A few nice internal cylindrical grinding pictures I identified:
Karmravank Armenian monastery, Vaspurakan Province (Lake Van), Armenia
Image by james_gordon_losangeles
Karmrakvank is an abandoned Armenian monastery in the historical Rshtunik district of Vaspurakan Province. It is now positioned in the Gevaş district of Van province in Turkey, and is also now recognized as Göründü Kilise following the name of the nearest village, and Kirmizi Kilise (Reddish Church) on account of the colour of its brick dome. Göründü, now inhabited by Kurds, was the Armenian village of Mokhrapet.
Little is identified about the monastery’s history – a tradition ascribed its founding to Gagik Artsruni of Vaspurakan. This king was responsible for founding numerous monasteries in this area, most notably Holy Cross church on Aght’amar Island, and the monastery of St. George of Goms. Karmrakvank got its name from a reliquary the monastery possessed that was decorated with red gemstones and contained a fragment of the True Cross.
In the late 19th century Karmrakvank was a single of the couple of remaining possessions of the Aghtamar Catholicosate. In 1895 it was plundered by Kurds.
The monastery is located at the upper end of a small valley that descends to the shore of Lake Van.
The monastic complex survives as two churches and a ruinous defensive wall. The main church, referred to as Surp Astvadzadzin (church of the Holy Mother of God), is a big structure with a dome above a tall drum. On its north side, and constructed against its north wall, is a smaller church whose name is unknown. Each churches are constructed of irregularly shaped blocks of schist stone. The defensive wall is nonetheless fairly intact on the eastern and northern sides of the monastery exactly where it is 1.4 metres thick. On the southern side the wall has entirely collapsed and the location of the entrance cannot be identified.
Except for the two churches, there are no surviving original structures within the wall’s precincts. The cluster of single story buildings at the north-western finish of the enclosure is contemporary and postdates the abandonment of the monastery (Thierry identifies them incorrectly as monastic cells). Utilized in the past as sheep folds and cow barns, they are now derelict and in a state of collapse.
Outside the walls, a little to the southeast of the major church, are the remains of a cemetery. Most of its graves have been dug up by treasure hunters and their gravestones smashed.
There is a spring of drinking water in the base of the valley straight under the monastery. So significantly of the water is now piped away to further down the valley that it is often dry by summer time. The original location of the spring’s outlet is not particular.
Church of the Holy Mother of God (Surp Astvadzadzin)
The program of this church is rectangular externally. Internally it is a variation on the ‘domed-hall’ strategy. Thierry termed it a ‘domed nave’ (nef à coupole): a nave with a barrel vault that is reduce in the middle by a dome on pendentives supported by engaged piers. In a typical domed-hall strategy, the engaged piers are deep enough to create side arms that extend to the north and south. Even so, in this church the side arms are decreased to a stepped recession of only some 60cm (though they are nonetheless articulated externally through pitched gables). Thierry identified numerous nearby churches with related plans, and speculated if it was an architectural kind distinctive to Armenian churches in the Van region.
The entrance into the church is on the west facade. On this facade there are also two other doorways positioned so high above the ground level that they could only have ever been reached by ladders. Equivalent upper-level doorways exist on at least two other surviving monastic churches in the Lake Van region, at the St. George of Goms and St. Thomas of Gandzak monasteries. The ones on the St. George church are inaccessible, but these on the Gandzak church can be accessed by climbing onto the roof of its narthex. On that church, every door leads to a little, narrow chamber with a stone altar against its east wall. The layout at Karmrakvank’s Surp Astvadzadzin church is a little diverse: each door leads to a chamber that is open on a single side, forming a gallery that overlooks the nave. Thierry (citing Sargissian’s "Description of Tiny and Great Armenia" from 1864) says that these galleries have been as soon as enclosed by a grill and have been traditionally regarded as royal oratories. There are traces of a stone balcony along the edge of every single gallery, and in the east wall of each and every chamber there is a niche.
The internal dimensions of the church are 11 metres by 5.four metres. The dome is 13.25 metres above the current floor level, but a layer of at least 1 metre of earth and debris covers the original floor level.
The apse of the church is horseshoe-shaped. Its domical vault has a row of clay jars set into its base to improve the acoustics inside the church. There are much more clay jars set into the barrel vault of the west arm of the church. On the south side of the apse is a little, windowless chamber that is as well modest to be a side chapel but may have been a storage location.
The drum of the church is cylindrical internally, octagonal externally, and supports a half-hemisphere dome. Both drum and dome are constructed of brick. The drum has 4 windows. Above the windows on the outside are hooded shapes that hark back to the hooded mouldings identified above the windows of earlier medieval Armenian churches. But these are not correct mouldings considering that they are inset into the drum. Above the level of the windows is a single course of brickwork laid for decorative impact, with the bricks set at angles. Thirteen courses above this is a single course of stonework: a band of red tufa carved with a six-strand interlace. The octagonal pyramid-roof of the dome has a really steep pitch, and is clad with stone slabs. The surface of the cladding is articulated by raised bands that run along the edges and down the middle of every face.
The church initially had a a lot more extremely finished exterior than its present condition suggests. The pitched roofs of the church had been clad in stone slabs, now largely gone, that rested on a cornice of finished stone. The exterior walls still retain a fragmentary coating of plaster. On the west facade the plaster exists only on the upper components and appears to break off at the exact same level, suggesting that there may as soon as have been a single-story structure in from of the church.
At the apex of the west gable is a partially-destroyed plaque with an inscription in Armenian that is too worn to decipher. On the identical gable, on its cornice at the south west corner, is a short inscription dated 1878 that may well refer to a repair of the roof. The church has no other surviving building inscriptions that aid with its dating. A single of the gallery doorways is formed from a reused khachkar. It has an inscription, stating that it was erected in 1306 by a Father Thaddeus as a memorial to Christ There are numerous other khachkars of simpler styles reused throughout the walls of the church, both externally and internally. A quantity of them also have dates: Thierry mentions 1276, 1347, 1380, and 1411. This would suggest that the church was constructed sometime following the early 15th century. The quantity of reused khachkars indicates that there have to have been a religious structure on the site ahead of the present church. There are also a quantity of inscribed stones on the outdoors walls: a lot of of these are possibly votive inscriptions and are not reused material.
A key earthquake hit the Van area in 1648, destroying several churches and requiring their rebuilding. A design and style feature of these post-1648 churches is the approach of transition between the pitched roof of the nave and the vertical surface of the drum: this is often accomplished utilizing a flat, triangular-shaped plane set at 45-degrees (see photo 8 on the Surp Grigor web page for an instance). This design remedy was almost certainly inspired by Muslim kumbets, and is not a type found on earlier Armenian churches. Even so, at Karmrakvank the conventional remedy is nonetheless utilized: a cube with a double-pitched roof (see photo 11 on the Kizilkilise page for an example). This seems to indicate that the church, like its brick dome, was not constructed following 1648.
The North Church
This church is smaller sized than the major church (the internal dimensions are 6.54m by three.66m), and it has a various design and style and a much reduced construction quality. It is a barrel-vaulted, single-nave chapel with a horseshoe-shaped eastern apse. The barrel vault is strengthened by a transverse rib supported by pilasters. The north and south walls are articulated as a blind arcade with two extremely crudely shaped arches.
The entrance into the north church is by means of its west wall. Even so, this doorway is now blocked-up and a new entrance has been roughly hacked by means of the south wall, top straight into the south church. Thierry saw significance in this opening, proposing that it dated back to the creating of the south church and indicated that the north church was older than the south church. I believe it has no significance: the opening only dates from right after the monastery’s abandonment and is just a crude breaking-by way of of the wall to enable the interiors of each churches to be utilised as a single sheep-fold. The north church is practically certainly younger than the south church simply because the vault of the north church is supported mostly by the north wall of south church.
Minaret of Jam, Ghor Province, western Afghanistan
Image by james_gordon_losangeles
The Minaret of Jam stands sixty-five meters tall in a deep rugged valley at the juncture of the Hari and Jam rivers, approximately 1 hundred kilometers east of Herat. It was constructed by Ghurid sultan Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad bin Sam (1163-1203). The foundation plaque above the base on the north side has been read differently by Pinder-Wilson and by Sourdel-Thomine as 1194/95 and 1174/75. The earlier date supports the prevailing argument that the minaret was erected alone to commemorate the Ghurid conquest of Ghazna in 1173. Remains of a settlement on the northern bank of Hari and surrounding hillsides, and pottery fragments collected in the region recommend that the site may be the lost Ghurid capital of Firuzkuh destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1222. Remains of a fort or castle are noticed on a hilltop to the east of the minaret.
Produced totally of fired brick, the minaret is composed of a two-tier cylindrical body raised seven meters on an octagonal base. Two spiral staircases, accessed from a single doorway above the ground, provide access to two balconies atop the reduced shaft and midway up the upper shaft, going to six vaulted chambers positioned in in between. Only the supports have remained of the brick balconies. The minaret is capped at sixty-5 meters with a cupola (now damaged) raised on six open archways.
The two towers of the minaret shaft differ structurally. The broad reduce shaft is produced of thick walls enveloping two spiral staircases at center it rises to a height of thirty-eight meters, with an exterior diameter diminishing from 9.7 meters at the base to six meters at prime. The narrow upper shaft, by contrast, has a central void spanned by six cross-vaults resting on four internal buttresses. The stairs are right here channeled into the narrow spaces among the walls and the buttresses.
The wealthy decoration of the minaret, executed with tiles and terracotta in higher relief, has largely survived and was analyzed in detail by Sourdel-Thomine. The upper shaft functions 3 epigraphic bands — one particular below the cupola and two under the second balcony — that include the shahada, Quranic verses from Sura al-Saff and the name of Ghiyath al-Din, respectively. The two reduce bands are separated by a thick decorative band featuring a symbolic vase motif located in the Ghazna palace of Mas’ud III and on coins issued at Firuzkuh.
The lower shaft is covered totally with eight vertical tile panels that lead up to a thick epigraphic band below the initial balcony. Each panel here characteristics a braid of geometric shapes framed with a continuous kufic inscription (Sura Maryam, Quran 19) and filled in with interlacing geometric patterns. The braid motif on the east and west facing panels, which mark the original entrance and the direction of qibla, are distinguished with the use of eight-pointed stars. The dedicatory inscription above the panels involves the name and celebratory titles of Ghiyath al-Din, written in a floriated kufic script highlighted with turquoise glazed tiles. It is framed with tile bands of varying width, like series of circles and roundels fitted with floral inserts. A cursive inscription, placed halfway up on the eastern panel, provides the name of the architect, ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim of Nishapur. Fragments remaining of the fifth epigraphic band on the base of the minaret show that it also contained titles of the Ghurid sultan in a knotted kufic script.
Stabilization efforts for the Jam Minaret started in the 1960s following a survey by the Instituto Italiano per il Media ed Estremo Oriente (ISMEO) that warned of collapse due to soil erosion at the minaret base. A short-term dam was constructed of stone and wood in 1963-64, and followed by the construction of a gabion wall by UNESCO in 1978. Preservation efforts halted by the civil war were resumed in 1999 and in 2001 with the building of extra walls and gabions along the Jam and Hari rivers. The minaret and the surrounding archaeological web site were amended to the UNESCO list of Globe Heritage in Danger in 2002. Illegal excavations considering that 2001 have compromised the historical integrity of the archaeological internet site.