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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: 39.5023, 46.3364
So today we headed way down south in the country, passing close to the borders with Turkey (closed), Azerbaijan (closed) and in the direction of Iran (border open and judging by number of iranian trucks probably a bit of sanction busting going on. Visited three monasteries, all interesting in their own way but made special by location, all close to or in mountain countries with snow capped peaks by the dozen.
Khor Virap monastery, famous because Gregory the Illuminator - who brought Christianity to Armenia, was imprisoned In a dungeon on the site for 13 years before healing the Kings son which persuaded the king that Christianity might be a good thing.. (It's in wikipedia too folks, you better believe it). And I went down the pit.
Then to Noravank, perched high on a cliff face and with one striking new building read 13th century) by a famous architect, sculptor, painter and general good guy Momik.
Finally, leaving the armenian stonehenge for tomorrow, to one of the most iconic monastery sites in the place, Tatev monastery, (let's be clear - none of these have any monks and I'm still trying to get to the bottom of where they all went!)
Another one perched high over a gorge with snowy mountains as a backdrop, we were supposed to get there by a 5km cable car which included a huge span across the gorge. But it wasn't working so we were reduced to a 13km drive down to the bottom of the gorge and back up dodging recent rock falls. They said it had been struck by lightning and on our return we saw a car making very slow progress along the cable with a man lying on the bit at the top that attaches to the cables clearly doing an inspection, rather him than me.
So here we are in a rather pleasant hotel in the little town of Goris, and the photos today will feature dungeons, monasteries and mountains!
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