Tour around Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh
About the journey
I really enjoyed short visit of Armenia at the end of 2010 and when Austrian Airlines rolled out offer of return tickets from Prague to Yerevan for half of the usual fare, it was easy to decide and go again. This time we went in a couple and for over a week - apart Yerevan, we wanted to see south of the country and include a visit of Nagorno Karabakh, which is de-facto independent state, but according international law being part of Azerbaijan. I also had climb on the highest mountain in Armenia - Aragats, on the plan.

Countries visited: Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh (de-facto) / Azerbaijan (de-iure)
Travelperiod: 5/2011
Photoblog
Republic Square in Yerevan
Republic Square in Yerevan
Little Ararat (3925m) seen during ride to Goris
Little Ararat (3925m) seen during ride to Goris

After a very early morning arrival and bit late wake up, we sorted out visas to Nagorno Karabakh and spent the rest of the day wandering around Yerevan sights. Next day then follows ride in a shared taxi to the south of the country.

wineyards around Areni
wineyards around Areni
driving up to Vorotan Pass
driving up to Vorotan Pass

At half past 3 in the afternoon we arrived to Khachik B&B guesthouse in Goris. The owner is awaiting us, we get a very nice room, receive some basic info about Goris and setting up a trip to Nagorno Karabakh for the next day.

panorama of Goris from Khachik B&B terrace
panorama of Goris from Khachik B&B terrace
church in Goris
church in Goris

We are picked by old Lada (can't imagine going in a more suitable car for such a trip) and head towards Nagorno Karabakh. In less than an hour of driving over mountains, we stop at checkpoint on bridge over the Aghavno river, which marks border between Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh (but de iure we are entering Azerbaijan, since Nagorno Karabakh is not internationally recognized as a souvereign state).

Lacin corridor - Berdzor
Lacin corridor - Berdzor
arriving to Stepanakert
arriving to Stepanakert

In Stepanakert we first stopped to see Monument Papik u Tatik (also called We Are Our Mountains), which is a statue of an old man and woman from Karabakh mountains.

Papik u Tatik (We Are Our Mountains) Monument near Stepanakert
Papik u Tatik (We Are Our Mountains) Monument near Stepanakert
Shoushi
Shoushi

Later we visited Nagorno Karabakh museum and wandered around city centre. On the way back to Armenia we yet made a short stop in Shoushi, where the 1990's war has still visible footprints.

cave town Khndzoresk
cave town Khndzoresk
evening on the main street in Goris
evening on the main street in Goris

Back in Armenia we visit Khndzoresk cave town and late in the afternoon we are back in Goris. In the evening we get a dinner prepared by Mr. Khachik's wife - all fresh, home made, real bio vegetable from house garden. Raspberry lemonade with dozens of raspberries leached inside. All natural and delicious.

view of the Vorotan River Gorge from Halidzor - Tatev cablecar (380m height !)
view of the Vorotan River Gorge from Halidzor - Tatev cablecar (380m height !)
Tatev monastery
Tatev monastery

Next day morning we are driven to Halidzor village and from there we take a new cable car to Tatev Monastery. The ride is breathtaking as the gondola virtually flies more than 380 metres above earth surface - bottom of Vorotan River Canyon. Tatev monastery is a wonderful 9th century structure and we enjoy visit without any other tourists. Then we walk to Tatev village and follow a road down to Satan's bridge, where Gaghig waits for us and drives us back to Goris.

Vorotan River Canyon (the dot in photo upper part is the cable car)
Vorotan River Canyon (the dot in photo upper part is the cable car)
iranian trucks on the way back to Yerevan
iranian trucks on the way back to Yerevan

Back in Goris we arranged transport to Yerevan, where we arrive in the evening.

hiking on Mount Aragats
hiking on Mount Aragats
descending to Byurakan village
descending to Byurakan village

Next day i headed to do some hiking on Mount Aragats and Bodo was relaxing in Yerevan.

going on a trip to Lake Sevan and Dilijan
going on a trip to Lake Sevan and Dilijan
Sevanavank
Sevanavank

We wanted to spend evening somewhere out, but Yana and Arthur (hostel owners) invited us for borsch soup and armenian cognac Ararat and we ended up chatting with them till late in the night. Following day we went with them and their 2 kids on a fullday trip to Sevanavank Monastery (dej√° vu for me), Haghartsin Monastery and Dilijan.

on the road to Dilijan
on the road to Dilijan

Back in Yerevan, we did some last shopping (vodka!) and at 1AM a taxi drives us to the airport and we get safely back home.
To sum it up - Armenia is a great country and i will for sure come back one day! Recommending you pay it a visit as well.

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