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Ashtarak is a small city in Central Armenia.

Get in[edit]

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

  • Surb Sarkis Church, (The church is situated at a promontory overlooking the Kasagh River Gorge), [1]. S. Sarkis was supposedly built in the 19th century upon older foundations. It looks to be a new church because of extensive restoration work done recently, but a small number of the older original stones carved with decorative relief and inscriptions (replaced with new stone and now sitting next to the foundation of the building) show its age to be much older. It offers a fine view to the three churches of Tsiranavor, Spitakavor, and Karmravor  edit
  • Karmravor Church, ((From the river) Take the Karmravor road across the Ashtarak Bridge and follow the road up the hill until it reaches the walled church to the right. A large cemetery is further east), [2]. Also known as Surb Astvatsatsin, the church was built in the 7th c. and features a single reddish clay tile domed roof (hence the name Tsiranavor, which means "reddish"). It is a small church but quite interesting.  edit
  • Spitakavor Church, (Located along the Kasagh River, at the top of the gorge), [3]. Spitakavor meaning "whitish" is a triple-aisled basilica built in the 5th-6th centuries (most likely between 540-557). The front façade is whitewashed and has a lengthy inscription. Walls remain but the roof has since collapsed. Note: Some confusion about the name of the churches of Spitakavor and Tsiranavor has seemed to have occurred due to the misplacement of the Russian markers located inside the two structures.  edit
  • Tsiranavor Church, (Located down the street south two houses and to the left where it dead-ends), [4]. Tsiranavor meaning "apricotish" is a small church built between the 13th to 14th centuries. Its roof has since collapsed, but walls remain.  edit
  • Surb Mariné Church, (Located more central to the town), [5]. S. Mariane was built in the year 1271 or according to some sources 1281. It has a beatiful umbrella dome that rests above.  edit
  • Ashtarak Bridge, (It is located directly below the church of S. Sarkis, at the point where the Karmravor road crosses the Kasagh River). The reddish stone arch bridge was built in 1664, and features two equal sized smaller pointed arches on either side of a larger central pointed arch.  edit
  • Kasagh River Gorge Monuments, [6].  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

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Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Ashtaraki Dzor Restaurant Complex - well worth a stop for a reasonably priced meal and nighttime entertainment show, all outdoors, and long popular with Armenians.

Drink[edit][add listing]

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Get out[edit]

  • A little down the river is Oshakan Village, where the creator of the Armenian alphabet, Mesrob Mashtots, is buried in the village church.
  • Just north along the river (and highway) is Mughni, with an interesting church where alternating colors of stone form black and red bands around the cupola.
  • Further north is Ohanavan village with Hovhannavank Monastery. This restored monastery is perched atop the cliffs and has a great view of Mt. Ara.
  • Saghmosavank Monastery, just east of Artashavan village shares the same great views of the gorge and Mt. Ara. You can hike from one to the other in the gorge. Great architecture, carvings, details.
  • Much further north is the town of Aparan, whose inhabitants are the butt of jokes which pin them as not the brightest folk. The very ancient, black Kasagh basilica church, just a few meters from the main highway is worth dropping into on your way to Lori Marz.

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