Armenia is so intriguing. It is only day two but I am already fascinated by this ancient country. There is some pretty nasty historical stuff which I will share with you at a later date but I want to give you a flavour of the place today as I find it, unpicking its many different layers to get to its core.
So, some images to extend your understanding of life in Yerevan. The wide, tree-lined boulevards give the city its cosmopolitan feel. But people need somewhere to live and work and the city expanded outwards in the 1960’s with tall blocks standing functional and strong to catch for the needs of ordinary people.
Today we drive out of town into the mountains. Armenia is made up of rocks and stones and mountains, with mountains behind mountains, hiding behind even more mountains. Once out of the city this becomes obvious.
These guys were singing in a small arched gateway looking out over the rolling hills. Awesome.
Gerhard Monastery is our destination, where caves in the hillside housed monastic cells and cluster around a collection of churches. The main cathedral was built in 1215. Let me take you on a magical journey. First we go up past the locals selling breads, sweets and dried fruits.
Through the gateway into the courtyard, the main buildings can be seen on the left. You know you are somewhere special when you are surrounded by ancient carvings and stonework.
It gets really special when you get inside a number of these worshipping spaces.
I am drawn to one. I think it’s the cathedral. It is dark and only lit by a central hole high above.
Three groups of singers come into my space and take me somewhere I’ve never been to before. Surrounded by dusty ancient pillars and carvings, their voices chant and hum and exist around me releasing emotion and releasing tears of wonder from my eyes. Wow!
So, you see, in one day you get Armenia – ancient and modern.