Colorful Armenia

zoratskarer.jpgThis autumn I was lucky to travel quite a lot. First, I got a spontaneous idea to travel to autumn Norway and I decided to finally go to Armenia right after I'm back. Which means I wasn't at home not even 24 hours and I was sitting on a plane. Why Armenia? I always wanted to see this part of the world. But at the same time, it never was high enough on my travel list so I never did. Until one day I suddenly found an advertisemet on Facebook that was saying there is an oranization which provides grants for travels to this beautiful country. So I told to myself: Why not? I will try next time the grant is open. Then I diminished two chances to submit my project. I almost forgot about it, but then I found the webpage again in 2017 and I saw the grants are opened at the time. I always struggle with deadlines so I was writing my project literally 20 minutes before the grant was closing. I sent it and as usual - I totally forgot about it. 

After about one month I got an email which seemed to be a spam at the first moment. I almost deleted it, but luckilly I opened it and I realized I got the grant. How great! And how crazy! I really don't know how is it possible it is me who was chosen and I'm a bit suspicious it was caused by the fact I was between last persons who submitted the project which caused the fact it was right at the top and well visible. But that's just my guess. I'm not thinking about it too much and I just say to myself the universe wanted it this way. :)) 

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Armenia, the land of seaberries. It was literally everywhere. 

It's very hard to describe for me the feelings I had when I was in this incredible country. So far I've never been more to the east than in Slovakia, haha. I also have to admit I was a bit scared, because I had no idea what to expect. Eventually almost everything was pretty different than my expectations. In a positive way. Armenia is just a small country but there are so many things to explore that one trip is never enough. I think it's safe to say you will find much better travelouge on Google, but I will try to describe everything I saw and felt and I hope it will maybe inspire some of you to see it too. But I'm really sure I'm gonna travel to this country again, because I really want to get to know it more. 

dsc05756.jpgThe first day I went to see the Amberd fortress. I was very surprised by the amount of visitors. To be honest I expected this places to be totally forgotten in the middle of nowhere, but the reality is different. 

_nik1674.jpgRight behind the fortress there is also beautiful church of saint Astvatsatsin.

I can really recommend to travel there in October. It's still very warm, so most of the times you can wear a t-shirt or dress but at the same time it's not too hot anymore. The nature has very beautiful colours, the grass is gold in the sunlight and the leaves on the trees are yellow, orange and red. Locals call this part of the year goled autumn of Armenia and I have to agree the whole country looks like a gold. Considering the fact it's still so warm even in October, I guess it's not that good idea to travel there during the summer if you don't like hot temperatures. Armenia is also a perfect country for low-cost travelers. Everything is so cheap here! People are very nice and friendly, but sometimes you could see they immediately realize you're from Europe and they kind of stare at you with strange expression of expectation in their face. I had a lot of funny moments, because of course I don't speak Armenian nor Russian. My languague luckilly is at least a bit similar to Russian so I somehow always managed to get what I want. Most of the times it's completely useless to try to speak English. They will not understand. Only some young people did, but during the whole stay I med only two people who could communicate in English well. 

dsc05778.jpgAnother place I visited was the cathedral in Talin. It is built right in the middle of the village. I really liked this place, you felt almost like in a horror movie. The ruins of the cathedral are surrounded by the old graveyard. Locals are making bonfires in the evening and there are a lot of stray dogs. It's completely different world, but I really loved the atmophere of this place. 

dsc05776.jpgThe cathedral doesn't have the roof anomore. It gives the place apocalyptic feeling. Birds and bat are flying through the building. Amazing.

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 The traces of history are literally everywhere. 

I have to admit I made quite a big mistake. I'm a big nature lover and if I have to choose between sights and mountains, I always choose mountains. But in case of Armenia I thought the sights will be on very remote places, surrounded by nature. When I was trying to find some places to visit, the photos online looked like from the Lord of the rings movie. I also thought Armenia is country that is kind of overlooked by travellers and not many people go there for a vacation. Well, I was wrong. I was very surprising for me to see how many people visited the most famous places. And it was October... Most of the times you could also park your car right next to it. I'm not saying this is the negative, I'm just saying I expected it to be different, more forgotten. The positive thing is that even families or older people can come for a visit ad they can be sure they will see a lot. For my next travel to this country I will definitely choose the be more in the nature and I will visit some sights only as a supplement. There are very beautiful mountains and volcanoes here, I definitely have to explore it. 

_dsc2647.jpgOne of my main targets in Armenia was Sevanavank monastery. Well, to be honest, I wasn't that amazed when I came there. I expected it to be more wild and remote, but it's surrounded by many socialist buildings. On the other hand it's a good place to buy some souvenirs.

dsc05796.jpgThen I went to see the Sevan lake. On the way there I realized the black sparkling stones next to the road are from lava! I've always been fascinated by volcanoes so I had to take at least some small pieces. 

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Me on the shore of Sevan lake. I was very surprised how clean and clear the water is! 

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Details...

2018-11-13-08-2.jpgHayravank monastery by the lake Sevan. I must I liked this place so much more than famous Sevanavank. Pure magic.
 

_nik2162.jpgI liked it much more than famous Sevanavank nearby. The atmophere and colours of this place are just awesome.

Hands down, I was a bit concerned about the safety in the country before the journey. I was afraid to go there completely alone and I had many prejudices. I must say all of them was wrong! All the time I felt very safe, I wasn't afraid to leave some of my stuff in the car, I wasn't afraid to walk on the street alone. I think it's very important to say that, because all of my friends and family were really concerned about it and some of them even didn't want me to go there. To be honest, eventually I felt like I'm at home. And when I was in Barcelona for example, I felt the place was much more dangerous and full of thieves than in Armenia.

dsc05868.jpgTypical Armenian village. 

dsc05955.jpgArmenian countryside. 

dsc05959.jpgBeautiful layers on the slopes by the road. 

dsc05975.jpgFinally in Zorats Karer, probably my most favourite place of the whole trip. 

Zorats Karer is sometimes called Armenian Stonehenge. I have to say I was totally amazed by this place. In translation it means "stone soldiers". The teories say it might be ancient graveyard or astronomic observation. There are more than two hundred menhirs, it's literally everywhere around. It's also interesting that the holes were made in some of the stones. We still don't know what was the purpose of this place and I guess we never will. 

2018-11-14-07-42.jpgAmazing magical Zorats Karer.

_nik2341.jpgMysterious place...  

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