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Location - Caucasus, Europe; Capital - Yerevan; Population - 3 million; Currency - Dram MORE ARMENIA

I took a half-day tour from Yerevan to Garni and Geghard complexes (the latter definitely being the more impressive as it's rock-cut), then headed north to Georgia via the beautiful Debed canyon - September 2019.



The new 2,000 Dram note










armenia342First up was the pre-Christian temple of Garni


armenia345It was built by King Tiridates I in the 1st century AD to honour the sun god Mihr, and reconstructed in the 1970s - Garni


armenia340The mountainous scenery surrounding Garni















armenia348Next to the Roman bath are the remains of a mosaic - Garni














armenia338Brilliant instructions on the tour bus! Looks like you can't do anything except light your own farts - Garni


armenia358Gata, a sweet Armenian bread for sale at Geghard














armenia390Geghard is a monastery founded in the 4th century, though much of the present complex dates to the 13th century













armenia373Khachkars carved into the rock - Geghard


armenia378Chapels have also been hewn into the rock - Geghard


armenia374Khachkhars are crosses carved into rock or stone stelae. You can also see a cross high on the mountain face to the right - Geghard














armenia393Much of the complex has been wholly or partly dug from the rock - Geghard



















armenia398The figures above the arch, including two carved lions, are likely to be the coat of arms of the Royal family who built it - Geghard


armenia400Walk into the next rock-cut church and you might come across a queue of tourists collecting water from the spring - Geghard


armenia404Upstairs there's a further room through a small tunnel - Geghard















armenia405The tunnel opens up into the Upper Jhamatun - Geghard















armenia406You can snoop on those in the tomb below via a small hole in the corner - Geghard


armenia407A mini honey farm just outside the entrance to Geghard, where you can also see several small caves carved into the rock


armenia409In the back, across the small bridge, are what I'm guessing are love or friendship ribbons tied to branches - Geghard














armenia410The end of the tour finishes with a demo of making lavash, an unleavened flatbread. Pictured is the baker peeling it from the side-walls of the tandoor oven - Geghard













armenia412Scenery on the bus ride from Yerevan north to Vanadzor - Pambak Range


armenia413Straight after arriving I then took a taxi from Vanadzor to the Debed canyon














armenia414It's a picturesque area where the Debed River follows the canyon, punctuated with medieval monasteries - Debed canyon














armenia416Most of Sanahin Monastery was built between the 10th-12th centuries - Debed Canyon


armenia420I presumed it was no longer functioning so was surprised to see a service under way at Sanahin, Debed Canyon


armenia421Houses cling to the mountainside - Sanahin, Debed Canyon















armenia425There are some superb views of the Debed Canyon from the plateau


armenia428A few kms further north is the more visually impressive Haghpat, both for its monastery and its location - Debed Canyon














armenia444A magnificent view of a village on the edge of the canyon cliff - Haghpat, Debed Canyon















armenia435Khachkars and carved inscriptions on the outer walls of Haghpat, Debed Canyon


armenia436Some of the rooms are very impressive, and include several chapels, a bell tower, scriptorium and dining hall - Haghpat, Debed Canyon


armenia443After Haghpat we continued north to the Geoprgian border with my driver's clapped out taxi - Debed Canyon















Website and content Copyright © 2008-2019 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.


LINKS - Armenian tourism website - Hyur tours, a professional outfit based in Yerevan

www.ukzhd.aml - Armenian railways, mainly for the train to Tbilisi


I am not responsible for the content of external websites.


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