What To See On The Way
Khor Virap (“deep dungeon”) is a monastery of the Armenian Apostolic Church, located near the Turkish border, at the base of Mount Ararat. From here opens a magnificent view of the biblical mountain.
The monastery is located above an underground prison, where Armenian King Tiridates III for about 13 years held in captivity St. Gregory the Illuminator until the latter converted him to Christianity (in 301). The entrance to the underground prison, remaining intact today, is located in St. Gregory’s bell tower, built in 1661. The underground prison ranges from 3 to 6 meters deep.
Areni Village and nearby territories have an enormous wealth of archeological monuments: caves, castles, ruins of medieval villages, isolated cross stones, necropolises, bell tower-sanctuaries, etc. The world’s oldest winery was discovered on the outskirts of Areni Village. A wine holiday is held here every year for true devotees of the “drink of the gods.”
Noravank Monastery Complex was built in the XIIIth century on the ledge of the narrow and winding Arpa River gorge, near the Armenian city of Yeghegnadzor. The gorge is famous for its steep and beautiful cliffs rising behind the monastery, which houses the two-story church Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) with narrow console stairwells.
(Karaundj: 7,500-year-old Stone Circle) is an ancient megalithic complex consisting of numerous standing stones, some of which have large openings in the upper part. The complex was located next to a Bronze Era village and is presumably an ancient observatory. The seventeen stones were used for the observation of sunrises and sunsets during the days of solstice and equinox, as well as the 14 lunar phases.