MB and daughter MB2 took a day out of their Georgia trip to head into neighbouring Armenia. The northern part of Armenia where MB & MB2 visited is a poor region, with a poor road infrastructure and architecture that harks back to the days of the Soviet Union. Tall featureless apartment blocks abound, giving a sense of depression to the locality, on the surface-level at least.
But when it comes to the matter of religion and churches, the archirecture is a whole different ballgame. In Christianity, Armenian is famous for becoming the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion, in the 3rd century. Today, many beautiful historical monastries from the very early days remain, very often set atop high elevations with breath-taking scenery all around.
On this trip, MB & MB2 visited the Georgian-designed monastery called Akhtala which sits in the former Georgian region of Armenia, and followed that with visits to two UNESCO world heritage monasteries at Haghpat and Sanahin. Tour guide Sophie pointed out the differences between Georgian Orthodox & Armenian Apostolic church architecture. The two primary differences are a very high-level alter in the Armenian church, which is approx. 5 ft (1.5M) above the church floor level; and an entrance hall or room, called the ‘Gavit’, which lies just inside the entrance door of the Armenian church, is full of stone-topped graves and leads to the main area of the church further inside.
MB & MB2 travelled to Armenia with Gamarjoba Georgia Tours company. Big thanks to guide Sophia who added greatly to the enjoyment of the whole trip. FYI – ‘Gamarjoba’ means ‘Hello’ in Georgian language!
Akhtala Monastry (Georgian Design):
HAGHPAT MONASTERY (Armenian design & UNESCO site):
SANAHIN MONASTERY (Armenian design & UNESCO site):