zhamatun, a premises that served a semireligious, semisecular purpose (like a vestibule) in Armenian architecture, which was added to the churches during the Middle Ages, usually on the western side (sometimes as a separate building).
Gavits provided extra room for the worshippers and were also used as burial vaults and meeting halls. Sometimes church services were held there. In the ninth through llth centuries gavits consisted of arched halls; in the 12th and 13th centuries, many gavits followed the design (particularly the roof) of the national residential structure, the glkhatun. The most common gavit had a four-pillar hall with a ceiling of arches and vaults (in Sanain, 1185; Amazaspa in Akhpat, 1257); there were some six-pillar, three-nave gavits (in Sanain, 1211); pillarless halls with a roof placed on crossed arches were rare (in Akhpat, 1209; in Khorakert, 1252).
REFERENCEMnatsakanian, S. Kh. Arkhitektura armianskikh pritvorov. Yerevan, 1952.
O. KH. KHALPAKHCH’IAN