Vagharshapat (Armenian: Վաղարշապատ pronounced [vɑʁɑɾʃɑˈpɑt]) is the 4th-largest city in Armenia and the most populous municipal community of Armavir Province, located about 18 km (11 mi) west of the capital Yerevan, and 10 km (6 mi) north of the closed Turkish-Armenian border. It is commonly known as Ejmiatsin (also spelled Echmiadzin or Etchmiadzin, Էջմիածին, pronounced [ɛd͡ʒmjɑˈt͡sin]), which was its official name between 1945 and 1995. It is still commonly used colloquially and in official bureaucracy.
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|• Mayor||Diana Gasparyan|
|• Total||40 km2 (20 sq mi)|
|Elevation||853 m (2,799 ft)|
| • Estimate |
(1 January 2019)
|• Density||1,200/km2 (3,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+4 ( )|
|Official name||Cathedral and Churches of Echmiatsin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots|
|Inscription||2000 (24th Session)|
|Area||74.3 ha (184 acres)|
The city is best known as the location of Etchmiadzin Cathedral and Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the center of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is thus unofficially known in Western sources as a "holy city" and in Armenia as the country's "spiritual capital" (հոգևոր մայրաքաղաք). It was one of the major cities and a capital of ancient Greater Armenia. Reduced to a small town by the early 20th century, it experienced large expansion during the Soviet period becoming, effectively, a suburb of Yerevan. Its population stands just over 37,000 based on 2016 estimates.