We liked the Syunik region a lot and unfortunately we cannot drive further. Our next destination is the Nature Parc around Lake Sevan.
Our advice: if you drive with a car prepared for kind of bad roads just leave the mainroad. We find little villages with the gas pipes over ground in all kind of wild constructions, getting taken over bij mainly Ladas or having to take over all generations of Kamaz trucks, both Russian brands. Here the very hospitality Armenians don’t speak English at all and our vocal translation app can’t translate in Armenians language – they all speak Russian – luckily also our app. That leads to a lot of funny and friendly conversations.
Live is hard and often only surviving. The average income in Armenia is told us is around 200 Euro per person per month. Sheeps, cows, fruit trees and wine are picturing the landscape.
We often look for small churches and lesser known monasteries which are located on beautiful hill sites – we stop there not for religious reasons but enjoying the view and the mystic old buildings, built of black basalt.
The city’s in general are not very colorful – the houses are mainly not plastered the roofs of corrugated iron sheets, sometimes a painted gate. A lot of old empty buildings left over from the Sowjet era.
On the top of the Selim / Vardenyats pass is an ancient caravanserai. The building, from around 1332, was used as a location for caravans moving from Europe to the East on the silk road to stay overnight. Very special to take a look on and in one – we are traveling on this famous silk road.
We are arriving at Lake Sevan and driving up the shoreline. Lake Sevan it is the biggest freshwater lake in the Caucasus region and is locatrd around 1900 m above sea level.
One of the special places we visit in Armenia is Noratus Cemetery, a historical graveyard from the 9th – 17th century, that has the largest cluster of khachkars in the world.
Khachkar or Cross-stone, Cultural World herritage, is an extraordinary phenomenon in Armenian Art.
Already in the 4th century, people used Khachkar as a separate monument or fastened on the walls of the churches, monasteries, chapels, sources, bridges and other historical buildings or on graveyards like here in Noratus – a whole field of Khachkar.
We find them all over the country., also in the 9th to 12th century Hayravank Monastery nearby Sevan, where we searching after a short visit our overnight place up the hill with a beautiful view over the lake.