You drive three kilometres Southeast of the town of Artik in the Shirak region and reach to the magnificent monastery of Harichavank which is a 7th-century masterpiece of Armenia. Besides being a very important spiritual and educational centre it is also among many of archaeological sites of Armenia where the excavations show that the place was in existence during the 2nd century BC.
The earliest part of the complex is the Church of St. Gregory the Enlightener. The exact founding date of the monastery is unknown (probably 7th century). The dominant church is the Holy Mother of God which Zakare Zakarian built. He was Amirspasalar (commander-in-chief) and Prince who liberated and ruled Eastern Armenia in the 13th century. The architectural style amazes with the ornaments, umbrella-shaped dome, cruciform floor plan, narthex with a stalactite-ornamented ceiling, and a bas-relief of the pieces holding the miniature of the church.
Throughout its long-lasting existence, the monastery was repeatedly updated. The most significant restoration took place in the second half of the nineteenth century. The place also gives an impression of a fortress with its surrounding walls and towers.