July 17 2012
Hello from Armenia!
We finally arrived yesterday, spending the night in Yerevan. After having a delicious authentic Armenian breakfast at the hostel, we headed out and started travelling the country to do some sightseeing. We first visited Khor Virap monastery overlooking Mount Ararat. We were pleasantly surprised to meet a number of non-Armenians from all over the world (USA, Europe, China, etc.) that were interested to learn about our history and just as amazed as us at the presence of majestic Ararat. The site is where Sourp Krikor Lousavorich (St Gregory the Illuminator) was imprisoned 13 year for preaching Christianity in the Armenian Kingdom. However, he was subsequently released and led to the adoption of Christianity in the Kingdom in the year 301, making it the first nation to do so.
We next visited the famous Areni winery for a tour of the facilities. We indulged in tasting the locally fermented wines at the end of the tour which left us all, as they say, in good spirits.
The delicious taste of the wine still in our mouths, we continued towards Noravank, a 13th century monastery surrounded by tall jagged mountains and deep valleys unique due to the two-storey Sourp Asdvadzadzin church. The church contains two levels of worship one over the other. The second floor is reached by a double sided cantiliver staircase on the front elevation of the church. With its magnificent architecture, it almost blended in with the scenery around it; a truly beautiful site.
After lunch we headed towards Goris, where we will stay and rest for the night. It was a busy day for us filled with laughter and good times and we are looking forward for tomorrow when we stop by Kapan before entering Artsakh.