Throughout centuries, Armenian monasteries have played a great role in the spiritual, cultural and political life of the Armenian people. These holy sites are recognized not only as centers of prayer, but also as scriptoriums where numerous works and translations were scripted, hand-copied and passed on to generations to come. Many of the church complexes represent magnificent and inimitable samples of the Armenian ancient and medieval architecture.
The monastery was situated on the southern shore of Lake Van, in the village of Narek, Vaspurakan province of historic (Greater) Armenia. The monastery was established by Armenian monks who, fleeing religious persecution in Byzantium, found shelter in Armenia.