Thursday, September 27, 2012


Sights & Sites
Gandzasar Monastery – Vank;; Gandzasar means “treasure” hilltop or mountain in Armenian; monastery holds relics believed to belong to St. John “Baptist” and St. Zechariah (his father); catholicoi residence for Aghvank Catholicosate (Armenian Apostolic Church) from about 1400-1816; 1st mentioned in 10th Century; construction began in 1216, under Armenian Khachen Prince Hasan-Jalal Dawla’s patronage; completed 1238; dome’s drum has exquisite bas-reliefs depict Crucifixion, Adam and Eve, and 2 ministers holding church model above their heads (as offering to God); among Armenian architecture’s masterpieces.

Sights & Sites
Ghazanchetsots Cathedral – Ghazanchetsots Street;; built between 1868-1887; white limestone facade, architect Simon Ter-Hakobyan intending it resemble Etchmiadzin Cathedral; in front of west entrance, freestanding 3-story bell tower, constructed in 1858; in 1998 re-consecrated as church, and now serves as Armenian Apostolic Church’s Diocese of Artsakh’s headquarters and main cathedral.

Sos (includes Martuni)
Sights & Sites
Amaras Monastery – Martuni;; among world’s oldest Christian sites; St. Gregory “Illuminator” left Armenia for Aghvank to found Amaras Monastery at 4th Century’s start; monastery plundered in 14th Century by Mongols (1387, during Tamerlane’s invasion) and demolished again in 16th Century; in 19th Century, monastery served as Russian imperial troops’ frontier fortress; Armenian Apostolic Church reclaimed monastery in 1848 and still survives as 3-nave basilica constructed from bright white stone.

YEREVAN (includes Artashat, Echmiadzin, Karahunj, Kotayk & Sisian)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Club – 40 Tumanyan Street; 011-374-10-531-361;; tea room, when not too smoky, great place to sit on bean bag and chat.
Golden Tulip Hotel Yerevan – 14 Abovian; 011-374-10-591-600;
Hotel Latar – 58 5th Street (Silikyan District); 011-374-10-380-711;
Tufenkian Avan Villa Yerevan – 16 13th Street; 011-374-10-655-877;
Club – 40 Tumanyan Street; 011-374-10-531-361;; Western Armenian dishes, including manti, su borek, and midia dolma; underground space very hip; thin crust pizzas are very filling.
Dolmama – 10 Pushkin Street; 011-374-810-561-354;; fusion Armenian-World cuisine; outdoor seating is experience of old courtyards that filled central Yerevan in past.
Rossini – 14 Abovian (at Golden Tulip Hotel Yerevan); 011-374-10-591-608;; Armenian-European.
Dalan Gallery – 12 Abovyan Street (Abovyan); 011-374-553-307;; contemporary art.
Sights & Sites
Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art – 1/3 Pavstos Biuzand Boulevard; 011-374-10-568-225;; founded in 1992 by Sonia Balassanian (New York-based artist and poet) just after Soviet Union’s collapse and Newly Independent State (NIS) of Republic of Armenia’s creation; organization co-founded by Edward Balassanian, architect and urban planner; mission is Armenian contemporary art’s discovery, introduction, and promotion.
Echmiadzin Cathedral & Museum – Komitas Square (Echmiadzin); 011-374-10-517-110;; founded in 303 by St. Gregory Illuminator (Lousavoritch); built on pre-Christian temple foundations in Vagharshapat (former name).
Geghard Monastery – Geghard Monastery Road (Kotayk, near Goght); contains numerous churches and tombs, most cut into rock, set into landscape of great natural beauty, surrounded by towering cliffs at Azat Valley entrance.
Khor Virap Monastery – near Artashat;; notable pilgrimage site; chapel initially built in 642 at this site; over centuries, repeatedly rebuilt; Armenia’s most visited pilgrimage site.
Modern Art Museum – 7 Mesrop Mashtots Poghota; 011-374-10-535-359;; works from 1970s on.
Museum of Sergei Parajanov – Dzoragiugh Ethnographic Center, Boulevards 15 & 16; 011-374-10-538-473;; museum dedicated to memory Georgian-born, Armenian film director and artist; nearly all his film projects and plans from 1965-1973 banned, closed, and/or scrapped by Soviet film administration, both local (in Kiev and Yerevan) and federal (infamous Goskino), almost without discussion until finally arrested in late 1973 on briber, homosexuality, and rape charges; imprisoned until 1977; even after his release (arrested for 3rd and last time in 1982), persona non grata in Soviet cinema; in mid-1980s, when political climate started to relax, resumed directing.
State Theater of Young Spectator – 3 Moskovian Street; 011-374-10-563-040.
Zorats Karer – Bagratuniats Street (Karahunj, Syunik District, near Sisian);; among world’s most ancient megalithic construction.

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