Connecting the two banks of the Debed river in the town of Alaverdi, the Sanahin bridge is a remarkable example of medieval Armenian engineering. It was built in the 12th century by the sister of Princes Ivaneh and Zakareh Zakarians, Queen Vaneni, in memory of her late husband. The legend has it that Queen Vaneni built the bridge when she was transporting the body of her husband, who passed away at the age of 19, to the family sepulcher.
Built with polished basalt stones, this arch bridge has a length of 18.6 meters; its middle part is 3.3 meters wide. The bridge was erected in the narrow section of the Debed canyon, where the left bank was lower than the right bank. The four corners of the top part of the bridge’s parapet feature high reliefs of lions, a symbol of protection.
The bridge underwent several renovations throughout the 19th-20th centuries. In 1928-1929, the foundations of the left end of the bridge were partially strengthened under the guidance of Alexander Tamanyan, the architect who created the first general plan of Armenia’s capital Yerevan.