Although Georgia was cold and snowy, Armenia is thoroughly lost in frozen mountains, surrounded by giant peaks.
We arrive in Armenia the december 24th, the day before christmas. Although our first idea was to go to Sevan, we take the opportunity to reach the capital in one shot. Indeed, a bit before the border which tear apart Georgia from Armenia, we hitchike with two armenian living in Yerevan.
We go through frozen and lifeless landscapes. In the same time, we cross Tashir, Vanadzor and Stepanavan. We overcome some passes, lost in the huge mountains covered with blazing snow. So, we decide to go straight towards Yerevan to save our bruised toes from the terrible winter.
Lori province, snowy and frozen.
We are finally so lucky when our two drivers invite us for the supper. Though christmas is the january 6th in Armenia, we are happy to celebrate christmas eve. Once the night is fallen, they drop us not far from the Charles Aznavour's house, up to the Cascade. From there, we head to a youth hostel, symbol of the begining of our Yerevan's adventure.
The day after, we take a quick breakfast and talk with a japanese girl who heads to Nakhitchevan. Later, we amble towards the different sights. We walk in the clean streets, full of art exhibition and various performance. In front of the Moscow Cinema, nearby a giant spider, we play giant chest.
Yohan, frightened by the giant spider, gets afraid and runs away!
Later, we visit the Katoghike Church, Saint Grigor Lusavorich, the Blue mosque and end with the National Museum of Armenia, overlooking Republic square. The down town is very different from the Tbilisi's one, in Georgia. Indeed, the architecture is much more impressive, dull and impacting. Despite this fact, the buildings does not offer such many details as in western Europe's frontages. Inspired by the Soviet Model, the streets are large, spaced and organized according to a specific grid. Also, it is inscribed in a circular arc. Then, we come back to the youth hostel, passing nearby one of the biggest symbol of the town: The National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. Unfortunately, Yerevan is so poluted that we can not see the genuine symbol of Armenia, the Ararat.
The Katoghike Church (the little one) has been built in the XIII century. Around it, the Surp Anna Church complex stands, based on the old basilic's ruins, destroyed by the Soviet Union.
Saint Grigor Lusavorich or Saint Gregory The Illuminator Cathedral. Completed in 2001 to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of Christianism in Armenia.
The day after, at the youth hostel, we meet two french people who come back from Iran. We are very enthousiast listening them when they tell us their adventures. They are heading out, towards the Sevan lake. We prefer to stay one more day in Yerevan and continue to visit the town. First, we reach the Cascade, a huge serie of steps built on a hill. This monument shelters the Cafesjian center of arts. This building shows the paramount place of arts in the capital. In the top of it, between the Matenedaran and the Charles Aznavour's house is based the Armenian Soviet Union memorial. Overlooking the city, we guess the view must be awesome when the pollution vanishes. We go down and pass in front of the parlement, the presidential palace and the Armenian Genocide museum. It's closed but we are surprised when we find a ice rink at the first floor of the museum. We can not resist and decide to spend an hour there.
The Cascade and the Cafesjian, center of arts. Begun during the soviet ere and completed in 2009.
Tired, we come back to the inn where we find a russian guy who knows Juliette and Gabriel, the couple we met few weeks ago in Trabzon. According to him, they already are in Iran.
A russian guy who knows a french couple we met in Trabzon.
Our Yervan's journey over, we head to Khor Virap, a monastery, thirty kilometers far from the capital. We are astonished when we see that the highly secured border of Turkey is fifty meters close to it. Far away, the minaret stand and we can heard the Adhan. Khor Virap is well know for the view of the Ararat. However, the pollution is so important that It is very difficult to see it. Finally, the sunset lets the peak appears and we spend the night in its shadow, obsessed by the giant volcano in front of us.
Armenia was the first country to adopt christianism as state religion, in 301. Khor Virap church has been built in 642, though the monastery and walls has been finished in 1662.
Yohan, in the shadow of Ararat, 5137 meters above the sea level.
The morning is painful. The night has been very cold and the tent is covered with ice. We walk five kilometers to reach the main road and we begin to hitchike. Armenia is not the hitchiker's heaven. However we manage to arrive in Gori the same day, a bit after the sunset. We sleep in a courtyard's hotel. The weather is unexpectedly fine and the temperature is nice. Despite some people watching us at the morning, we leave the place without any problem. We spend the whole morning walking by the numerous caves of Gori, under the rain and the snow.
After our night in Khor Virap, we head towards Gori and its many caves.
We leave the city in the afternoon and get in an iranian bus which goes to Tabriz. By seeing the snowy landscapes lost in the blizzard, we understand the chance we had when the bus stopped for us. A bit earlier than midnight, we enter in Iran.