|Artashat is a city in Central Armenia. This small town is more like an overgrown village, with little to offer in terms of tourist sites and infrastructure. The only popular tourist site in the general area is Khor Virap Monastery. A very distant second are the ruins of Dvin, an ancient capital of Armenia.
Khor Virap Monastery and Mt. Ararat
Vans (called marshutni) depart from Yerevan to Artashat regularly throughout the day. Taxis in Yerevan are usually happy to take you there for 100 drams (33 cents US per km). Day tours from Yerevan are offered by some companies by van with other tourists, including guide and sometimes lunch which include the most popular destination of the area, Khor Virap (often combined with the much further Noravank in Southern Armenia or other sites).
Foot, bike, taxi.
- Surb Hovhannes Church, (Within the modern city of Artashat between the M-2 and H-8 highways). The newly built church of Surb Hovhannes has been under construction since 2000 with many interruptions, and is expected to be completed in 2012. In September 2009 a dome-blessing ceremony was conducted by the supreme Catholicos of all Armenians, where crosses were placed on the top of the domes. If the workers are outside, do not be shy to ask to see the church. They are very proud of their work and will gladly give a tour and take you up to the top if they have a moment. edit
- Khor Virap Monastery, (45 minutes south of Yerevan, before Vedi and Ararat villages). Khor Virap is named after the "deep pit" that St. Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned in over 1,700 years ago before curing the king of a sickness and converting him, and the country to Christianity. You can climb down the pit to this day, down a long metal ladder. The fortified monastery has a stunning view of Mt. Ararat, so go early in the morning on the clearest day you can for the unforgettable view, otherwise haze usually sets in. edit
- Ancient ruins of Artashat, (Follow directions as above to Khor Virap Monastery. A trail follows south of the complex and south of the ridge adjacent to the monastery and leads west to the foundations of what was once the ancient city). Along your walk you will undoubtedly be stopped by a young man who guards the area from looters. He rides a bicycle and is friendly as long as you are not looting the area of antiquities. Tell him "Karank nayank Artashati averakner?", meaning "May we see the ancient ruins of Artashat?" He will most likely take you there. The ruins of Artashat cover approximately the same area of land as the walled monastery of Khor Virap. Foundations remain of dwellings and other structures. There are also the interesting remains of a mosaic found in the bathhouse there. edit
- Dvin ruins excavations, (Heading south from Yerevan on the H-9 highway, turn left (NE) on the H-9 highway just past Azatavan and Bagramyan and head straight towards Dvin. The ruins are actually not located in the modern village of Dvin, but between modern Hnaberd (just off the main road through Hnaberd) and Verin Dvin, Armenia). The ruins at the entrance include an impressive capital or two and numerous bases, the foundations of the 4th-7th c. Cathedral of S. Grigor, other foundations, some khachkars and other fragments of structures that once stood at the site. Upon the large hill adjacent, was where a palace and citadel were once located. All that remains now are some portions of decomposing mudbrick walls with rough stone foundations. A small museum with artifacts excavated at the site sits between the entrance and the citadel. South of Dvin about one kilometer are the remains of a large 5th c. market building. edit
Artashat is only about half and hour from Yerevan. Accommodations are best arranged in Yerevan.
Vans and taxis are available from Artashat to Yerevan. Along the highway by Artashat to Yerevan you can catch vans and buses heading to Yerevan, or even private cars.