Photographs. Ruins of Horomayr Monastery

November Highlands: Hiking to Horomayr Monastery

The architectural complex of Saint Nshan monastery of Horomayr, first mentioned in the 7th century, consists of two parts – the lower one situated on the cliffs of the Debed canyon, and the upper one on the vast plateu above. The monastery derives its name from the main church of the lower part – the Saint Nshan, built in 1187 by princes Zakare and Ivane. Its bell-tower was built later in 1290. Other structures of the lower part of the complex are the ruins of Saint Arakyal chapel (1216), a small chapel built in 1201, to the north is the square-schemed chapel built in 1301. The cemetery of the monastery with cross-stones and tombs dating back to 13th century is spread around the complex.
The ruins of monastery of Horomayr, Lori province, Armenia

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Photographs. Ruins of Bardzrakash Saint Gregory Monastery: Part Two

Photographs. Ruins of Bardzrakash Saint Gregory Monastery: Part One

Built throughout the 10th-13th centuries, this monastic complex was named after the first patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Saint Gregory the Illuminator who baptised Armenia in 301 CE. The remains of the monastery include the Church of St. Gregory – a vaulted hall type of church built in the 10th century, the three-nave basilica of Sourb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) built in 1221 by the son of Prince Sargis Mamikonyan, Marzpan, its narthex with carved reliefs (1247), the Chapel of Sourb Harutyun (Holy Ressurection) built in 1234 by Hovhannes Vardapet (vardaped is a well-educated archimandrite who holds a Doctorate of Theology) and his brother, and the Mamikonians’ (an aristocratic Armenian dynasty) cemetery.
Ruins of Bardzrakash Saint Gregory Monastery, Dsegh village, Lori province, Armenia

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Photographs. Ruins of Bardzrakash Saint Gregory Monastery: Part One

We learn about the Bardzrakash Saint Gregory monastery from our hosts at Patvakan B&B in the village of Dsegh. So, on the second day of our journey we follow the muddy road to the outskirts of the village until we reach a rusty sign indicating the direction to the ruins of the monastery. A narrow path leads us down into the forest. Dry leaves rustle underfoot. Not long after we notice the monastery behind the trees. Built throughout the 10th-13th centuries, this monastic complex was named after the first patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Saint Gregory the Illuminator who baptised Armenia in 301 CE. The remains of the monastery include the Church of St. Gregory – a vaulted hall type of church built in the 10th century, the three-nave basilica of Sourb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) built in 1221 by the son of Prince Sargis Mamikonyan, Marzpan, its narthex with carved reliefs (1247), the Chapel of Sourb Harutyun (Holy Resurrection) built in 1234 by Hovhannes Vardapet (vardaped is a well-educated archimandrite who holds a Doctorate of Theology) and his brother, and the Mamikonians’ (an aristocratic Armenian dynasty) cemetery.
Ruins of Bardzrakash Saint Gregory Monastery, Dsegh village, Lori province, Armenia

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November Highlands: Hiking to Horomayr Monastery

Part One: Hitchhiking from Yerevan to Dsegh
Part Two: Hiking from Dsegh to Bardzrakash Monastery
Photographs. Ruins of Forty Infants Monastery

I can’t help the feeling of unease that fills me up as the sun slowly sets down. Here we are on the road somewhere between the cities of Vanadzor and Alaverdi in the Lori province of Armenia. And above us, sitting on the cliffs, are the ruins of the Horomayr monastery. We have two options to get there: either climb up the steep side of the canyon right from the road, or get to the nearby village of Odzun first, and then walk down to the ruins from there. We end up choosing the first for it also seems more interesting and less complicated. What worries me is that we may not manage to come down to the road before it gets dark. But Nane seems confident, and so I decide to let go of my worries and follow her.
Hiking in Debed canyon, Lori province, Armenia

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November Highlands: Hiking from Dsegh to Bardzrakash Monastery

Part One: Hitchhiking from Yerevan to Dsegh

By the time we leave our hosts to continue our journey, the villagers of Dsegh are already busy with the daily routine, chasing their cows down the muddy roads and out into the fields, casting occasional strange looks at us. We walk through the village to its western side that faces the Debed canyon. One can see the surrounding landscapes from here, the Debed river, the villages that reside on the other side of the canyon, the forests and the mountains. A 30-minute steep descent from here takes us to the ruins of the 13th century Forty Infants church.
Landscape view over the Debed canyon, Lori Province, Armenia

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