in Vayots Dzor

Pottery is an ancient craft. It turns out that not everyone could become a professional potter, because to be a real master you have to have a lot of skills – hard working hands. Each region of Armenia was distinguished by its peculiarities and patterns. We must preserve the traditions of our ancestors. It is one of the main Armenian crafts that may disappear in the near future, so these skills should be passed on to the next generation.

DISCOVER!

DAY ONE:

Each of us should take the time to touch on our deep-rooted folk traditions so that the next generation will have the opportunity to experience that knowledge.

I am in the “Workshop” studio of Areni village. Arpine teaches local children և creates various pottery. In the warmest corner of the village he presents the most delicate secrets of Armenian pottery. The salt on the table caught my attention. I found out that the salt shakers symbolized the ancient Armenian goddess of motherhood and of beauty Anahit and according to tradition they were made by women. They were pregnant women with open bellies, in which they kept the salt. Unlike other salt shakers, the Armenian salt shaker can reach very large sizes. According to demographic references, these salt pans were placed near the tonratun hearth.

ARHESTANOTS STUDIO:

Tel. +374 41 31 32 35 Arpine Matyosyan

Facebook: @ arhestanots.studio

WHAT TO DO?

I tried to make a necklace with Armenian ornaments. It became known that they are one of the peculiarities of a culture with a history of thousands of years. Armenian decorative art has always been in the center of attention of both Armenian and foreign culturologists.

Pottery, winemaking, unusual and terrifying nature of Vayots Dzor. What else is needed for an unforgettable weekend?

IT IS INTERESTING

Many know Areni thanks to the wine festival. On the first Saturday of October, people’s mood is winey, their eyes are bright and full of smiles, at the end of the day, strangers are familiar, a little drunk and happy. This can only prove one thing that the “Areni Wine Festival” event is a real celebration not only for the people living in Armenia, but also for the guests in Armenia. A sip of wine can change the mood, creating a new one. The same swallow will bring with it calmness, a feeling of omnipotence, a feeling of comfort and a light smile. And such a sip changes the whole day. And only at the end of the event do you realize that your mission that day was not only to taste the wine, but to become ambassadors of our Armenian wine.

YOU MUST VISIT!

DAY TWO

Areni 1 cave or the same as The “Bird Cave” is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vayots Dzor. Not to visit a cave, one can say, to pass unnoticed by the huge rich Armenian heritage.

Why visit it? Simply, because:

  • Archaeological excavations in 2010 uncovered a 5500-year-old shoe in the cave, which is the oldest leather shoe ever found in the world.
  • Back in 2007, during excavations in Areni-1 cave in Vayots Dzor region, scientists discovered three human skulls dating back to 4,300-4,000 BC, which were the subject of a study. Armenian scientists, in cooperation with foreign partners, as a result of the use of modern technologies, received skull reconstructions, on the basis of which it became possible to restore the faces and appearance of our distant ancestors.
  • During the excavations in 2007, things related to winemaking were found in the cave. According to Boris Gasparyan, head of archeological works at the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, the very first round of excavations brought great success to this place, because the vineyard was located. There were speculations about that and it was necessary to prove that it is a possible component of the winery. Structural features, that is, the presence of a sloping plane specific to winemaking (when the grapes were squeezed, through which the grape juice flowed to a special place, where it matured to a suitable degree) and prove the presence of huge jars buried in the groundthat this was a special area for winemaking. At present, this winery is considered to be the oldest in the world, dating back to the 4th millennium BC.
  • He also said that in the area of ​​Gnishikadzor, which is not far from Areni, 10th century medieval complex and ancient Areni grape seeds were found. It is believed that viticulture was practiced in this area as far back as 6000 years ago, as both wild and table grapes were found here. The area will serve as an ecotourism site, and thanks to the installed ticketing system, the flow of visitors will be controlled so as not to harm the site.

ARENI 1 CAVE SCIENTIFIC – RESEARCH FOUNDATION:

Tel. +374 55 51 40 08:

Facebook: AreniCave

IT IS INTERESTING

You exit the cave and cross the opposite sidewalk. Welcome to the world of very warm, colorful, Armenian handicrafts. Everything here is so attractive that you can buy almost anything and to take home with you as a souvenir.

In this warming corner, the Karten brothers Ruben և Karen Ghazaryans will teach you how to get a souvenir from a very delicate, embroidered, delicate fabric made of stone. The source of inspiration for the brothers is Noravank, not far from the kiosk, they also use the same stone from which the monastic complex is made. During the experience they will tell about both Momik and the ornaments.

BECORE:

Tel. +374 94 62 25 67, Ruben / Karen Ghazaryan

Well? What, are you still thinking of going to Vayots Dzor? Hurry up! 

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.

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