Areni Cave

Located 120km from Yerevan in Vayots Dzor province, at the mouth of the Noravank Gorge lies a cave which is an Early Bronze Age ritual site and settlement. Here the oldest winery in the world 6,100 year old  winery was discovered in 2007. The winery consists of fermentation vats, a wine press, storage jars, pottery sherds, large storage containers, many of which held well-preserved wheat, barley, and apricots, as well as other edible plants. In addition to these discoveries, grape seeds, remains of pressed grapes, prunes, walnuts, and desiccated vines were found. During 2007-2008 excavations the oldest leather shoe known in the world, the 5,500 year old shoe was discovered in the same cave. Later, in 2011 the discovery of a straw skirt dating to 3,900 years BC was reported. Therefore, if you want to travel through the immemorial times and be acquainted with the world famous artifacts, this journey waits for you. At the entrance to the village, right at the road on the left side a private small wine factory “Areni” is located, where you can visit to get acquainted with the winemaking process,have degustation of local wines and collect not only historical valuable memories, but also take with you the real “taste” of Armenian culture.

Khndzoresk

There would hardly be anyone who would not agree with the statement that Armenia is more attractive and beautiful with its undiscovered miracles. Khndzoresk village, located in the South-East of Armenia, in Syunik, 249km far from Yerevan city, is not an exception. Khndzoresk is famous for its ancient cave dwellings, which have been used up to the 1950s. From ancient times people lived in these rocky hills, constructing artificial shelters and places for food storage. According to the legend, Khndzoresk, being situated in the deep canyon, was called “Khor Dzor” (“Deep Canyon”) or “Khordzoresk”, which was later renamed as “Khndzoresk”. Another breathtaking wonder is the 160-meter long swinging bridge of Khndzoresk, which was opened thanks to the efforts of Khndzoresk residents. The 160-meter long bridge, 36 meters above the ground connects the two sides of the village, the so-called old and new Khndzoresk. The view of the gorge from the bridge is splendid and it’s better to see it once than to hear about it a thousand times.

Karaunj

In Armenia, there are several historical monuments that display actual evidence of the history of the Armenian nation and culture. One of them is the megalithic complex Karaunj or “Zorats-Karer” . This is a prehistoric complex located in Armenia, not far from the city of Sisian. This famous megalithic structure consists of hundreds of vertically arranged two-meter stones or menhirs that are stretched from the south to the north. Armenians call this the “Armenian Stonehenge”.

Until now, the age of this ancient monument is unknown. The opinions of scientists on this issue have differed. Some say that Karaunj was built not later than the 3rd millennium BC, and they also believe that the building was erected in the 4th millennium BC, while others came to the conclusion that the age of the complex is about 7500 years. But regardless of the age, Zorats-Karer impresses with its appearance: on the plateau among the high mountains, 300 vertical megaliths rise. The stones are arranged in the form of two rings. Located in the centre of the ring contains 40 stones that form an ellipse. There are several assumptions over the cult or astronomical purpose of the monument.

In total, four expeditions were undertaken to study these mysterious stones. As a result of the study, scientists came to the conclusion that Karaunj is at least not younger than Stonehenge or the Egyptian pyramids. They first concluded that Zorats-Karer is an ancient observatory because the holes in the stones allow us to make fairly accurate calculations and correspond to the position of the stars in the sky. Secondly they concluded that it was the temple of the sun god Ara. The foregoing premises about the cult significance of the monument is that it served as a burial and sanctuary, since a stone box and a burial place were found in the mound.

Noratus

Noratus is an ancient Armenian village located in the region of Gegharkunik, near the Lake Sevan, 90 km North of Yerevan. The village is famous for its cemetery of cross-stones (“khachkar” in Armenian), the largest cluster of khachkars in Armenia now days. The cemetery is spread over a 7 hectare field containing almost a thousand khachkars each of them depicting unique ornamentation. Armenian khachkar is a carved, memorial stele bearing a cross, having a sacred meaning. It is often decorated with additional motifs such as rosettes, interlaces, botanical motifs and some scenes. They were believed to save people’s souls. There’s a wonderful legend related to the khachkars of Noratus. The legend says that during the invasions of Tamerlane (Timur Lenk) the villagers dressed the cross-stone to make them look like real soldiers. And it worked.

Amberd Fortress

Amberd, the largest standing fortress in Armenia, is located on the southern slopes of Mount Aragats (the highest peak in Armenia), situated 52km away from the capital city Yerevan, in the Aragatsotn province. The name translates as “the fortress in the clouds”. The fortress and some sections of the walls were constructed in the 7th century by the noble family of Kamsarakan. In the 10th century, it was rebuilt by Vahram Pahlavuni prince, and there is a church built in the 11th century.  During the following period, the fortress became the military defense center of the Pahlavuni and Bagratuni kingdoms, as well as the summer residence of the rulers. Archaeological research in the fortress of Amberd discovered some mysteries from its past. During the excavations, numerous underground walkways leading to rivers were found. It is now known that there used to be a water-supply system. But the most interesting finding in Amberd was Armenian «lavash» national flatbread, dating back to the 12th century.

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