At the end of our Armenian roadtrip we ended up in Goris, a peaceful town in South Armenia, at the crossroads of the roads towards Nagorno Karabagh, Yerevan and Iran, our next destination. But Goris is not an Armenian city like any other – it’s a city with a special charm, and an easy starting point for two remarkable places: Khndzoresk and the wings of Tatev!
Goris, a city with a special charm
We expected to see a sequence of massive buildings made of pink tufa – an architectural style that is very common in Armenia. But instead, we discovered with surprise a peaceful little town with houses made of grey stone, joined with lime, sometimes with a nice balcony or windows with rounded ridges… It’s because, unlike in the North of Armenia, rocks from Goris mountains has beige and grey tones. And it’s from this soft rock, easy to dig, that men and weather conditions have been able to shape the stone, leaving Goris surrounded by rocky peaks and many small caves. And this is where the charm of Goris worked: when we put our bags down here, we immediately felt good, surrounded by our favorite playground – an area full of mountains to hike and secret caves to discover!
Khndzoresk, a hanging bridge and troglodytes
Kk… Kr… What? How do you pronounce that? Unfortunately, we won’t be of much help… The only thing we know is that “Khor Dzor” means “deep canyon” in Armenian. And when you see the frail iron bridge swinging dangerously 63 meters above the ground, you understand its meaning very well!
Khndzoresk is basically a troglodytic village dug on both sides of the canyon and inhabited by Armenians until the beginning of the 20th century. The most ingenious idea was to build a hanging bridge over the canyon to connect these two parts – the crossing is totally free and in case of dizziness, you can go down to the troglodytic village by a hiking trail from the new village of Khndzoresk!
Tatev, a crossing of all records
Speaking of dizziness, we have a much better (or worse?) attraction to recommend: the Tatev cable car. But beware, this is not just any cable car! Tatev is the longest cable car in the world – 5.75 kilometers, a World record! But more than a long and fast cable car (12 minutes from Halidzor, compared to 45 minutes by car), Tatev is worth a visit for its superb monastery overlooking the village and Bazarçay valley. The must: make the trip in a cabin, and return to Halidzor by the winding road, which has a few surprises – such as a Devil’s Bridge, ruins of ancient monasteries, and an observation tower.
If Tatev holds the record for the longest cable car, we hold the record for the jinx: the day we hitchhiked to Tatev, a thick fog settled in the valley preventing us from seeing more than 20 meters away…
3500 drams/person a trip or 5000 drams for a round trip.
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* Post written according to our personal experience *