website of Jelle Verheij, historian


Monastery of St.Peter of Gomk (Gomocvank), Sason

Plan of the Monastery, drawn by J.M. Thierry

A = Church of St.Peter, B = Narthex (Arm. “zamatun”), C= chapel, “Martyrion” dedicated to St. Mary.

The Monastery of St. Peter of Gomk (Gomocvank) is situated in the heart of the Sason (Sasun) district (Batman Province), at a splendid position opposite to Mount Marato (2950 m).

Gomocvank was Sasun’s most famous monastery. Founded in the 9th or the 10th century (the church in its present form probably dates from the 11th century), it was in the Middle Ages the seat of the bishop of Sasun. It had a rich library and held a number of revered relics.

The monastery consists of two adjacent churches, surrounded by a wall, which is partly preserved. The interior of the main church has beautifully sculptured ornaments. The smaller church, or rather chapel, is supposed to have been built somewhat later than the main church. Locally it is said that the monastery once contained “200 rooms”. That is certainly an exaggeration, but the complex is quite large, occupying some 1.250m2.

As so many monuments on isolated spots it is fully at the mercy of treasure hunters, who already caused serious damage to the columns of the narthex and other parts of the church, which will at some point in time cause a collapse of the roof.

The monastery can be reached relatively easy by a 45-60 min climb from the road between the settlements of Çayırlıkilis and Giresun (at the South side of the hill) or from the village of Turnalı (Gomk) (from the North).


Thierry, Jean-Michel, Sasun – Voyages Archéologiques, in: Revue des Études Arméniennes N.S. 23 (1992), p. 315 – 391 (on Gomocvank: pp. 341-345)

the interior


The Monastery from the Southeast

View from the Northeast

View from the West

The narthex, from the East

The entrance to the narthex

The martyrion

All pictures © Jelle Verheij, 2012