Jermuk – Ukhtasar - Zorac Qarer(Karahunj) - Monastery of Tatev
Distance: 130 km
Tour price: 40000 dram
Century of Foundation: IV Region: Syunik Location: Zangezour Perched 3 kilometers above sea-level on a mountainous plateau in the mesmerizing region of Syunik there are the remnants of an ancient fortress with enormous ramparts. More than 2000 ancient rock engravings (petroglyphs) at Ughtasar comprise an outdoor exhibition that favorably rivals its peers located in Karelia, the Urals, France, Denmark, America and the Sahara, especially in terms of clarity and precision with which they portray culture and customs of the Stone Age. The carvings represent various sacred rituals, hunting scenes, folk and religious dances and other obvious traces of Paleolithic influence. Although the precise age of the carvings is unknown, it is generally accepted that the petroglyphs of Ughtasar date as far back as 7,000 years.
Zorats Karer (Karahunj)
One of the most ancient megalithic constructions of the world is Zorats Karer (Syunik district) not reaching up to Sisian. From the line on a burnt plain row of huge red-brown monoliths are visible. The two-meter pointed blocks last precisely from the south to the north, fencing large territory, in the center they form a correct circle.
It is proved, that Zorats Karer is an observatory built in VI mil. B.C. Scientists have found similar constructions in many areas of Europe. The most known of them is the Stonehenge (II mil. B.C.).
Tatev monastery is situated near the village of the same name in part of Zangezur - ancient Syunik (now Syunik district). The monastery was founded in the ninth century in place of a tabernacle well-known in ancient times. The strategically advantageous location on a cape formed by a deep river gorge with precipitous rocky slopes favored the construction of a mighty defense complex there. At one time Tatev was the political center of Syunik principality. In the 10th century it had a population of 1000 and controlled numerous villages. In the 13th century it owned 680 villages.
The main church of Poghos and Petros (Peter and Paul) built in 895-906. The outward appearance of the temple is severe and laconic. Its harmonious proportions add to the impression of its considerable height.
Special attention was paid to the interior decoration of the church which was the main cathedral of Syunik principality. In 930 the walls of the church were decorated with frescoes, now almost totally lost. In the main apse there was a representation of Christ sitting on a throne and surrounded with three prophets and four saints. The western wall was taken up by an enormous fresco showing the Doomsday, and northern wall, be scenes of Nativity.