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The Matenadaran is one of the oldest and richest book-depositories in the world. Its collection of about 17000 manuscripts includes almost all of the areas of ancient and medieval Armenian culture and sciences - history, geography, grammar, philosophy, law, medicine, mathematics, cosmography, theory of calendar, alchemy, chemistry, translations, literature, chronology, art history, miniature, music and theatre, as well as manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Greek, Syrian, Latin, Ethiopian, Indian, Japanese , other. 

In this center of cultural heritage many originals, lost in their mother languages and known only by their Armenian translations, have been saved from loss. The history of the Matenadaran dates back to the creation of the Armenian alphabet in 405. It is named after the creator of the alphabet Mesrop Mashtots. This center of manuscripts has a history of centuries. The nucleus of this collection is the Echmiadzin Patriarcal Matenadaran. 





The collection is also composed of 2,500 Armenian illuminated manuscripts, which include such prominent examples as the Echmiadzin Gospel (989) and the Mugni Gospels (1060). Another prominent manuscript in the collection is a 632 page, 80 lb. calendar made out of calf skin, which dates back to the 15th century.


The largest manuscript weights 27,5 kilos and is called 'The Homilies of Mush'. It is under the number 7729. Written in 1200-1202 AD in the Avag Monastery in Yerzenka, the scriber is Vardan Karnetsi, the illustrator is Stepanos and the binder is Stepanos (1205). Later it was rebinded by Kirakos Aghbetsi (1828). The receiver is Patron Astvatsatur of Baberd. The size of the manuscript is 70,5x55, it has 603 sheets written on parchment, with 3 columns on each page. The writing is straight majuscule. It has three magnificent miniatures and one khoran. Now it is bindingless and is divided into two halves that are kept separately.

The smallest Armenian manuscript weights 19 grams. It is a Church Calendar and is under the number 7728. It was written in Kafa. The scriber is Avgsent and the receiver is Hakob. It is 3x4cm. Its 104 sheets are on parchment with one column on each page. The writing is minuscule and the binding is stamped leather with a board as an inset.

In the Matenadaran's collection, the manuscript numbered '1' was written in 1632-1633 in Tokhat. The scriber is Sahak. The size of the manuscript is 20,5x15 with 123 sheets, written on paper, with one column on each page, the writing is minuscule and notrgir. The binding is stamped leather with a board as an inset. The manuscript contains the 'The Book of Adam' by Arakel Sunetsi, poems, speeches, horoscopes, fortune-tellings, written by Arakel Sunetsi, Karapet Baghishetsi, Arakel Baghishetsi, Stepanos Goyneritsants. 


The Mashtots Matenadaran Ancient Manuscripts Collection was inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme Register in 1997 in recognition of its world significance.





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