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