Armenian chorusClick here for Armenian music.

The Armenian Classroom

The library in the 10th- to 12th-century monastery of Sanahin inspired the design of the Armenian Room.

Armenian architects devised innovative arches to withstand frequent earthquakes. This room's arches, built of Indiana limestone, spring from the center of each wall to form the base for a stepped dome that terminates in the yertik, originally an opening to the sky.


Under a stone arch bearing carved pomegranates, the cross (khatchkar) on the white oak entrance door is surmounted by a profile of Mt. Ararat, spiritual homeland of Armenians. The gold-leafed alphabet on the window wall was developed in 404 A.D. Above the candle niche, a khatchkar based on one at the 12th-century Gheghard Monastery and the date 301 A.D. reminds us that Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity as its state religion.

Carved in the keystone of each chalkboard arch is an eagle reminiscent of those on the column capitals at the 7th-century Cathedral of Zvardnots. The heritage wall bears the names of historically important Armenians from the first century B.C. to the 20th century.

A basalt stone from the grounds of Sanahin serves as the cornerstone. In the mortar behind it are the thumbprints of five of the oldest Armenians living in the Pittsburgh area, as well as the handprint of six-month-old Nora Shnorhokian, then the city's youngest Armenian, symbolizing the continuity of the Armenian presence in western Pennsylvania.


Also in the room are display cases with Armenian artifacts.

ARCHITECT: Torkom Khrimian

STYLE: 10th- to 12th-century Monastic

DEDICATED: August 28, 1988


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Created by Steve Zeiden

Edited and modified 4/98 by Marie Mazzocco

Sound clips edited by John Rehbun and Carl Kuzmich from the Center for Instructional Development & Distance Education (CIDDE) at the University of Pittsburgh