which is usually resting on the symbol of the sun, or of the wheel of eternity. The cross itself and its surroundings is usually covered by fine patterns, or images of grapes and leaves. It is very typical of Armenian cross-stones to have branches of date-palm symbolizing Christ's glorious resurrection.

Cross stones were created after Armenians adopted Christianity in 301 and became the first Christian nation in the world. For Armenians, it was the symbol of Christ's resurrection, of His victory over death.

Cross-stones were placed as gravestones, also to celebrate important events, such as: victories in battles, construction of a temple, a church, and water channels. They were placed in holy places, in graveyards, near the roads and sometimes on hills and cliffs. In some cases, for example: in Geghard, which is a unique monastery dug into a gigantic rock, the cross-stones would be placed in the walls. The cross-stones themselves have been considered to be holy and their presence in a place underlined its holiness, its immaculate being.

Cross-stones were most intensively sculptured during the 12th and 13th centuries and the greatest masters of cross-stones of all times, Master Momik and Master Boghos are descendants of these centuries. The very meaningful and responsible task of sculpturing cross-stones was trusted only to those with the deepest faith towards God and with superb talents, since cross-stones were used as a sign of holiness of an area. Although foreigners and especially non-Christian invaders were keen to destroy all Armenian treasures throughout centuries, the fabulous works of masters have been preserved. Magnificent cross-stones of these men can be seen in Goshavank, Dadivank, etc. This unique culture of changing a rock into a monument that speaks the word of God and thus educates generations, was harmed by foreign invaders after the 13th century. The tradition, however, was never lost and even today many people in Armenia make cross-stones.

The oldest preserved cross-stone in Armenia, with a known date of creation, is the one granted to Queen Katriande, the beloved wife of King Ashot Bagratuni the First. It dates back to 879 and can be found in Garni, a pagan temple of the 1st century A.D.

Ancient Armenian graveyards are rich of these magnificent creations of humanity. The medieval cemetery in Noratus village is an example. In Noratus, there are about 900 cross-stones, some of which are about 1.5 m tall.

Cross-stones are spread all over historical and contemporary Armenia and this is why Armenia has become an "open air museum".

  • CountryArmenia
  • Year2011
  • Face Value1000 Dram
  • MetalSilver
  • Fineness (purity)925/1000
  • Weight (g)25
  • Size (mm)27 x 47
  • QualityAntique Finish
  • Mintage (pcs)2.500
  • Certificate (COA)Yes
  • Presentation case (box)Yes
  • Set (pcs)6
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The Kecharis Cross-Stone The collector coin dedicated to the cross-stone of the Kecharis Monastery. The cross-stones make constituent part of the Kecharis monastic complex and attach gracefulness to it. The cross-stones of this Monastery are marked out by a stepped pedestal engraved at the bottom and a cornice framing the top. The Sanahin Cross-Stone The collector coin dedicated to the cross-stone of the Sanahin Monastery. The cross-stone was created by Grigor Touteordi (1184). It is placed at the north wall of the S. Haroutiun Church. More than 50 cross-stones have been preserved in Sanahin, of which the cross-stone by Grigor Touteordi is especially valuable and is considered one of the best samples of the stone craftsmanship of Armenia of the Middle Ages. The Goshavank Cross-Stone The collector coin dedicated to the cross-stone of the Goshavank Monastery. This cross-stone is one of the three embroidered cross-stones authored by Master Poghos. The fine rosace and the elegant palmette formed by multi-string crocheted wide ribbons on both stone wings make this cross-stone noticeable. The Gndevank Cross-Stone The collector coin dedicated to the cross-stone of the Gndevank Monastery. The Gndevank Monastery has cross-stones and gravestones of 10-16 centuries. Small right-angled cross-stones widely spread in Vayots Dzor can also be found in the courtyard of the Monastery. The upper and lower parts of the crosses of these stones are decorated with luxurious palmette. The Etchmiadzin Cross-Stone The collector coin dedicated to the cross-stone of the Holy Etchmiadzin monastic complex. The cross of this cross-stone is decorated by grapes bunches and palm leaves. At the bottom of the cross-stone is a stepped pedestal, palmette and a prominent rosace, which gives start to a palm and a cross. The smaller rosaces above the horizontal cross wings symbolize the sun and the moon, and the rosace on the top of the cross depicts a star. The Noravank Cross-Stone The collector coin dedicated to the cross-stone of the Noravank Monastery. Many cross-stones can be found inside the Noravank monastic complex. Some of them stand out for their perfect technique and creative integrity and thus can be considered the symbols of the stone craftsmanship.