Drove along the apparently historic Debed Canyon (this is what the guide book says, but we didn't spot any of the churches that are supposed to line the valley). Very different scenery, green tree covered hills. Very steep and long canyon with a lot of old Soviet industrial factories along the way. Our destination of Alvaverdi town, a very ugly big town that is full of semi-derelict factories, a decrepit looking cable car and two UNESCO world heritage monasteries, Haghpat and Sanahin. Haghpat we felt was the more interesting of the two. Both are from Medieval times with libraries and great stone work. Sanahin was known for the illuminators of manuscripts. The town of Sanahin is the top of the cable car from Alaverdi and is where the factory workers lived, the cable car was for their transport to and from the factory below. One of the factories that is still operating has an extra long chimney stretching up the canyon side to release the fumes above Alavaerdi, which sits in the valley, this just released the fumes over the town where the workers lived on the opposite side of the valley. Very unpleasant. Because we were staying near Haghpat we
visited it three times, midday, evening and first thing in the morning, each time showed us elements we hadn’t noticed. Small country village with steep hills.
Where to stay: Gayane Hotel, 20,000 AMD incl breakfast. Haghpat. (Incredibly slow service for dinner with ridiculously loud music).
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