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Written by sophie et jeremy   
Thursday, 01 October 2015

We enter Armenia through the deep and green Debed canyon without any particular hassle except the 60€ we are asked by the customs for the temporary importation of the car (or anything else).

debed canyon debed canyon

Our first visits, Haghpat and Sanahin monasteries give us the trend : souvenir sellers talk to us in french and we see tourists buses everywhere. There are armenians visitors too, and jeremy is being applauded by a crowd of policemen after passing an improvised climbing wall on a monastery what all of them failed.

Hagpat 1 Hagpat 1 Hagpat 2 Hagpat 2

Sanahin Sanahin

We take a detour to the highs of the canyon to spend the night (and encounter a hail storm), and later the next day we got lost on very rough roads but offering very rewarding views of the valleys.

camping in armenia camping in armenia

above Debed canyon 1 above Debed canyon 1 above Debed canyon 2 above Debed canyon 2

After a short stop at Sevanavank monastery, overlooking Sevan lake, we make another short stop at Yerevan in order to get our visa to Nagorno Karabakh (in a record breaking 30 minutes).

Sevanavank Sevanavank

The drive south follows the border with Turkey and give a direct view on mount Ararat, lost symbol of Armenia, now on the other side of the border. Some monasteries top up our counter, including Noravank, nested at the end of a spectacular gorge, and Khor Virap, located at the foot of mount Ararat.

Ararat Ararat

Noravank Noravank Khor virap Khor virap

south of yerevan 1 south of yerevan 1 south of yerevan 2 south of yerevan 2

During a stop at the ruins of Selim caravansary, at the top of a pass, we meet a polish couple, living in Georgia, fans of our 4WD. We share advices and a meal offered by a group of armenians whom none of us knew 5 minutes before.

selim caravanserail selim caravanserail around selim caravanserail 1 around selim caravanserail 1

around selim caravanserail 2 around selim caravanserail 2

After that, we drive few kilometers of one of the worst track, categorized as a secondary road by our map. It seemed to us that the armenian road network is the worse of Caucasus! The next day, the GPS sends us to a muddy cow track where the car skids a lot, what amuses Jeremy and scares Sophie, before arriving at Tatev monastery, fortified at the top of cliff. On the way we see a couple of abandoned churches and the interesting site of Zorats Karer, sort of a local Stonehenge.

tatev monastery tatev monastery zorats karer zorats karer

Finally, we arrive at Goris, surrounded by hills, with its troglodyte old city. We meet there one of Sophie's workmates, who invites us for dinner in the french-armenian hospital. The dinner is home made, so is the blackberry liquor...

goris old city goris old city