San Lazzaro degli Armeni Monastery
A photo essay
San Lazzaro is famous for containing a treasure-trove of scholarly works and ancient artifacts (Armenian and otherwise) in an incredibly approachable environment. The Monastery's library is one of the largest repositories of Armenian scholarship in the world, and contains more than 150,000 volumes, including 4,000 Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts, some nearly 1,300 years old.
I, along with about 30 other tourists, took vaporetto #20 from Venice to the island. When we arrived, we were greeted by a jovial monk (see above) who was fluent in 5 languages. He led us from the dock to the church where he sat down and gave an engaging and witty history of the Armenian people and the story of the Monastery.
Given its relatively small size, San Lazzaro contains a remarkable number of artificats, including statues, thrones, paintings, tapestries, gold, silver, jewels, and other items that the monks bought or received as gifts over the centuries. I especially liked the following one (I wish I could remember its significance). It's carved out of a single piece of ivory (note the concentric spheres).
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