The later central structure, built in the 19th century, acts as the fulcrum of the entire composition because of the complexity of its mass and exceptional dimensions, thus extending the volumetric play of the older church. Located on the same longitudinal axis as the older church, this later one with its planivolumeric plan is reminiscent of the church of St. Etchmiadzin (niche-buttressed square plan) in Vagharshapat. This structure, built in 1811-1820 in front of the former church, became the main church of the complex, and replaced and expanded the west side of the older one. Like the cathedral of Etchmiadzin, it has a square layout with four free-standing supports, but it has three apses instead of the usual four. Moreover, the west apse is reduced to make room for the portico (porch). Resting on cruciform free-standing pillars, the central arches support the cupola and the dodecagonal drum surrounding it externally. A pattern of pointed arches and pendentives in low relief rise above the arches, adding to the support of the upper structure. The portico, inserted at the point corresponding to the western exedra of the main church, was never completed and dates back to the middle of the 19th century. It probably was intended to have a second floor and a true bell tower. The portico? massiveness is lightened by little blind arches, decorative and geometric figures repeating those of the central church, to further unify the two parts of the complex. The element connecting the portico-bell tower and the church wall is missing. The building technique of this section, partially demolished and partially unfinished, is typical of Armenian architecture with the external surface of the walls in ashlar stones, and the supporting section of the walls in roughly worked stone. From the outside, as well as from the inside, the three different constructive periods – the oldest church, the main church, and the portico-bell tower – are evident. The first of the three has smooth walls in gray-black tuff, from which its name Kara-Kilise (black church) is derived. Placed on the two-step high baseboard of the building are decorative half-columns with an unfinished base, more than likely remains of the first church destroyed prior to the 14th century.