From Tatev, we backtrack to Areni in the afternoon and make a detour to one of Armenia’s most popular and most beautiful monasteries. The Noravank Monastery near the town of Yeghegnadzor is perched on a hill and backdropped by a pretty valley. The surrounding cliffs takes on a strikingly orange hue at sunset.
It’s one of Armenia’s must-visit sites. The monastery’s proximity to Areni makes it a usual stops in tours to Areni. But for this particular trip, because of adjustments in schedule, we save it for the return trip to Yerevan.
The monastery was built in 1205 by Bishop Hovhannes and eventually became the residence of Syunik bishops in the 13th and 14th centuries. The surrounding fortress walls were added in the 17th and 18th centuries. The complex itself has survived a number of earthquakes and attacks by the Mongols, who sacked a number of other religious structures in Armenia.
Noravank has three main churches, the largest of which is the two-story
Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God). Access to the second floor is via a narrow stone staircase protruding from the front of the building. The Surb Karapet (Saint John the Baptist) Church is a reconstruction of the original, which was destroyed in an earthquake.