The Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, commonly referred to as the Matenadaran,is a repository of ancient manuscripts, research institute and museum located in Yerevan. It holds one of the world’s richest depositories of medieval manuscripts and books which span a wide range of subjects, including history, philosophy, medicine, literature, art history and cosmography in Armenian and many other languages such as Arabic, Persian, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Polish and classical Slavonic. Many ancient texts exist in their translation into Armenian. Now Matenadaran contains more than 17 000 manuscripts, 450 000 archive documents, 3000 ancient books. It houses the writings of historians Movses Khorenatsi, Yeghishe and Aristakes Lastivertsi in its depositaries. There are departments of bibliography and textual studies, old chronicles, medieval chronicles, copying of manuscripts and archival documents in Matenadaran. Exceptionally interesting is the 28 kg manuscript “Homilies of Moush” scribed in Moush in the 18th century. Shown next to it is the 15th century tiny book-calendar weighing 19 gram.
Matenadaran was founded in Vagharshapat(one of the ancient capitals of Armenia) in 405 by Mesrop Mashtots(the inventor of Armenian writings) and Sahak Partev(the Catholicos of all Armenians). It was replaced in Yerevan in 1939 and moved to it’s present building (designed by Mark Grigoryan) in 1959.