Khor Virap 25.05.2017
Armenian part of the trip was a bit blurred, as we wanted to see everything but barely had time to scratch the surface on all the stops we wanted to make. So we cut the time during the stops as much as possible which in the end wasn't really comfortable.
There are a lot of ancient monasteries around Yerevan. Well, that's the most interesting things in Armenia: the nature and ancient monasteries. Geghard monastery was founded in IV century. However monastery buildings were built a bit later, the earliest ones didn't survive to our days. The building from the picture below was build in 1251.
On the entrance some local musician play Armenian music (:
There is a window inside the church for a sunlight. A lot of visitors try to take a picture. Though I've no idea why: it's really hard to take a good shot with such a light.
Geghard is a cave monastery, but caves are closed for visitors. People are allowed just to climb these stairs to look around. Downstairs people make some fun: they try to throw a small stone to small holes on the wall. It's not that easy, as it might seem. I tried it (and managed to hit it) :)
The monastery still fulfils its original goal: it hosts monks and conducts worship action. We even saw a small part of the ceremony. Even the place is hardly reachable without a car (or bus) there was quite a number of visitors.
Most of the tourist who visits Geghard also makes a stop at Temple of Garni which is located nearby. It's a Soviet reconstruction of temple to the sun god Mihr originally built in the first century AD, but collapsed in a 1679 earthquake.
Right next to the temple there is a small building with ancient baths inside it. However we managed to go inside absolutely by accident. Normally the building is locked, however sometimes a special girl comes there and opens the door. So if you don't know about this nuance, you might easily miss the chance to go inside.
And then the road to Khor Virap. The landscape is truly picturesque.
Somewhere behind these clouds there is a mountain Ararat. Looks like I had to come here early in the morning to see it, like it often happens to mountains like this. So I had no chance to repeat famous "Khor Virap in front of Ararat" pictures. Maybe another time.
Yet another time a group of school students came to the church to celebrate school graduation.
The monastery is famous by it's underground dungeon. Armenian king 15 years held here Saint Gregory the Illuminator and released him after Armenia accepted the Christianity. It's hard to imagine how it is possible to spend 15 (!) years in the place like this.
It is allowed to visit the dungeon. However not every visitor will be willing to go downstairs.
To see some rooms in the church we had to put a lot of efforts :)
It might seem that it's already time to finish the day, but we also had a road to Goris. Just to make Tatev visit possible on the next day.
It was a long road, but very beautiful. Funny, but one of the most strong impression on that road was a lunch in cafe on the road. Just for 2.5 euro per person we had an amazing kebab, salad and hot tea. Maybe I was too hungry, but it was very tasty. I enjoyed it.
We arrived to Goris already in the evening. Fortunately it wasn't yet dark. We got there an interesting host: he had a bakery which produced lavashes. He made a quick tour for us and showed everything. I've never seen before how people make Lavash in tandoor.
We even tasted one right from the oven. It was tremendous.