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September 27th 2010
Published: November 2nd 2010
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Till, the German dude I met in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh went back to Yerevan with me and is staying with Mohammad as well our Csurfing host, we both decided to make a day rip to Vanadzor to see 2 UNESCO sites nearby. We took a minivan which took about 2 hours, arriving in Vanadzor we got swamped with taxi drivers offering their services for the excursion to the Unesco sites, we bargained hard until we found a good driver, no English but he knows where we are going. The drive there was beautiful, roads are winding and we saw a few old bridges made of steel, then we finally arrived in Sanahin, a very old monastery full of history, as most churches here it's made of solid rocks and the interior is simple and plain apart from a variety of crosses etched on the walls and some tombs on the ground. There are also tombs behind the church but not so interesting for me. The scenery here is breathtaking overlooking a deep gorge whose name I forgot.

From here off to Haghpati monastery, this one was also simple but steep in history, we quickly went around the complex as the weather is getting bad and a bit cold, it started to rain as we drive back to Vanadzor and the driver took in one passenger even if we paid him for the excursion, we did not complain we just want to get back quickly to make the last bust trip to Yerevan. we made it in time and arriving in the city we bought crayfish and had our last feast of these delicious creatures for the last time, tomorrow, we are off to Georgia!

UNESCO description of the sites:

These two Byzantine monasteries in the Tumanian region from the period of prosperity during the Kiurikian dynasty (10th to 13th century) were important centres of learning. Sanahin was renown for its school of illuminators and calligraphers. The two monastic complexes represent the highest flowering of Armenian religious architecture, whose unique style developed from a blending of elements of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture and the traditional vernacular architecture of the Caucasian region.

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