The world's biggest depository of ancient manuscripts is in Yerevan, Armenia!
The Matenadaran, the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, was founded in 1959 as the State depository of manuscripts. The Matenadaran is named after Mesrop Mashtots, the creator of the Armenian Alphabet. 11000 completely preserved handwritten books and more than 2000 partially preserved manuscripts are the core of the Matenadarans collection.
The majority of the books have precious leather covers with stamping and silver pressing. Most are full of elaborate miniatures, very important elements of medieval Armenian art.
The Matenadaran building (architect Mark Grigorian) has the advantageous position of being located on a hill at the end of Mashtots Avenue. It dominates the center of Yerevan. This building made of basalt reflects the forms and specifics of Armenian architecture.
The statues of Movses Khorenatsi, Toros Roslin, Grigor Tatevatsi, Anania Shirakatsi, Mkhitar Gosh, and Frik are in front of the main façade and the statues of Mesrop Mashtots and his disciple Koriun (sculptor Chubarian) are situated at a lower level.
The Matenadaran has departments of Bibliography and Textual Studies, Old Chronicles, Medieval Chronicles, Documents and Miniatures Studies, Preservation, Restoration and Copying of Manuscripts and Archival Documents.
Armenian manuscripts are on display not only in the Matenadaran but all over the world.