Ejmiatsin, also spelled Etchmiadzin or Vagharshapat, is one of the most significant religious and cultural centers in Armenia. It holds great importance in Armenian Christianity and is home to the mother cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church, commonly known as the Holy Etchmiadzin Cathedral.
Ejmiatsin is often referred to as the "spiritual capital" of Armenia. The Holy Etchmiadzin Cathedral, which is located in the city, is the main cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church and holds great religious significance. It is considered the oldest cathedral in the world that has been in continuous use for Christian worship.
According to tradition, the site where the cathedral stands was revealed to Saint Gregory the Illuminator, the patron saint of Armenia, in a vision. It is believed that he saw a vision of Jesus Christ descending from the heavens and striking the ground with a golden hammer, indicating the spot where the cathedral should be built. The name "Etchmiadzin" itself means "the Descent of the Only-Begotten."
The Holy Etchmiadzin Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a masterpiece of Armenian ecclesiastical architecture. The cathedral has gone through various renovations and expansions over the centuries, but it still retains its original cruciform plan and ancient design elements. It is a hub of religious activity, hosting liturgical ceremonies, pilgrims, and visitors from around the world.
Ejmiatsin is a major pilgrimage destination for Armenians and Christians from around the world. The city attracts visitors who come to experience the religious and historical significance of the Holy Etchmiadzin Cathedral and its complex. Guided tours are often available, providing insights into the spiritual and cultural heritage of the area.[:]