Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 26, 2014 Garni and Geghard

With such beautiful weather and a whole week off of school, this was the perfect day to head off to see nearby Garni and Geghard.  The temple of Garni is a first century Hellenic temple.  It is the only pagan temple in Armenia that survived when the country converted to Christianity.  An earthquake damaged it in the 1600s, but it was restored in the early 1970s.  The building style is different from what is seen elsewhere in the country.

The temple is located in an area with nice views.

Ceiling detail

Been there, done that.  Ryan is ready to move on.

You can google information on it just as well as I can if you really want to know about it.

Less than 8 miles away is the Geghard Monastery. Combining it in the trip to Garni is a no-brainer. The main chapel was built in 1215.  The complex is partially carved out of the mountain and was pretty cool to see.  You can google it if you want all of the details and better pictures.

Looking down from the path leading up from parking to the monastery.

Me with my sweeties

This is detail inside the first of the rock-cut chambers.

Spring water came from this wall and flowed from a small pool across the room.

Many people were lighting candles and praying in the first room we entered.

Justin was not too happy about being up there.

Art class field trip?

 The boys were pretty good sports.  They are not particularly interested in old buildings.  I told them that it was something that I wanted to see and that it made sense to see it while we lived in Armenia and it was so close.  I told them that once we move we probably won't ever be back here.  Justin agreed that it made sense to see this stuff now while it didn't cost us a lot of money to travel.  Plus it only wasted half of their nine days off from school.
I had to take a picture before we ate this delicious sweet bread.  Not sure if 1000 drams ($2.50 US) was a rip-off
or not.  I think it was worth every penny.
We got some of the delicious sweet bread that was being sold along the walk up to the monastery.The boys were given the option of going straight home or stopping in the city for lunch.  The vote was to eat bread in the car and just go home.  The 28 miles took us about an hour an a half.  The road conditions leave much to be desired in places and for some reason the traffic through Yerevan was insane.  The boys both fell asleep in the car.  They haven't done that in a long time.  

Saturday, October 04, 2014

October 2-October 4, 2014

The boys had a couple of days off of school so we decided to go and see a few things here in Armenia.  Our time is quickly going by and it would be embarrassing if we left the country without seeing anything.  We first went to Khor Virap, less than 400 feet from the border with Turkey.  This is one of the most famous sites in Armenia, where St. Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 13 or so years before converting the king (and the country) to Christianity. Here is a link to more information if you are interested:
There isn't a lot to see, but it is a beautiful area and we enjoyed walking around both inside the walls and outside.
Evidently Rob was walking behind me in this shot.

View from up the path a little way.

Surrounding area.  The area on the left is a cemetery.
 There are a couple of places you can climb down into underground chambers.  I went down one which had really rough stairs and then a little ledge and then a ladder type thing.  It was not a comfortable fit to get up and down.  Ryan wanted to go with me, but he didn't really have the leg span to be able to reach.  I took a picture once I got to the bottom to show what it looked like.
Here I am trying to get up and out of this horrible hole.

Not too big or exciting.
I thought this was the place St. Gregory had been.  Evidently that was the other hole that I did not enter. It was a round manhole sized opening with a rather scary ladder going down into darkness. The previous link has a picture of what it was like.  It seems to be larger, but I still wouldn't want to spend 13 years in there with all sorts of creepy crawlies.

A thing by the door.  I am guessing St. Gregory, but who knows.
(I would make the best tour guide!)

A lot of the walls had writing on them.  I am sure that you can make it out. :)

Here are my cuties by the main entrance in.
As opposed to the main entrance out?  I suppose obviously an entrance is for going in.
This is also the main exit.  It is for going out. :)
Now of course there are tour buses and people from all over coming to see this and other major sites on their tour of Armenia.  Some are old, some are young.  Some have packs and bikes and are roughing it.  Some are all dressed up.  This guy was my favorite though.  I mean, check out that mustache.  I really wanted to point it out to my boys.  It made me think of some Mario villain or something.  I was so excited when I saw him coming out of the chapel and I could get this shot while making it look like I was getting the building.

Ryan on the way back down.
Ryan and I walked over to the cemetery for a little while.  Justin and Rob waited for us because Justin had no interest.  It was really a poorly kept area in my opinion, which I found odd as many of the graves were recent.  This isn't some old abandoned cemetery or anything.  What I found interesting though was the pictures that many of the stones had on them.  I think it is nice to see a picture of what the person looked like.