Armenia

Lori Province

Sanahin Monastery is an Armenian monastery founded in the 10th century in the Lori Province of Armenia. The name Sanahin literally translates from Armenian as "this one is older than that one", presumably representing a claim to having an older monastery than the neighbouring Haghpat Monastery. The two villages and their monasteries are similar in many ways, and lie in plain view of each other on a dissected plateau formation, separated by a deep "crack" formed by a small river flowing into the Debed river. As with Haghpat, Sanahin is frequented by an increasing number of tourists, due to its recent inclusion on the itineraries of numerous Armenian tour agencies, the beauty of its monastery complex matching that of Haghpat's. The complex belongs to the Armenian Apostolic Church with numerous khachkars (stones with elaborate engravings representing a cross) and bishopgravesites scattered throughout it.
Haghpat (Armenian: Հաղպատ) is a village in the Lori Province of Armenia, located near the city of Alaverdi and the state border with Georgia. It is notable for Haghpat Monastery, a religious complex founded in the 10th century and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List along with monasteries in nearby Sanahin. The monastery is an outstanding and magnificent example of medieval Armenian architecture that has been attracting increasing numbers of tourists. Haghpat Monastery is listed among the UNESCO World Heritage List (1996). The village itself receives little benefit from these tourists and remains impoverished, with the majority of its residents keeping livestock and growing vegetables for food. Some residents are able to find work in the city of Alaverdi, about 10 km from Haghpat, while others gather berries (mainly blackberries and Cornelian cherry dogwood) from the nearby forests and sell them. Water is gathered from the numerous mountain springs, which are abundant in the area. The village lies on a dissected plateau, a large flat area dissected by deep "cracks" formed by rivers, including the river Debed. The villages of Sanahin and Akner, as well as a part of Alaverdi, lie in plain view on neighbouring sections of the plateau, however a steep and long descent to and ascent from the river is required to travel to them.
The Stepanavan Dendropark (also called Sojut) is an arboretum located near Gyulagarak village, Armenia's Lori province (about 85 km north of Yerevan). It was established in 1933 by Polish engineer-forester Edmon Leonovich. The arboretum is 35 ha in total of which 17.5 ha consist of natural forest and 15 ha of ornamental trees. This collection expanded along the newly constructed footpaths and vistas which began to reach into the natural forest and is thought to be the first place in the Transcaucasus, where a natural forest landscape had been reshaped into a Forest Park. The Stepanavan Dendropark consists of deciduous forest and ornamental plantings with avenues of Lime (Tilia cordata), and wild sourced specimens of Juglans, Malus, Populus and Pyrus. Most specimens were acquired from other botanic gardens as part of an international exchange programmes with the Botanic Garden in Tbilisi, (Georgia), Kiev (Ukraine), Nikitski, (Crimea, Ukraine),Leningrad and Moscow Central (Soviet Union) as well as the Far East. Specimens were also obtained further afield fromGermany, France, Portugal, China and the U.S.A. There are now more than 500 introduced species. Arboretum is home for plants ranging from Magnolia to larch Larix decidua, from cypress to Siberian pine, from Cryptomeria to Sequoiadendron. Among native species are hornbeam Carpinus caucasica, lime Tilia caucasica, T. cordata, beech Fagus orientalis, elm Ulmus elliptica, U. scabra, U. foliacea, oak Quercus macranthera, Q. iberica, Q. longipes, pine Pinus harmata and pear Pyrus communis (note: Armenia is an important centre of pear diversity with over 20 known species). Nowadays the arboretum is of interest to the general public, professional scientists and eco-tourists. It provides with the opportunity to study adaptive characteristics of different plants to the new environmental conditions, conduct training programmes for student internships and study the distinctive flora of the Transcaucasus region. The arboretum is a perfect place for public excursions and botanical or zoological tours. Admission is free and open to the public.
Akhtala (Armenian: Ախթալայի վանք); also known as Pghindzavank (Armenian: Պղինձավանք, meaning Coppermine Monastery) is a 10th-century fortified Georgian Orthodox Church monastery located in the town of Akhtalain the marz of Lori, 185 kilometers (115 mi) north of Yerevan. The monastery is currently inactive. The fortress played a major role in protecting the north-western regions of Armenia (Gugark) and is among the most well preserved of all in modern Armenia.The main church at the compound is famous for its highly artistic frescoes, which cover the inside walls, the partitions, and the bearings of the building. The modern name of Akhtala was first recorded in a royal decree of 1438. The etymology of the name Akhtala is believed to be of Turkic origin, meaning white glade. The original Armenian name of the settlement where the monastery is built is Pghindzahank, which means copper mine.
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