Country side in the Kotayk region
This morning we had a reason to get up and get going, a tour to see the Lori region around Dilijan with barbecue on the river, and a stop at Lake Sevan on the way back. We were up and ready to leave at 9:00. We met our guide, Gevorg, was waiting for us with the driver. We jumped in the mini-bus and were off.
The day was just perfect!!! The sky was clear and bright blue with the sun shining brightly. We could literally see for miles. As we made our way out of Yerevan, Gevorg the guide was telling us little stores and jokes.
It was very entertaining. As we got further away from the city Mt Ararat came into view was breathtaking. I was in awe as this is one sight that I have always wanted to see and having it before me was almost too much. It is larger than life and there is so much history that has happened on and around it. I could just feel its energy. Gevorg told us we were lucky because the Turkish have a machine that captures clouds and puts them around the mountain. Today was Saturday; they weren’t working, so it was clear. Seeing peaks rise high into the sky with nothing else around them is wondrous. Even with the day being so clear it still had a slight haze to it.
We drove through the Kotayk region. It is an area of sweeping hills with green grass and few trees. One thing that is very clear is that the roads are better than in Georgia.
There are a few road signs, but not very good ones. They point in a direction, but do not give a distance. As we drove through Rob noticed many building and houses that were started but then it looked like they stopped. When we asked about this Gevorg told us that the Armenian is a place where fortunes change quickly (one day you are up and the next down). People start a house and then they are down so it is still theirs, but they can not afford to finish it.
Through the roof at Goshavank
Driving past Lake Sevan we saw people selling fish a long the side of the road. There were stands in old metal buildings. Because the fish population has declined so much it is illegal to catch and sell the fish in Yerevan. The authorities were stopping people taking the fish into Yerevan so the people of the Sevan area found a way around it.
For a while, they arrange a funeral procession because those cars would not be stopped and searched. After a few days of funerals the authorities realized that a lot of people were dieing in Sevan and being taken to Yerevan. They stopped a procession and discovered the cars were full of fish, which stopped that. The people of Sevan have found a way to get the fish to Yerevan, but the authorities haven’t figured out how yet.
Capital detail in Goshavank
We passed through a 5 kilometer tunnel and when we came out it was like a different place. The geography had changed from the rolling plain hills to a heavily forested mountainous area. They call it the Switzerland of Armenia. Rob said it reminded him of where he grew up in the Smokey Mountains.
Roads wound us up and down the lush green mountains to Dilijan. During the Soviet era this was a resort town for artist and engineers. The only thing there is a forest. We had to stop in the town of Dilijan to purchase meat for the barbecue later. This is supposed to be the best meat around because the people let the pig go and roam the woods wild to forage. Unfortunately, the places to buy it on the way up didn’t have any.
Strolling in Dilijan
We continued up more rural roads to the Goshavank It is located on a hill with dramatic views of the surrounding area. Armenian churches are fairly plain, any details are carved into the stones. Because paper was too easy to loose or destroy they carved the really important things into the walls of the church.
They also carved many crosses. I have never seen so many different crosses in one place……quite unique. They could represent money collected for a cause, the size of the congregation, and as a protection for the church. This particular church was had an outer room for people who are not baptized while the main room with the alter is for the baptized people. Armenian churches are built in the shape of a cross with a central spire. One of the ruined buildings that had been used as a classroom was build of stones from a mid-evil fortress. The library which was said to have had 15,000 items was still black from where they were burned centuries ago. We wondered around and chatted about the area and the monastery.
Roof planter at Goshavank? Shoud that be there?