Armenia Central and Eastern Europe Europe

Khor Virap & Noravank

Stories and Photos from my travels to beautiful monasteries Khor Virap & Noravank.

Destination 》EuropeCentral and Eastern Europe  》Armenia

Year Visited: 2018 – July

I visited Khor Virap & Noravank during my five plus months backpacking trip through Central and Eastern Europe. After few days of walking around the capital city of Yerevan, my hostel arranged a day trip to two beautiful monasteries of Armenia, Khor Virap & Noravank. Both are must visit places if you ever come to Armenia.

Khor Virap monastery, located in the Ararat plain near the closed border with Turkey, was first established in 642 CE. Its name means “deep dungeon” in Armenian. Khor Virap is one of the most sacred and visited sites in Armenia due to the legend of Saint Gregory the Illuminator who was imprisoned for 13 years in Khor Virap’s dungeon before succeeding in the conversion of King Tiridates (Trdat) to Christianity and soon the country was the first officially Christian nation in the world by the first decades of the 4th century CE. The hill of Khor Virap and the territory adjoining it were the site of ancient Armenian capital city of Artashat, a major trading stop on the ancient Silk Road.

The Khor Virap monastery.
Interior of the Khor Virap monastery.
Beautiful Wall Painting at the Khor Virap monastery.

Historically, Mount Ararat and the Ararat plain have been the center of Armenia’s cultural heartland; Noah’s Ark is supposed to have landed on Mount Ararat after the floods and second life started from this place. Mount Ararat, which was historically part of Armenia, but now located in Turkey, is regarded by the Armenians as a symbol of their homeland. and is present on the Armenian national emblem.

The Khor Virap with Mount Ararat in backdrop.
The Khor Virap with Mount Ararat in backdrop.
I had most wonderful experience while walking through fields to take this picture; it was little hot, the farmer family taking break under shadow of their van, asked me to sit-down with them and offered me pastries and coffee. Asked me if I needed some water. So hospitable family, they had little but still wanted to share with the guest of their country. Once again It proved, people with less will share more with strangers.
Near Artashat and Khor Virap, you can see many storks and their nests, often on top of telephone poles. Can you guess, which on is the female Stork?

Noravank is a 13th-century Armenian monastery, located in a narrow gorge made by the Amaghu River, near the town of Yeghegnadzor. The monastery is best known for its two-storey Surb Astvatsatsin church, which grants access to the second floor by way of a narrow stone-made staircase jutting out from the face of building, one of the earliest examples of cantilever architecture.

The first sight of the Noravank Monastery.
The complex has several Khachkars (Armenian Cross-Stones) around the monastery.
Two-storey Surb Astvatsatsin church, which grants access to the second floor by way of a narrow stone-made staircase. The picture is not Photoshopped, I waited 40 minutes for this click, got less than 2 seconds without anyone in my frame.
Inside of 2nd floor of the Surb Astvatsatsin church, I love intricate carving on that door.
Inside the Surb Karapet Church, originally built in 1216–1227.
Inside out view from the Surb Karapet Church.
Interior of the Surb Karapet Church.
Surb Grigor Chapel
Noravank monastery on top of the hill behind me.
The Cutest church I have seen, this was one of the place in my bucket list before I came to Armenia.
On our way to the Noravank Monastery, Love that soviet era truck, always same colors pastel blue with white front grill.
A blooming globe thistle, love this wild flower.

After a wonderful day visiting beautiful monasteries, we came back to Yerevan in late afternoon.

By Window on The World

In May 2017, 23 days before I was going to complete 50 years, grabbed an opportunity and took an early retirement.. Picked up a backpack and traveling ever since.. Love to travel around the world, experience different culture, local cuisine & drinks .. and take pictures.. so far been to 108 countries and still counting...

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