Summer is coming to an end, and many of us have not yet been able to take a break from working days and enjoy our weekends. Thus, we offer to allocate only 2 days for your rest, and we promise to make it unforgettable and to acquaint you with many non-secular places in Armenia.
One of the wonderful places to spend your vacation is the Tatev monastery located in the Syunik region, with rich nature and great historical and cultural values. During the two-day tour, we will organize visits to
We will begin our tour by visiting the Khor Virap architectural monument on one of the hills of the historical city of Artashat. The 17th-century monastery-fortress was one of the famous Armenian pilgrimage sites connected with the name of Gregory the Illuminator.
Khor Virap was a deep hole full of snakes and poisonous insects, where the convict was thrown. According to Agatangeghos, during the persecution of Christians, Trdat III the Great threw Gregory the Illuminator into the pit of the royal prison in Artashat, where the Illuminator spent about 14 years. And during those years Trdat III the Great was infected with a deadly disease and since he knew that the Illuminator could heal people, he ordered his release. After coming out of Khor Virap, the Illuminator, with the support of the king, made Christianity the state religion.
From the 13th century, Khor Virap, in addition to being a possible sanctuary, became an all-Armenian center of education and science. In 1255 Vardan Arceltsi founded a high school in the monastery.
Paruyr Sevak’s House-Museum is located in the poet's birthplace, in the Zangakatun (formerly Chanakhchi, Sovetashen) village. The museum was opened on June 17, 1981. That was the day of the 10th anniversary of the tragic death of Paruyr Sevak. The house-museum building is included in the list of monuments of republican significance.
The museum was built next to the writer's private house. The author of the project is architect Jim Torosyan. According to the project, the house-museum complex included a lobby hall, exhibition halls, a chapel-bell tower, and an amphitheater. Only a part of the project has been implemented, the current lobby hall.
In March 2015, the new building of the house museum was opened, which looks like a bell tower. It includes the administrative part of the house museum, the bookstore, and the reception hall. Today, the Paruyr Sevak House-Museum complex includes the two buildings of the museum, the mansion built by the poet (1960), the garden, and the paternal house (1924).
In the lobby hall of the museum, there are exhibits related to the poet's life and different creative stages: personal belongings, documents, copies of manuscripts, publications in different languages.
There are about 700 exhibits in the museum and more than 1000 books in this personal library. Since 2019, Paruyr S.'s father's house has been part of the museum's exhibition. In front of the house there is a small garden with apple, apricot, and walnut trees. The house was inhabited until the 1980s. P. lived there. Siak's parents and uncle (until the 1960s), and then close family relatives.
Areni Wine Factory CJSC was established in 1994, in the village of Areni, Vayots Dzor region, on the initiative of the Simonyan family. Almost half of the raw materials currently used are homemade grapes, the rest are bought from gardeners in the nearby villages of Areni. The Queen of Fruits grape has a long way to go before it becomes an Armenian patriarchal wine. High-quality raw materials are needed to get good wine, and one of the main conditions for getting good grapes is its proper processing, which takes place in different stages from early spring, March-April to late September-October. The orchard begins in Areni in mid-September and ends in the village of Khachik (1600 m above sea level) until mid-November. It is also worth noting that vineyards in Vayots Dzor are not buried (not covered with soil).
Areni (formerly Arpa), located at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level, is one of the cradles of grapes. Areni, one of the oldest grape varieties, grows here. It is no coincidence that at the Areni Bird Cave archeological excavations have uncovered the oldest grape-growing crop in this area, which has a history of about 6,000 years. The size and number of jars found in the ancient hearth of wine production, the technology of making wine, the existence of an irrigation network for the gardens speak about the fact that there was a well-developed winemaking culture in this place thousands of years ago.
Let’s continue our trip to the Noravank monastery complex, built-in 13-14th centuries, located in the Vayots Dzor region. The famous clergyman, theologian-historian, political and cultural figure Stepanos Orbelyan worked in Noravank for some time. According to Stepanos Orbelyan, it has been a sanctuary since the early Middle Ages.
Noravank is one of the magnificent medieval monuments of Armenia, which stands out with its beautiful natural environment. The monastery was founded on the territory of two earlier churches in the 12th century and was built mainly in the 13th-14th centuries. The names of famous churches and political figures of the period are connected with the history of Noravank. They lived and worked in Noravank. In addition, famous figures and creators of medieval Armenia are buried here.
Noravank was founded by Bishop Hovhannes of Vahanavank, who settled here in 1105, expanded the territories belonging to the monastery, gathered rebellious monks, and received degrees from the Seljuk rulers declaring Noravank a bishopric. During the next two centuries, Noravank expanded due to the pro-church activities of the Orbelians ruling in Syunik and became a spiritual, educational, and cultural center, the Orbelyans' family cemetery.
The monastery was looted by the Mongols in 1238, but peace was established by a peace treaty between Agha Khan and Orbelyan Elik, which allowed the monastery to be rebuilt and flourished until the invasions of LenkTemur in the late 14th century.
The road takes us to the city of Jermuk, one of the three resort towns in Armenia. The Armenian village of Jermuk used to be in the place of Jermuk. Later it was destroyed by foreigners, a new village was built in its place, which was called Istisu. It was renamed Jermuk only in 1924. The village of Kechut, located 3 km south-west, belongs to the city. Already in 2016, according to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On Administrative Territorial Division", the villages of Gndevaz, Herher and Karmrashen were united with the Jermuk city community.
At the beginning of Jermuk is the ropeway, which was built in the fall of 2007 by the Austrian "Leitner" organization.
The length of the ropeway is 1000m. The difference in height between the top and bottom pillars is 400m. The highest point is at an altitude of 2480 m, where there is a restaurant cafe. It has 2 slides. The length of the first is 1450 m, the second is 1550 m. The number of seats are 200.
Here is the natural geological monument - Jermuk Waterfall. It originates from springs, has a height of about 72 km, and flows into the Arpa River through 3 dome-shaped valleys.
It is said that the Prince’s castle was located on the edge of deep rocks in place of today’s waterfall, whose beautiful daughter was a part of virgin nature. The princess was asked for her hand from all over the world, but she refused everyone because her heart belonged to the young, brave, and beautiful son of the shepherd. Every day, after midnight, the young princess threw the long end of the rope into the gorge from his bedroom window, with the help of which the pastor's son was climbing to the princess’ bedroom.
The prince soon finds out about it, he gets angry, foams, and curses his daughter. If she meets a shepherd's son, let him become a mermaid and never get out of the water. However, nothing kept the young lovers from the temptation of the meeting. But at the same moment, the cruel curse of the father is fulfilled. The beautiful woman becomes a mermaid, and her beautiful hair falling into the gorge becomes a wonderful waterfall, which people call "Mermaid's hair".
The best and most anticipated end of a rather full day will be overnight in the city of Goris. Formerly the city was called Gerusi, Guriaya, Gores, Goris, Hin Kyores, Kyuris, Kuris, Dzagedzor, Zangizur, Zankyazur, Curius.
There are different explanations for the name Goris. It is supposed that the name is based on the Indo-European proto-language guor- "rock" and es- "to be", that is, Goris-Kyores means rocky place. The place of the city has been inhabited since ancient times; people settled here in the Stone Age. The ancient mention of the name Goris comes from the Urartian period. In the 8th century BC Rusa I King left a cuneiform inscription, where he mentions the country of Guria among the 23 countries he conquered. Scientists think that it is Goris. Later, the Aramaic border inscription stone of the Artashes I King (BC189-160) was found in Goris
Khndzoresk is a unique place of interest, famous for its ancient cave dwellings, where people lived until the 1950s.
Let's start the second day of our rest by walking through Khndzoresk, and of course, we will go to the swinging bridge of Khndzoresk. The bridge connects the two "shores" of old Khndzoresk, the Old and New Khndzoresk, from where the four churches of Khndzoresk and the fountain of the "Nine Children" can be seen.
The bridge was built in 2012 on the initiative and sponsorship of Khndzoresk businessman Zhora Aleksanyan, who dedicated the structure to the memory of his parents, Hayk and Tamara Aleksanyans. The bridge overlooks the gorge, where the Desert Church is located, in the yard of which Mkhitar Sparapet is buried. At the other end of the bridge is the cave town with its many cave houses and "private houses".
The Monastery of Tatev was the richest monastery complex in medieval Armenia. In addition to being a center of concern, Tatev was also an important political stronghold of the Kingdom of Syunik. The strategic advantage of the monastery and its impregnability have created favorable conditions for the creation of strong defensive structures here. In unfavorable political conditions, many secret passages in the territory of the monastery complex served as a means of communication with the outside world.
According to Stepanos Orbelyan, the first church of Tatev Monastery was built in the 4th century, had a dull appearance, and a few hermit monks. At the end of the 8th century, it was the chair of the Syunik bishopric.
According to the legend, Lenk Temur wanted to destroy the Tatev monastery and uproot the movable staff. For that purpose, he ordered his bandits to tie a pair of buffaloes, tie the pillar with a plow chain and stretch it. As soon as the buffaloes start pulling, the chain is cut and they fall into the gorge. Seeing that, Lenk Temur leaves the monastery.
Arriving in Tatev, Lenk-Temur orders to pile wood in the monastery and burn it. The fire falls on the bell tower and spoils the bells. After that, the sound of the monastery bells stops.
One of the most popular places for tourists is the Devil's Bridge. It is a natural bridge formed from travertines, which is located in the Syunik region, on the Vorotan River. There are many mountain springs around the bridge, the waters of which paint the walls of the gorge with pink, yellow-green colors.
The Goris-Tatev highway passes over the Devil's Bridge. The width of the natural bridge is 60 meters, the length is 30 meters. You can dive into hot springs not far from the bridge. You can even go down to the river to enjoy the view of the mysterious figures below the springs.
It is also worth mentioning that in ancient times, rich Armenians visited this wonderful cave during the summer months to take a healing bath.
The 2-day vacation full of impressions would not be complete without a visit to Shaki Waterfall. Shaki waterfall is located 3 km northwest of Sisian city, on the Shaki river. The height of the waterfall is 18 meters. It is considered one of the most popular places in Armenia by tourists. The power of the waterfall is so great that very often it is impossible to hear the voice of the people standing near the waterfall. Most of the water is used in the Shaki hydroelectric power plant. The latter takes a huge amount of water from the waterfall and does not allow it to shine in all its splendor.
There is a myth connected with the name of the waterfall. Shaki was a beautiful girl, she was so beautiful that one of the Arab invaders who came to conquer our country could not stand her beauty, so he fell in love with Shaki. The invader ordered the girl to come to him, but Shaki did not obey and threw himself from the height. At that moment, the white dust of his clothes spread and became a waterfall.
So, hurry up and register for our Monastery + Jermuk two-day tour to Tat, get away from the daily hustle and bustle of the city, and enjoy the last days of summer with us. And our knowledgeable and happy guides will make your vacation even more interesting and unforgettable.