Cilicia Museum of Armenian Culture and Spiritual Heritage, Antelias

I love going to museums in and around Beirut, and then blogging about it.  This is another post like that. 

The Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia (or the Holy See of Cilicia) is headquartered in Antelias, a suburb just north of Beirut. It is the regional authority for the Armenian Church in Lebanon, Syria, and Cyprus. I learned that from wikipedia.

The headquarters is situated on the south-eastern side of the junction between the Dora and Antelias highways, and includes a cathedral, a library, a residence and a museum. A large wall surrounds the headquarters complex. This wall and the Holy See's location directy at the junction of major roads makes it very easy to find.

The museum interested us more than anything else. I'd seen online that they had an impressive collection of religious artifacts, paintings, carpets, and so on. It looked like something the kids would enjoy, so not long ago we took the children for a visit.

These are the postcards that the museum attendant gave me. The three with red backgrounds are reliquaries and other religious objects typical of the museum's collection. There was a room filled with objects like these and we tried to help the kids understand the role they play in the Armenian faith.

The postcard at the top left shows a page from an illuminated manuscript.  A large room in the museum is devoted to these texts and the opulent covers that typically went along with them. Their collection is enviable and our kids liked searching the drawings and book covers for interesting people, animals, and things. 

The postcard at the bottom right shows the exterior of the building that houses the museum.  In real life, the building's surroundings aren't  anything like the postcard--which looks like a photo of an architect's model . . . and maybe that's what it is.  In real life it's surrounded by other buildings and the wall, so maybe this is as good as it gets.

Visiting the museum is free of charge, and I love that! They're open Tuesday to Saturday 10-5 (last entry 4 pm) and Sunday 10-1(last entry 12 noon). Check out the museum's web site for a little history lesson and a preview of the collection.

And, a map in case it helps.

The pale yellow square is the headquarters, and there is an entrance on the Antelias road. Entering through this gate, the museum is ahead to the left, past the cathedral, facing you.


  1. Mary Ann - I love seeing religious treasures like those at museums like that! Wish I could take a swing through there, too!
    Thanksgiving wishes from Wisconsin

  2. Thank you for this awesome blog post.

  3. Leif, when you're next in town this will be on the tour!

    Krikorian, I'm so glad you like it! Thanks for the comment.

  4. Good to read this! It is awesome, good job!