For the next trip you leave everything and go to Syunik. This time you pass Tatev Monastery taking the road to Kapan. As soon as you see the sign of Tandzaver village, turn to the left. It is in the forest of this village that one can find exclusively wooden sculptures made not only by artists from Armenia but also from abroad. You too can do miracles in the forest, you will be endowed with supernatural power as soon as you enter the forest, if you are miles away from art, then consider it to be in the past. Try it. There is also a well-designed tourist trail to Vanand Fortress, the beauty of which you can enjoy on foot or by bike. In fact, you can consider Tandzaver as a complete destination that you can visit on your free days. Here, in addition to land art, you can spice up the trip with various hiking and cycling routes, horseback riding. And the small, neat guest houses of the village will only be happy to host you.
Phone: +374 93 94 19 06 Mikael Shelemetev, Bagrat Hakobyan
WE ARE MOVING TO KHNDZORESK
The trip is full: believe me, you will not regret a minute of it.
Excitement, admiration, fear, surprise․ The feelings of the people on the “Swinging” bridge are diverse, they are never repeated. The bridge, built in just a few months, is 160 meters long and 63 meters high.
The bridge is known to tourists today as the “Swinging” bridge in Khndzoresk, which connects the two parts of the village, from Old Khndzoresk to the tomb of Sparapet Mkhitar, preserving the historical color of the village and the purity of nature, making it more tempting for tourists to visit Syunik.
The author of the “Swinging” bridge is Uncle Zhora, who dedicated the building to the memory of his parents. Uncle Zhora likes to sit in the chair next to the bridge. The guests arrive next to him and cross to the bridge, and he sits behind. 7 years have passed since the opening of the bridge, but he is still excited, he did not think that his initiative would be known to the whole world. Many tourists admire the old Khndzoresk caves, wondering how far the human imagination could go.
These and many other interesting stories are shared by the local guide Hermine. I have said many times that the local guides are full of unique energy, they make you fall in love with the place very quickly. Hermine from Nerkin Khndzoresk is one of those who had such magical power. During the hike to Old Khndzoresk, you will pass by a spring, look carefully, it has the shape of a female breast. Over the centuries, the men of the village defended it from the attack of the enemies, in many cases the women also fought against the enemy. According to a legend, Sona, a mother of 9 children, stands next to her husband during the fight. When she dies, her father, Ohan, builds a fountain and prays to the God to transform the water to milk in order for the 9 kids not to starve.
According to the legend, because it was built in deep valleys, it was originally called Khor Dzor or Khordzoresk, later becoming Khndzoresk. Khndzoresk had 11 historical districts (maylas): Prtos, Tsti, Telunts, Chayluk, Nerkin, Verin, Taplak, etc. Initially, most of the houses in Khndzoresk were caves, later stone houses were built.
Hermine had brought with her hot bread and fresh pastries that she had made herself․ “You have come a long way”. My throat clenched with excitement.
KHNDZORESK REVIVAL FOUNDATION:
Phone: +374 43 00 44 22, +374 94 44 22 89 Anahit Aleksanyan
What to do?
Going to Axel Bakunts’ house-museum, you will notice a big walnut tree at the entrance, can you imagine, Bakunts planted it. Everything is so well preserved here, as if Bakunts will soon greet you from the balcony. You will hear the sound of a bird, get up a little, the bird with large and plump feathers is Mirhav.
The writer’s father’s family name was Begunts, from which the literary name Bakunts originated. When Bakunts was born, his father’s friends from Alexandropol sent gifts, asking him to name his son Alexander in honor of their city. The writer’s father agrees. However, the name Alexander remains halfway there. As a teenager, Bakunts played the role of Axel, one of the heroes of the Norwegian play, and after that his friends start to call him Axel instead of Alexander until the name gets forgotten, and the wroter accepts the name Axel.
I am told that Martiros Saryan is visiting Goris with a small group of artists with the intention of making a series of Zangezur paintings. Before that, the artist knew Bakunts, and being in Goris, he could not help but meet him. He visits him and stays at his house for ten days. One day Saryan expressed a wish to paint Bakunts’ mother in Zangezur costume. The mother refuses, and stubbornly avoids sitting in front of the artist as a model. Bakunts manages to convince the latter, as a result the picture is born. It is here. Attached to the picture is Saryan’s letter, which is addressed to Bakunts’ brother, Vahan Bakunts.
I conclude the visit with tea made from rose petals, which, by the way, Bakunts loved very much, and he often asked his mother to prepare the juice that he considered medicine.
AKSEL BAKUNTS HOUSE-MUSEUM:
Phone: +374 77 11 12 45 Vardan Sargsyan
GORIS GEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
You already know that we definitely visit the Goris Geological Museum, it is located in the main square of the city, you will not get lost. I will single out only two samples, and you will tell about the others. The first is a statue of a lion dating from the 7th century BC, weighing 5,5 kg. The discovery of this work of art dating back to the Urartian era in Syunik proves that Syunik was included in the kingdom of Van. And the second is the five-faced idol. If you have been following my blog for a long time, then you have understood that I adore it. We go through the link, get acquainted with the history of an indescribable, unique exhibit.
GORIS LOCAL LORE MUSEUM:
Phone: +374 77 11 12 45 Vardan Sargsyan
WHERE TO EAT?
Armenian cuisine is so much more than just what is on the plate. The gastronomic experiences developed in Syunik and a number of regions are a great opportunity for travelers to immerse themselves in the real local cuisine. I’m hungry. I’m in Verishen. This dolma differs from the dolma made in other parts of Armenia in size, it is made with leaves of bean, the meat is mixed with milk, very little rice, spices and a lot of love. And you will prepare and taste all this at the 100-year-old house. By the way, the uniqueness of this place is not limited to this, almost all the food is grown in the garden of the house.
Tel. +374 77950250 Ashkhen Mashuryan
This visit to Syunik is really different from the others, isn’t it a miracle when you see with your own eyes the beginning, the process and the end of some event? In Verishen, the women of Goris introduced me to the whole process from Wool to Carpet. It is an indescribable feeling when you take the thread in your hand and start working on a carpet or rug. My feelings are very different, there is something sublime in carpet weaving, such as respect, femininity, strength and great patience, women working with thread are indescribably beautiful. I loved carpet weaving very much, one day I will make it even more mine.
“THE EXPERIENCE IS IN PROGRESS, WE CONTINUE TO ENCHANT, THIS TIME WE MAKE A VERY USEFUL CREAM FROM BEESWAX – THE BEST SOLUTION FOR VARIOUS SKIN PROBLEMS.”
WOOL TO CARPET CENTER:
Tel. +374 77 06 06 99 Ruzanna Torozyan
The tasty part continues, a meeting with the beekeeper is ahead. I was invited home, where I walked through the garden, surrounded by dozens of unusual beehives, but with a pleasant bee to my ear. Grandpa Grisha called me to him with his hand, “armed” me with a special uniform and urged me to walk around the garden, pick whichever apple my heart desired․ In my case, the apple I wanted by the end of the garden was almost 3 kg bag filled with apples. Grandpa Grisha has been engaged in beekeeping for 55 years, can you imagine how much information he has about bees? By the way, he is a candidate of agricultural sciences and he talked about other branches of agriculture with the same excitement as he talked about bees. The experience is in the progress, we continue to enchant, this time we make a very useful cream from beeswax – the best solution for various skin problems. Many books and articles have been written about the benefits of beeswax, therefore I will not burden you. I consider the experience of beeswax a success, I am waiting for it to get cold to take with me.
BEESWAX BY YEGHEVNUT:
Tel. +37494309369 Anush Malintsyan
YOU NEED TO KNOW!
You do not need a magic wand to enchant at all, you only visit Syunik in your free days, go through all the experiences with your own experience, communicate with the magicians of the Syunik world, and understand how beautiful reality there is, next to your own reality.
This article was created as part of the My Armenia program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Smithsonian Institution. The contents of this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the Smithsonian Institution or the US Government.