Border Guards, Ruins, and a Dungeon; All before lunch!

Khor Virap Travel Blog

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Mt Ararat on the Turkish boarder

Leaving there we headed through the Ararat valley.  It is a flat barren area with poverty ridden towns dotting the road.  We saw people working in the fields and around their houses.  From every angle we had unobstructed views of Mt Ararat.  It was another clear, bright, and very sunny day.  Our next stop was at the Artashat Ruins.  It was a capital of Armenia in 2nd century BC. It is in a pretty rocky and dry area.   It has been partially excavated, but the work has stopped.  You can still wonder around and find pieces of pottery and other items if you wonder around.  You can also see the border of Turkey and the watch towers in the distance.  Again, just seeing Mt Ararat is incredible and inspiring.

Little Ararat
  We got a couple of group photos and then wondered.  We found a couple of pieces of pottery to bring home.

 

Moving on to Khor Virap Monastery we were set to see the dungeon where St Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 12 years. He was secretly fed by Christian women who dropped food down a hole to him each day.  We all stood in a jumbled group in a corner of the church.  There was no clear direction as to what to do or what we would see.  Our guide had pushed his way to the front and was trying to direct things. It was really hot and the air seemed thick with sweat.  I and a couple of others gave up and went outside.  Rob stuck it out and went down the ladder mounted in a narrow hole to the dungeon.  It turned out to be round room that is 4 meters diameter and 6 meters tall.

Mt. Ararat has two peaks, Great Ararat, at 16,853 ft (5,137 m) the highest point of elevation in Turkey, and Little Ararat, almost 13,000 ft (4,000 m).
  I was black with soot from candles.  There were a couple of niches used as alters.  To the Armenians it is a very holy spot.  Back outside we headed up the hill behind the monastery to get pictures of the valley and monastery.

 

We were all getting hungry at this point as it was now early afternoon.  We went to the village next to Khor Virap.  The owner (an artist) and his family hosted us.  The house they live in had been constructed the previous year by Habitat for Humanity.  Their old house which sat next door had been practically demolished.  The remains served as a barrier and parts of sheds.  They had many cactuses on the patio.  In the demolished section they had a coop with large chicks. The bathroom was an outhouse out behind the house.  It had a simple hole in the floor you squat over to use.  Just across form the outhouse in a pen by the house was a young pig.  Further behind the outhouse was a vegetable garden.

 

Lunch consisted on fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, an egg and peas dish, lavash bread, fried potatoes, and beef patties.  Everything was delicious and very fresh.  We all were able to eat well and enjoy.  After lunch we were all full and sat around chatting for a few minutes.  Nates took the opportunity for a cat nap.
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Mt Ararat on the Turkish boarder
Mt Ararat on the Turkish boarder
Little Ararat
Little Ararat
Mt. Ararat has two peaks, Great Ar…
Mt. Ararat has two peaks, Great A…
Appraoching Khor Virap
Appraoching Khor Virap
Great Ararat with Khor Virap in fr…
Great Ararat with Khor Virap in f…
Blue backed Mt Ararat
Blue backed Mt Ararat
Great Ararat
Great Ararat
Turkish boarder guard station
Turkish boarder guard station
Area around Artashat Ruins
Area around Artashat Ruins
Mt Ararat looming over Khor Virap
Mt Ararat looming over Khor Virap
Me with Mt Ararat in the background
Me with Mt Ararat in the background
Rob perched on a hill top
Rob perched on a hill top
Rob and Great Ararat
Rob and Great Ararat
Walking to Khor Virap
Walking to Khor Virap
TOur group - from left Gevorg, Rob…
TOur group - from left Gevorg, Ro…
Taking a breather at the Artashat …
Taking a breather at the Artashat…
Tour Group leaving Khor Virap - fr…
Tour Group leaving Khor Virap - f…
Me and Rob with Mt Ararat
Me and Rob with Mt Ararat
Tour group in from of Ararat - fro…
Tour group in from of Ararat - fr…
Rob and me looking for pottery pie…
Rob and me looking for pottery pi…
Me and ROb having a cuddle
Me and ROb having a cuddle
Nates with an angel on his shoulder
Nates with an angel on his shoulder
Driver checking out the mini bus
Driver checking out the mini bus
Rob pointing out the ad for a taxi
Rob pointing out the ad for a taxi
Building where the dugeon is locat…
Building where the dugeon is loca…
Iconin Khor Virap
Iconin Khor Virap
Waiting to go down the hole to the…
Waiting to go down the hole to th…
Entering the dungeon at Khor Virap
Entering the dungeon at Khor Virap
Shrine in the dungeon at Khor Virap
Shrine in the dungeon at Khor Virap
Rob in the Dungeon in Khor Virap
Rob in the Dungeon in Khor Virap
Recess in dungeon at Khor Virap
Recess in dungeon at Khor Virap
Nates with some stranger in the du…
Nates with some stranger in the d…
Church in Khor Virap
Church in Khor Virap
Crest marker on church at Khor Vir…
Crest marker on church at Khor Vi…
Women lighting candles in church a…
Women lighting candles in church …
Carving in wall of church at Khor …
Carving in wall of church at Khor…
Courtyard at Khor Virap
Courtyard at Khor Virap
Butchering meat at Khor Virap
Butchering meat at Khor Virap
Khor Virap Monastery from above
Khor Virap Monastery from above
Tour group - back from left Me, Ge…
Tour group - back from left Me, G…
Another view of Mt Ararat
Another view of Mt Ararat
Group in the desert landscape - fr…
Group in the desert landscape - f…
Mt Ararat from Khor Virap
Mt Ararat from Khor Virap
Khor Virap before Mt Ararat
Khor Virap before Mt Ararat
Gathered around the table for lunch
Gathered around the table for lunch
View of Mt Ararat from the local n…
View of Mt Ararat from the local …
The bathroom (outhouse) at the hou…
The bathroom (outhouse) at the ho…
This is not like the outhouses bac…
This is not like the outhouses ba…
Armenian Wilbur
Armenian "Wilbur"
Cat nap at lunch
Cat nap at lunch
Kitty saying goobbye with the rest…
Kitty saying goobbye with the res…
Khor Virap
photo by: delsol67