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Armenian Monastery

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Isola Di San Lazzaro, 30126 Venezia Lido VE, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Ambra
Local tour guide
"When visiting the Armenian Monastery in Venice, make sure to explore the lesser-known printing press room – it's a hidden gem where you can learn about the Monastery's significant role in the history of publishing. Also, check the monastery's event schedule in advance; they sometimes host unique cultural events and exhibitions that are not widely advertised but are truly enriching experiences."

What is the Armenian Monastery?

The Armenian Monastery, known officially as the Monastery of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, is a serene oasis steeped in history, nestled on its own small island in the Venetian Lagoon. Caretaker to a rich collection of cultural treasures, it has been a hub for Armenian culture and learning for centuries. With its picturesque gardens, library, and museum, it remains an active monastery while also serving as a scholarly and cultural institution.

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The monastery is also famed for its publishing house and continues a long tradition of Armenian printing and scholarship. Little known to some visitors, this monastery is not just a relic of the past; it is a breathing, working center of ecclesiastical life and tradition. Part of the charm lies in its slightly secluded location, offering a peaceful retreat from the bustling streets of Venice and a unique perspective on the city from the water.

History of the Armenian Monastery

Founded in the early 18th century, the Armenian Monastery of San Lazzaro has been a sanctuary for monks and a bastion of Armenian heritage ever since. The island was gifted to the Armenian Mekhitarist congregation in 1717 by the Republic of Venice. The monastery became an important location for Armenian culture and the study of the Armenian language, literature, and history, spearheaded by the founder Mekhitar of Sebaste.

Throughout the centuries, it has played host to numerous notable figures, including Lord Byron, who famously learned Armenian while visiting the monastery. The island and the monastery itself were expanded and enriched with artifacts, a library, and a printing press, which would become one of the foremost centers for Armenian publishing outside the homeland. This history deeply entwines with the cultural fabric of Venice, highlighting a tradition of cultural exchange and learning.

Why is the Armenian Monastery Important?

The Armenian Monastery on San Lazzaro Island stands as a significant testimony to the resilience of Armenian culture and the spread of knowledge. It is important not only for its religious and historical significance to the Armenian community but also because of its role in fostering international relationships and cultural dialogue. Recognizing this, UNESCO has included the Mekhitarist Congregation at San Lazzaro Island in the Memory of the World Register.

Its impressive collection of manuscripts, including over 4,000 Armenian manuscripts and around 150,000 printed books, makes it one of the richest repositories of Armenian heritage worldwide. Additionally, the monastery's commitment to scholarship and intellectual growth has made it a pivotal location for the advancement of Armenian studies and has helped preserve the Armenian language and script through its printing endeavors.

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The importance of this site goes beyond its walls, as its influence can be seen in the wider dissemination of knowledge and appreciation of Armenian culture across Europe and the world. Due to its extraordinary library and museum, it also stands as an excellent educational resource for scholars and students keen on delving into the depths of Armenian culture and history.

Things to Do & See at the Armenian Monastery

Visiting the Monastery of San Lazzaro degli Armeni is a voyage into the heart of Armenian culture and heritage. Start by exploring the monastery's impressive museum, which houses an array of artifacts that range from ancient Armenian Khachkars (cross-stones), beautiful paintings, intricate tapestries, and stunning illuminated manuscripts.

Take a guided tour to learn about the monastery's functioning printing press, where the monks continue to produce books and scholarly works, perpetuating the art that has been central to the monastery's mission since the 18th century. You might even witness the age-old process of bookbinding or printing during your visit.

Wander through the well-tended botanical gardens, a place of reflection and natural beauty, which is home to a unique collection of plants, including a variety of roses and a cactus greenhouse. A visit to the church, with its ornate interiors and captivating atmosphere, offers a moment for spiritual contemplation or simply a chance to soak in the peaceful surroundings.

The library, which is yet another treasure trove, captivates scholars and visitors alike. Among the ancient texts, you may find the smallest book in the world, an Armenian prayer book just 3mm in size! However, access is typically reserved for research purposes, but seeing the library is a highlight for those with a keen interest in literature and history. Then, make sure to gaze out at the stunning views of Venice from the island, a perspective few travelers get to witness. Lastly, you might even be lucky enough to join in for a monk-led service, enhancing the experience with soulful chants that echo through the monastery's historic walls.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Armenian Monastery in Venice?

The Armenian Monastery in Venice, also known as the Monastery of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, is a historic monastery that serves as a cultural and religious center for the Armenian community. It is located on the island of San Lazzaro and is known for its rich collection of artifacts, manuscripts, and its beautiful architecture.

How do I get to the Armenian Monastery in Venice?

Visitors can reach the Armenian Monastery by taking a vaporetto, which is the city's water bus service, from various points in Venice. The monastery is located on its own island, so you will need to check the vaporetto schedule for the specific route that stops at the island of San Lazzaro.

What can I see at the Armenian Monastery in Venice?

At the Armenian Monastery, you can explore the church, the library which houses a vast collection of ancient manuscripts, a museum displaying Armenian artifacts, and the well-kept gardens. The monastery also offers guided tours that provide insights into the history and culture of the Armenian people.

Is there an entrance fee for the Armenian Monastery in Venice?

Yes, there is usually an entrance fee for visitors to the Armenian Monastery, which includes access to the museum, gardens, and a guided tour. However, fees can vary, and it's recommended to check in advance for the current rates and whether there are any free admission days or discounts available.

Are there any special events or services at the Armenian Monastery in Venice?

The Armenian Monastery often hosts cultural events, exhibitions, and religious services, especially related to Armenian traditions and holidays. Visitors may have the opportunity to attend lectures, concerts, and special liturgies depending on the schedule during their visit.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Isola Di San Lazzaro, 30126 Venezia Lido VE, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps