We drive through the Debed valley which is a pretty valley on the route to Yerevan. After a bit we decide to turn away from the most direct route and take another highway to Yerevan which will take us along the biggest lake in the country. Before we reach the lake we go through some hill with a lot of trees on them. The fall colours of the trees along the road are nice to look at so we stop for a bit to take in the view of the trees.
We come to an intersection where the right turn will take us to Lake Sevan – the lake we are heading towards. So obviously we turn left and do a bit of a detour. We head a little north along another pretty big road until we reach a turn off. There is a smaller road which leads us up the hill – fortunately the road is in pretty good condition so we can get to the parking lot at the end of the road. There is actually a parking attending who ask us for a fee to park here in the middle of nowhere. The fee is only around 40 cents so it isn’t breaking our budget.
We go from the parking lot right across the road to a big monastery called the Haghartsin monastery. There aren’t a lot of people visiting the place when we arrive – but there is a bus load of tourist arriving just after us. So we hurry to explore the monastery while they are listing to their Italian speaking guide.
The churches at the monastery date back to the thirteenth century and the monastery has been a pretty important location in Armenia through the time. There is a royal grave with two dead kings and three princes. The monastery is apparently a good representative of the old Armenian architecture that is the reason why the Haghartsin has become part of the Diljan National Park.
It is nice to wonder around the different churches and other buildings which is a part of the monastery. It is nice to have a look at the many different buildings and we manage to stay in front of the group from the bus so we have the area almost to ourselves.