This was a metaphorical way for future generations of Armenians to remember their ancestors’ lives and achievements. It is part of the uniqueness of Armenian churches, which are frequently credited as forming the first national style in Christian architecture, dating back to the fourth century AD.
Sanahin Monastery was my first stop on a journey up and down the country, exploring a little-visited nation still bound together by ecclesiastical tradition and symbolism. I was to discover that even for the ultra-modern Yerevanian youth, Armenian identity was closely informed by the heritage of their church. Armenians call their country Hayastan after the legendary patriarch Hayk, a great-great-grandson of Noah, who defeated the Babylonian king Bel in 2492BC and established his nation in the Ararat region.
Less than a 20-minute bumpy drive from Sanahin was Haghpat, the other UNESCO World Heritage monastic site in the Lori region. Haghpat was cool, dark and solemn, without any iconography but dotted with the ubiquitous khachkars, the uniquely Armenian cross-stones with intricate engravings. I would see khachkars everywhere; not just in monasteries and ancient cemeteries but as a lasting symbol of identity that continues to be revered by Armenians worldwide. “Khachkars are erected in honour of victory, national holidays or martyrs,” explained Sira, while showing me the many ornate designs that are used.
Geghard Monastery, an hour from downtown Yerevan, has what is probably the finest example of an ancient khachkar, carved in 1213 by masters Timot and Mkhitar. Yet it was the awe-inspiring location that stole the show for me at Geghard: the monastery is surrounded by towering cliffs at the entrance of the Azat Valley.
NEED TO KNOW
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Uncovering Thailand's Ancient Secrets By Rail
We take the railway on a magical history tour of Thailand’s ancient capitals of Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and Chiang Mai in search of a mystical past hidden from the crowds
Expert Advice On Buying Travel Insurance Post-Covid
battleface’s Sasha Gainullin explains how to get the most out of your policy
A taste of ancient Khmer cuisine
Once home to the mighty Khmer Empire, it should come as no surprise that Cambodia has a culinary culture – centred around award-winning rice and freshwater fish – that’s as mouthwatering as anything its larger neighbours have to offer
The link between long-haul flying and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) has long been known, but how can you reduce your risk? Dr Jane Wilson-Howarth gets to the heart of the matter
Heritage jewels of the Caribbean
Immerse yourself in the rich culture, history and traditions that permeate the Caribbean’s winding streets and eye-catching architecture. Here’s our guide to the wide array of heritage sites and cities that await beyond the beaches
Mastering the Matterhorn
More than a mountain, the Matterhorn is the mountain and – for those of a certain mindset – begs to be climbed. Reader Will Robinson set out to fulfil a childhood dream and conquer the Alpine icon
Cristalino Lodge, Brazil
So much more than a place to stay, this enclave of ecotourism in the southern Amazon offers a complete wilderness immersion and the chance to help protect the surrounding, hugely biodiverse environment
Tokyo's 8 best sleeps
Inspired by the Olympics? Then book a room with a view (or just a capsule bed) at one of the Japanese capital’s choicest hotels
SHINING A LIGHT ON UGANDA
Hidden valleys, isolated rural communities and wildlife goodnews-stories. We go beyond Uganda’s gorillas to find that this recovering African country is far more diverse than you may think
A meeting place of ancient empires, the South Caucasus country was the world’s first to officially adopt Christianity in AD301. George Kipouros explores its spiritual landmarks
Drone Swarms & Future of Defence Technology
Ever heard of Kamikaze or Blitzkrieg? If not, check out your history books and go through World Wars chapters.
The Reality Of India's Drone Dreams
India needs to up the drone game quickly and imports are only part of the solution, argues NINAD D SHETH
आर्मीनिया-अजरबैजान के बीच जंग शुरू
दोनों तरफ से सौ से अधिक घायल और 23 लोगों की मौत, जुलाई में हुए संघर्ष के बाद यह सबसे बड़ी लड़ाई
The breakaway self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh
The Republic of Artsakh is probably the most ‘unheard of’ micro-nation. But it has been in existence for quite some time, only that it got a new name. The region was previously called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and it does not exist on the world map.
Through The Grape Vine
A timeline of the history of viticulture, the cultivation and harvesting of grapes.
One Of The World's Oldest Countries Armenia
As a country, there are many incredible facts about Armenia that makes it a ‘must visit’ destination. So if you have not already set your foot on this country, get ready to plan a vacation there as soon when the COVID-19 pandemic is over and the world is once again a safer place to travel.
WINNING A DEFENCE DEAL WITH ARMENIA: INDIA WALLOPED TURKEY
India’s winning 40 Million US dollar contract to supply four Swathi Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) to Armenia beating strong competitors like Russia and Poland has marked a new beginning in India – Armenian defence cooperation.
Following a velvet revolution in 2018 and an increase in foreign investment, there is cause for optimism in Armenia
Kim To Kanye - ‘I'm Done!'
After months of fighting, could the reality star be ready to call it quits on her marriage?
Kardashian's Spiritual Pilgrimage
Kim and Kourtney Kardashian flew to Armenia with their kids for a high-profile baptism