Notícia

Moinho de óleo do Mosteiro Tatev

Moinho de óleo do Mosteiro Tatev


Fatos sobre Tatev

O Mosteiro de Tatev é um monumento histórico do século 9, uma pérola da arquitetura armênia, um dos mais antigos centros espirituais e a maior universidade da Armênia medieval.

  • Fortes muralhas de fortaleza em penhascos enormes
  • Um antigo moinho de óleo com moedores de pedra
  • Pilar oscilante e uma estrutura medieval única
  • O túmulo de Grigor Tatevatsi, o último santo da Igreja Armênia
  • Afrescos antigos de mestres europeus.


Excursão em grupo: Mosteiro Tatev e Ropeway, Observatório Carahunge, Cachoeira Shaki, vinícola & quotHin Areni & quot (almoço tradicional)

O que inclui

Parada 1: Mosteiro Tatev e Ropeway

Goris é considerado o destino mais visitado pelos turistas porque uma das maravilhas da Armênia está aqui. O único complexo do monastério Tatev, The Devil & rsquos Bridge e The Tatev Ropeway estão situados aqui. Não é segredo que Tatev é um lugar fascinante que atrai a todos. Lá você pode ver um antigo moinho de óleo com moinhos de pedra, fortes paredes de fortaleza sobre enormes penhascos, o pilar giratório que tem uma estrutura medieval única: o último santo da Igreja Armênia afrescos antigos de mestre europeu e, claro, a tumba de Grigor Tatevatsi . O Mosteiro Tatev era o centro cultural da Armênia. Hoje em dia este é um lugar obrigatório para os turistas e não dá para vir aqui e não querer ver de novo.

O próximo local popular entre os turistas é o Teleférico Tatev, que é o maior teleférico do mundo (5, 7 km). O Portal Tatev o convida a voar acima do desfiladeiro nas Asas de Tatev. Há um guia de áudio que contará a história do Mosteiro Tatev e rsquos. Do teleférico, você será testemunha da natureza mais pitoresca e impressionante da Armênia. The Wings of Tatev é um teleférico de 5,7 km (3,5 milhas) entre Halidzor e o Mosteiro Tatev na Armênia. É o bonde aéreo mais longo cuja construção foi concluída em 16 de outubro de 2010.

Parada 2: Observatório Carahunge

Carahunge ou Zorats Karer estão localizados em Sisian, região de Syunik. É um dos monumentos megalíticos mais antigos do mundo. As fileiras de monólitos de aparência avermelhada que se estendem de sul a norte e ao mesmo tempo o círculo exato são visíveis mesmo à distância. Existem provas sólidas de que o Karahunj foi construído no VI milênio aC e era um observatório. Muitos buracos são feitos dentro dos monólitos, que estão claramente alinhados com a disposição das estrelas no céu daquela época. Estruturas semelhantes também foram encontradas na Europa. O mais famoso deles é Stonehenge, segundo milênio aC, na Inglaterra.

Parada 3: Cachoeira Shaki

Shaki é considerada uma das cachoeiras mais pitorescas da Armênia. Está localizado na região de Syunik, famosa por seus monumentos históricos e naturais. A cachoeira é formada no rio Shaki, na entrada do Vorotan que cai em um desfiladeiro profundo de uma altura de 18 metros. Apesar da pequena altura, a cachoeira Shaki tem grande capacidade, e o barulho da água é ouvido de longe. Existe uma lenda relacionada com a cachoeira Shaki. A história fala sobre a bela garota Shake, que correu do penhasco, recusando-se a obedecer à vontade dos conquistadores. Ao cair, o vestido da menina se abriu com o vento e se transformou em uma cachoeira. Em homenagem a Shake, a cachoeira foi chamada de Shaki. O território da cachoeira Shaki foi habitado por antigas civilizações que deixaram vestígios em nichos rochosos e grutas. Uma estrada sinuosa leva até a cachoeira, mas você terá que sair do carro e chegar até a cachoeira por um caminho estreito.

Parada 4: vinícola & quotHin Areni & quot

Areni é o berço da vinificação. A viticultura no território da Armênia se originou muitos anos antes de nossa era. Na Armênia, cresce uma grande quantidade de vinhas selvagens, e um grande número de variedades de uvas locais. E aqui está a adega mais antiga da Armênia, onde você pode saborear os mais deliciosos vinhos das melhores variedades de uvas.


E esse foi o dia

Então, as fotos significaram muito para Christine. & # 8221 Obrigado, obrigado! & # 8221 repetiu uma e outra vez, sorrindo em seus olhos. & # 8221 Ele & # 8217 é meu sacerdote favorito em toda a Armênia & # 8221 ele concluiu.

Depois fui visitar o chamado moinho de óleo, construído no século XVII fora dos muros do mosteiro de Tatev, para que os moradores pudessem produzir óleo vegetal.

O que resta do moinho encontra-se atualmente em um espaço coberto transformado em uma espécie de museu interativo onde, com alguma crueza, a importância do moinho é então explicada à comunidade.

Logo depois, era hora de deixar o Mosteiro Tatev à sombra do final da tarde e caminhar até o teleférico da Ala Tatev. Foi o fim da minha visita ao mosteiro de Tatev, mas não foi por isso que as emoções não acabaram.

A ideia era levar o maior teleférico reversível do mundo, nos cânions do rio Vorotan. São exatamente 5.752 metros de adrenalina, entre Tatev e a vila de Halidzor? Onde uma van me esperava.

Da altura de mais de 300 metros do teleférico, drinks e cachoeiras, o Rio Vorotan e a chamada Ponte do Diabo # 8217s ao fundo, estradas em zigue-zague de montanha e alguns vilarejos pontilham a paisagem.

Quando, depois de quase 15 minutos, voltei ao continente, estava satisfeito, tinha sido um dia agitado.

Há uma infinidade de mosteiros na Armênia, cada um com sua própria história, estilo e encantos visuais. Além do Mosteiro Tatev, também conheci Khor Virap e Matosavank. Eu recomendo a todos!


Mosteiro de Metsaranits

No caminho para Gandzasar, onde o rio Calcutá se junta ao rio Khachen, você pode subir o Calcutá para encontrar S. Hakob ou o Mosteiro de Metsaranits na margem direita do rio, em um cume acima da vila de Calcutá. As paredes de servo, edifícios e corredores em arco construídos entre os séculos 8 e 18 ainda estão de pé.

O mosteiro de São Hakob é considerado o monumento mais notável de Calcutá. Situa-se no sopé de uma montanha a 2 km da aldeia. Na literatura histórica, também é conhecido como templo de Metsaranits. Metsarank é conhecido como o nome de uma das aldeias de Artsakh. Mais tarde, também foi chamado de Nerkin Khachen. Não há informações concretas sobre a data de fundação do templo. A inscrição mais antiga está gravada em um pedestal de um khachkar, que mais tarde foi colocado na parede da igreja como um material de construção, e refere-se a 851. A outra informação escrita está nos registros do Matenadaran de Yerevan nomeado após M.Mashtots. Aqui, o pergaminho fala sobre que os construtores do templo de St.Hakoba foram os pais de Hasan Jalal - Vakhtang e Khorishah.

Khorishah conta por uma de suas inscrições, "Eu construí novamente a igreja em Metsaran para a salvação da minha alma, lembre-se do bem". Aqui ela fala sobre o templo de St. Hakoba, que era um centro religioso do ramo Khokhanaberd. Mas aqui a expressão "construí de novo" deve ser entendida como reconstrução e reparo. Mesmo agora, não é difícil ter certeza sobre isso. As pedras das antigas construções os reparadores colocavam aqui e ali nas paredes, então eles colocavam as lápides nas paredes e colocavam khachkars no teto. Eles colocaram as pedras aparadas e com inscrições nos cantos. Em suma, as construções deixam uma impressão remendada (remendada). Muito provavelmente o templo de St.Hakoba também foi reparado em 15-16 cc, além da reconstrução em 1212. Uma pequena inscrição sem data aqui confirma esse fato.

As construções habitacionais unindo-se à igreja meridional pelo lado oriental de acordo com a outra inscrição foram construídas em 1725. Desta forma, construções separadas do complexo monástico foram construídas e reconstruídas ao longo de muitas épocas - do IX ao XVIII cc. A parte principal das construções foi construída em XII-XIIIcc. O complexo é composto por duas igrejas, dois vestíbulos, um compartimento habitacional e edifícios econômicos. Todos os edifícios se juntam e, em sua maioria, são conectados por passagens comuns.

A primeira igreja do mosteiro Surb Hakoba é um longo salão retangular de uma nave (tamanhos 7,8 x 3,2 m). Pela aparência arquitetônica, lembra a igreja do deserto de Ghevondats. A diferença é que aqui o levantamento do altar está bastante elevado em relação ao nível comum e só se chega lá pelas escadas da parte sul. A necessidade de elevar o altar mais alto do que o normal foi ditada por razões práticas. É que à parede norte da igreja juntam-se desde o exterior também pequenas celas (medidas 1,3 x 1,3m), cujas entradas se abrem sob o aumento do altar, com o qual está ligada a sua altura. Tal situação de celas, também utilizadas como esconderijos, faz pensar que aqui mesmo existiu uma construção mais antiga, que foi "reedificada" no século XIIc.

A fachada oeste da igreja mais tarde se tornou o centro do vestíbulo de três arcos. Como os vestíbulos análogos do mosteiro Dadi e Tate, aqui a parte inferior da parede frontal também é uma arcada de três arcos. As pilastras e arcos são de pedra lapidada e destacam-se muito bem no fundo de toda a parede.

Para animar a camada monótona de pedra não aparada nas paredes do vestíbulo, são amplamente utilizados khachkars, lápides de 2m de comprimento e placas com inscrições epigráficas fragmentárias. Os khachkars usados ​​aqui são construídos de pedra rosa, as lápides de cinza, as lajes inscritas de branco e o relógio de sol de pedra laranja claro tudo isso no fundo das paredes de pedra azul criam uma gama de cores interessante.

À parede norte do vestíbulo descrito junta-se a segunda igreja, que é um salão retangular simples (8,0 x 3,4m) com um lado oriental. A igreja tem duas entradas do lado sul através do vestíbulo de três arcos e do lado poente através construído pelo seu vestíbulo-capela lateral. Assim, o vestíbulo de três arcos, tendo organicamente coisas comuns com as formas exteriores das duas igrejas, serve não só como uma fachada única para a entrada de ambas as igrejas, mas também dá um aspecto pitoresco a todo o complexo, graças ao videogames.

Do ponto de vista arquitetônico, isso certamente apresenta certo interesse.

Entre as várias construções do complexo monástico, um lugar especial ocupa o vestíbulo-gavit da segunda igreja. Sabe-se que vestíbulos de arquitetura armênia surgiram no século Xc. E podemos certamente dizer que o vestíbulo-gavit do mosteiro Surb Hakobavank é um dos mais antigos. Normalmente, os vestíbulos aproximam-se da igreja principal que, ao mesmo tempo, funciona como parede oriental dos vestíbulos.

Aqui, o vestíbulo é construído primeiro pela pequena igreja e, em segundo lugar, separado dela por um corredor de 2,5 m de largura. Este corredor entre a igreja e o vestíbulo é único e não se encontra em outros mosteiros. Durante a missa, como na igreja, também no vestíbulo com o corredor ocupavam os lugares os paroquianos, porque as dimensões modestas do salão de oração não cabiam a todos. Além disso, o vestíbulo servia de cemitério de gente famosa, local de discussão como igreja e questões de vida. Aqui, como também no vestíbulo de três arcos, o chão é coberto por numerosas lápides. Como as inscrições informam aqui estão enterrados o catholico Hovanes, Aristakes, Simeon e os bispos Simeon e Vardan.

Pelas obras históricas e fontes manuscritas, sabe-se que o mosteiro Surb Hakoba no período medieval era considerado um dos locais sagrados do lado oriental da Armênia. Como as lápides apontam, mencionando os católicos e os bispos, o mosteiro era um centro eparquial e, no século XIII, servia de residência aos católicos. Também era conhecido como o centro educacional e de manuscritos de Khachen.

Nos dois lados do corredor estão colocados dois khachkars ricamente ornamentados. De acordo com a inscrição, o khachkar junto à parede norte foi colocado em 1223 e junto à parede sul em 1224. Quatro khachkars foram usados ​​como blocos laterais para a janela oeste do corredor. Eles se maravilham com seus ornamentos e, embora as inscrições tenham sido apagadas e a data exata não seja preservada, o estilo de sua decoração tem muito em comum com os monumentos análogos de XII-XIIIcc.

O vestíbulo é um átrio quase quadrado (medidas 7,0 x 7,6m), cuja abóbada se apoia nos arcos de travessia, apoiados em pilastras. Além da ampla entrada oriental, na parte sudoeste existe uma pequena passagem de porta. Duas janelas se abrem para o sul e uma terceira se abre para o oeste. Na parede norte não existem passagens de janela, uma vez que faz parte da cerca de pedra do mosteiro. Um dos khachkars colocados na parede do vestíbulo data de 1212, e a inscrição da viga quadrada da porta é de 1293.

Neste mosteiro foram recolhidas e publicadas cerca de 42 inscrições epigráficas. Um valor especial presente khachkars - os exemplos de alto domínio dos mestres da pedra, as lápides, cornijas, arcos, as extremidades das elevações do altar, caixilhos de portas, janelas e lareiras. Se o complexo foi construído em um estilo arquitetônico restrito de pedra mal aparada, não podemos dizer o mesmo sobre as pequenas formas arquitetônicas. Eles são tesouros inestimáveis ​​do passado e os exemplos perfeitos da arte medieval.

Além das igrejas e vestíbulos, o complexo monástico inclui também outras construções. Dentro da cerca de pedra estavam situados o scriptorium, matenadaran, preservando manuscritos de pergaminho, salas com lareiras como no mosteiro de Tatev, e também o refeitório com cozinha, um moinho de óleo para fazer óleo de gergelim, vários porões, baias, reservatórios, posto de guarda, tonirs. Eles quase nos alcançaram em condição semidestruída. As edificações econômicas e habitacionais certamente evidenciam a presença no passado de numerosas fatalidades monásticas.

As celas monásticas estão situadas a leste da igreja, na planície. Pela inscrição e por todo o aspecto arquitetônico referem-se aos séculos XVII-XVIIIcc. O compartimento habitacional é constituído por fileiras de divisões, agrupadas em torno do corredor comum, defronte do qual a sudoeste se situa um amplo pátio. Em ambos os lados da entrada principal do mosteiro são construídos quartos de dois andares, parte dos quais totalmente preservados. Do portão do mosteiro começa o longo corredor de 10m, que se estendia sob os edifícios com coberturas abobadadas. Em direção ao noroeste do mosteiro, em uma densa floresta, está situada a nascente monástica. Outra fonte chamada Ttu jur (água mineral) está situada no sopé da colina monástica, perto do assentamento de Tblkhu.

Desta forma, as construções seculares do mosteiro Surb Hakoba, que desempenharam um papel importante na vida espiritual e social da região, as inscrições em suas pedras antigas, belos khachkars e lápides têm um grande significado cognitivo.


Herança Armênia

O complexo de Tatev é bastante grande, merecendo sua reputação como um magnífico local histórico e natural. Todo o complexo está localizado em um precipício inexpugnável sobre as gargantas Tatev e Vorotan. Paredes de rocha íngreme e colinas profundas caem 700-800 metros até o fundo do rio, tornando o local imune a invasões em dois lados. Os outros lados são envoltos por grossas paredes de pedra, torres redondas defensivas e janelas de fenda. O complexo inclui paredes externas e um moinho, a Catedral de Poghos Petros, as igrejas de St. Astvatsatsin e St. Grigor, o mausoléu de Grigor Tatevatsi, um Gavazan, refeitório, salas de aula, manuscriptorium, pousada para peregrinos, residências, cozinha e vários edifícios de serviço e monge células.

Prensa de óleo (2)

A prensa de óleo fica em um prédio do século 13 que confina com a colina norte, perto da torre redonda leste. Possui duas grandes salas, e uma pedra maciça que era usada para fazer óleo a partir de sementes e ervas prensadas, o óleo resultante usado nas residências e na defesa do mosteiro. As grandes lareiras internas eram usadas para aquecer e rasgar o óleo. O óleo é um ingrediente do muron (óleo sagrado) usado nos serviços religiosos.

Muralhas defensivas do mosteiro (3)

As paredes atuais são renovações das defesas do século XVIII do século XIX, mas preservam o contorno e a estrutura básica. A torre redonda tem fendas estreitas para suas janelas com pedras salientes na superfície externa. Elas se abrem para uma sala interna e são construídas de forma que as sentinelas possam olhar para os transeuntes sem serem detectadas (ou feridas por flechas inimigas). Como em outras fortalezas da época, as paredes foram reforçadas por escritórios, salas e celas construídas dentro das paredes, criando uma série de contrafortes para suportar o sistema de parede.

As paredes não são tão altas quanto antes (20 metros em partes) e estão faltando seções que corriam ao longo do leste até a borda do cânion.

O antigo portão (4) foi murado, mas o seu arco pode ser visto ao longo das paredes. Do outro lado está uma fonte. O portão leste (5) confina com a torre leste e está sob a igreja de St. Astvatsatsin.

St. Astvatsatsin (6)

Esta pequena capela-igreja do século 11 está situada no canto nordeste das paredes, no topo do portão oriental abobadado e do mausoléu. O projeto é exclusivo para igrejas armênias, uma pequena estrutura vertical de dois andares, o primeiro andar arqueado com um teto abobadado, o segundo abobadado. A entrada tem uma porta de madeira com detalhes maravilhosos.


Texto original editado e aprovado pela Madre Sé de Santo Echmiadzin.


Conselheiros Regionais

Jack Heath atuou como vice-prefeito da cidade de Markham desde 2007. Ele tem sido um forte apoiador da comunidade armênia e tem sido uma figura importante, patrocinando a cerimônia anual do Dia da Independência da Armênia em 28 de maio na Prefeitura de Markham. Jack também patrocinou a moção da Cidade de Markham & # 8217s, designando oficialmente o dia 24 de abril como um dia de lembrança para a comunidade armênia em memória do Genocídio Armênio durante a Primeira Guerra Mundial.


Padre perturbado dentro da sacristia do Mosteiro Geghard, na Armênia.

Embora a música raramente me faça chorar, isso acontece, inclusive em shows ao vivo de Bonnie Raitt, Bad Company e Sari Schorr.

E então eu entrei dentro da câmara superior enigmática do Mosteiro Geghard na Armênia - famosa por sua acústica - para contemplar o Garni Vocal Quintet atuando com pouca luz sob uma cúpula de pedra.

A tradução do quinteto de cantos litúrgicos e canções folclóricas antigas foi tão emocionante quanto instigante.

As pessoas especiais em minha vida, em quaisquer formas que habitam agora, entraram e saíram de minha mente e um sentimento de gratidão tomou conta de mim.

Eu realmente gostaria de poder cantar também.

Um local da UNESCO

Essas foram minhas primeiras lágrimas musicais desde que ouvi a deusa do blues Sari Schorr no Carnegie Hall, o que era um pouco irônico porque os membros do Garni também haviam se apresentado lá. Para manter todos esses sentimentos de boa vontade equilibrados, marchei então para a atração principal deste complexo monástico da UNESCO, o altar principal onde um batismo estava acontecendo.

Lá, comecei a fotografar um padre “nos bastidores” que, de outra forma, estava escondido à vista na sacristia do outro lado.

Aparentemente, ele estava fazendo algum tipo de contabilidade (calculando a conta do batismo?) E irritado com a minha busca por fotos. Talvez se fosse um século anterior e ele fosse um monge escolástico escrevendo um manuscrito - um calendário, livro de receitas, escrita religiosa ou texto médico em pergaminho ou pergaminho - ele teria sido um modelo mais agradável. Depois de um brilho profano, ele prontamente fechou a porta que rangia.

Não há nenhum outro lugar na terra onde o Cristianismo seja mais profundo. A Armênia se tornou a primeira nação cristã oficial em 301AD, então faz sentido que seja o lar de uma das primeiras igrejas cristãs do mundo, que foi construída naquele ano no topo de um altar zoroastriano (nota: Freddie Mercury da Rainha era um zoroastriano). ‘

O extenso campus da Catedral de Echmiadzin poderia ser denominado Vaticano Armênio ou mesmo uma Disneylândia Cristã, já que possui dezenas de locais de adoração espetaculares em tantos hectares.

Assim como a mente humana não consegue compreender nenhum começo ou fim, o que deu à religião sua entrada, o canto do grupo, a vibração e a atmosfera dentro desta igreja da Cidade Santa eram muito comoventes, mesmo para um agnóstico. Adicione fumaça, joias e homens de preto (alguns com capuzes pontiagudos) e era hora do show!

Garni Vocal Quintet tocando canções folclóricas antigas no Mosteiro de Geghard.

A Armênia também tem um lado intelectualmente humorístico. Mais tarde, desfrutei de uma refeição divina em uma pousada rural de luxo chamada Tsaghkung, onde jantares casuais à luz de velas se misturavam a música de jantar ao vivo feita por um piano e um duduk parecido com uma flauta.

Depois do jantar, enquanto examinava o pátio ao ar livre da propriedade, o espaço do quintal, o forno tradicional e os pousadas adjacentes, perguntei ao meu guia Rafi sobre o que poderia ter irritado aquele padre do Mosteiro de Geghard que estava sentado em sua sacristia que lembrava um cubículo de escritório antigo.

Rafi, primeiro apelidou minha suposição de "falácia lógica". Mas quando expliquei como o padre se levantou e fechou a porta na minha cara, ele pegou emprestado um momento de diálogo de seu programa de rádio armênio favorito da era soviética ...

Mosteiro de Noravank - imagine Moab, com encantos do século 13.

R. Não fazemos comentários sobre economia nacional.

Armênia: os melhores tomates de todos os tempos

Outro dia neste berço do cristianismo me levou ao Vale do Ararat para ver mais de perto o Monte Ararat de 17.000 pés.

Mas ainda mais revelador do que move a Armênia foram os vales verdes aparentemente intermináveis ​​com vinhedos e outras colheitas exuberantes (podem ser os melhores tomates que já experimentei) em meio à paisagem montanhosa do deserto.

Depois de passar por uma “vila de cegonhas” onde eles constroem poleiros de cegonha por toda a cidade e se alegram quando retornam a cada ano, eu apreciei um pouco de mel de abelha medicinal e aprendi com o apicultor que a Armênia é (traduzido) “um país pobre, o que significa que não há pesticidas, então as abelhas estão bem. ”

Mais que religião

A rica história da Armênia não se limita à religião. Moda e vinho também são profundos. Em 2009, uma equipe de arqueólogos armênios e irlandeses escavando o complexo de cavernas Areni-1, no sul da Armênia, encontrou o cérebro mais antigo do mundo em um cemitério datado de 5000 AC.

O crânio de pré-adolescente bem preservado foi um dos vários encontrados em potes de barro. Nos anos seguintes, o primeiro calçado conhecido do mundo (5.500 anos, um mocassim de couro) e a vinícola (6.100 anos, possivelmente provando que o álcool é mais importante do que os sapatos) também foram descobertos.

Outras descobertas incluem um bebedouro, uma prensa de uva, uma xícara e potes de fermentação que datam de cerca de 6.100 anos atrás. O sinuoso e tortuoso local de 7.500 pés quadrados acabará por fechar ao público para pesquisas mais exaustivas e, posteriormente, reabrir como uma grande atração turística. A aldeia de Areni ainda é conhecida pela sua produção de vinho.

A Armênia cresce rapidamente em você. Imagine os penhascos de pedra coloridos da região de Moab em Utah, mas com encantos do século 13, como o Mosteiro de Noravank. Para chegar lá, é preciso subir a escada da Armênia para o céu, uma subida pelo desfiladeiro Norovank, semelhante ao Grand Canyon, cercado por montanhas rochosas em tons de vermelho crescentes e multicoloridos. Quase todas as estruturas religiosas incluem a opção de interagir com o padre residente.

O falante sacerdote / mestre de cerimônias de Noravank com o lendário guia Rafik Santrosyan.

Padres casados

Os padres armênios, como a maioria dos padres ortodoxos, se casam e têm família, o que parece dar a eles um senso de humor aprimorado. O falante padre e mestre de cerimônias de Noravank não faltaram piadas ou oferecendo amostras de vinhos caseiros em jarras de barro. Era como sair com aquele tio engraçado da sua infância, aquele que te fazia rir e se sentir seguro.

Apesar de ter dois vizinhos não tão amigáveis, a Turquia e o Azerbaijão, a Armênia quase sem crime se assemelha aos países mais seguros do mundo, mas é economicamente pobre. Pegar carona ainda é totalmente viável aqui. Um voluntário de longa data da Peace Corp falou sobre frequentemente tirar uma soneca de amigos enquanto simplesmente caminhava ao longo da estrada.

A dez minutos de Norovank Gorge, paramos no Areni Wine Art para uma refeição caseira e degustações de vinhos regionais. Aqui, seu primeiro nariz pode incluir uma lufada de estrume varrida pelo vento neste vale totalmente orgânico. Eles também têm quartos confortáveis.

Novamente, embora o pequeno país tenha 4.000 templos, nem tudo se trata de ir à igreja. Você logo percebe que as mulheres armênias são adoráveis. O pai de Cher é da Armênia (sua mãe é índia Cherokee).

Ninguém age como um Kardashian aqui, mas alguns armênios atribuem à família de raízes armênias o crédito de empoderar as mulheres ao falar sobre peso, menstruação, obtenção de riqueza e outras questões anteriormente abafadas.

Romeo Warning

Dito isso, muitas mulheres armênias pensam que o Tinder é um aplicativo de casamento. Esse mesmo cara da Peace Corp me disse que os moradores muito conservadores, e alguns moradores da cidade, acreditam que absorventes internos roubam a virgindade de uma mulher. Então, rapazes, sua rotina de Romeu provavelmente não funcionará muito bem aqui, a menos que você esteja em um compromisso sério.

Independente desde 1991, esta terra de contrastes carrega duras realidades lado a lado com fantasias luxuosas. Cada aldeia tem pelo menos uma fábrica abandonada da era soviética. Visitamos uma fábrica têxtil abandonada em Yegheregradzor. Agora uma cápsula do tempo empoeirada, estranhamente mostrou como todos pareciam partir de repente 30 anos atrás, para nunca mais voltar.

Piloto de "jipe" militar soviético com um popular penteado Lurch (pense: série de TV para a família Addams)

Navegando de volta para Vayots Dzor (um dos Marte da Armênia, eles chamam seus estados do tamanho de um condado de Marte, há 11 no total), a árida região vinícola da montanha dá lugar a cabras selvagens, raposas, figueiras, amoreiras e as sempre presentes barracas de melancia que realçam ainda mais a paisagem.

Jeep to Smbataberd

Um passeio de jipe ​​com agitador de tinta para Smbataberd, uma fortaleza medieval no topo de uma montanha do século 10, que já teve 4.000 habitantes de meia-idade, é apenas outro exemplo da variedade deslumbrante deste pequeno país.

Mais ao sul, famoso Jermuk é a joia da coroa de um spa da era soviética que já foi visitada por hóspedes que chegavam em helicópteros e jatos particulares.

Este destino único leva a sério a cura de spa de estilo europeu, pois os complexos de spa funcionam como hospitais curativos. Do outro lado da rua, o elegante Hyatt Place se encaixa muito bem aqui, e é do calibre de lua de mel.

Mas você também pode enlamear seus sapatos aqui. Fora do centro de Jermuk, uma estrada de terra ladeada por montanhas cruza um riacho várias vezes e visita várias fontes termais.

A rota de 4 rodas termina em um gorgolejo final alegre de terra neste vale bonito e fértil. É um local perfeito para um churrasco depois de entrar nas águas. Jermuk Falls, de volta ao centro da cidade, é destaque no rótulo da Jermuk Water, que agora é exportada para os EUA.

Jermuk Falls

Os armênios vagaram e reassentaram muitos cantos do planeta - não apenas Los Angeles, ou seja, Glendale, CA.

Perpetuamente deportados em ondas de sua terra natal desde o século 11, as comunidades armênias e suas tradições estão prosperando hoje em colônias internacionais formadas, o que significa que construíram e mantêm igrejas e escolas em lugares como Argentina, Índia, Filipinas, Romênia, Estados Unidos e Etiópia.

E não inesperadamente, Jerusalém tem um bairro armênio, onde, em 1924, o anunciado imperador etíope Haile Selassie viu igrejas armênias tendo uma semelhança impressionante com as igrejas de sua terra natal.

Cânion Vorotan

Complexo monástico de Vorotnavank (1000AD) - um dos muitos think-tanks armênios da época.

Falando em perambular, uma expedição off-road Landcruiser através e acima do Vorotan Canyon mostra mais do deserto semiflorestado e sem turismo das terras altas da Armênia.

Hayk, proprietário do Gardman Tour, fazendo o off-road entre Ltsen e Tatev

Antes de nossa odisséia em arco entre duas aldeias baixas percorrendo uma rota muito acidentada ao longo da parede do vale do rio Vorotan, paramos no Mosteiro de Vorotnavank, construído por uma rainha no ano 1.000 e estabelecido como um centro de estudos religiosos e seculares.

Depois dessa pausa acadêmica com uma vista panorâmica, começou a escalada de quatro rodas em montanhas com curvas fechadas e elevadores tipo montanha-russa.

O selvagem passeio off-road de 16 quilômetros que ligava Ltsen e Tatev teve um interlúdio suave, uma parada para café e sobremesa com vista para o desfiladeiro a 10.500 pés.

Esta rota alternativa do Cânion Vorotan também está disponível por meio de trekking ou mountain bike.

Mosteiro / Universidade de Tatev.

Tatev, que fica na rota turística armênia, tem um bairro zero-tour-bus, onde você pode desfrutar de um almoço em casa de família que inclui uma trilha sonora de burro no quintal.

Mas, sem dúvida, você também visitará o Mosteiro Tatev, que tem raízes do século V que prepararam o palco para se tornar uma universidade do século 9. O antigo moinho de óleo de semente adjacente, ainda em funcionamento, também intriga.

Stonehenge armênio - antigo observatório de Carahunge

Um bonde chamado de Asas de Tatev leva você em uma jornada de 15 minutos sobre um vale panorâmico, e você estará pronto para encerrar o dia.

Mas não antes de concluir (ir para o pôr do sol) nas estruturas megalíticas do Stonehenge armênio no antigo observatório Carahunge. Alguns dos pilares com buracos de pedra para observar os alinhamentos planetários foram erguidos e esculpidos em 7.500 AC.

Como a maioria das atrações da Armênia, esta joia antiga é gratuita e não está bloqueada de forma alguma.

No dia seguinte, ocorreu-me que nenhuma paisagem parece estar fechada na Armênia.

Wildflower Paradise

Outra excursão off-road de quatro rodas subiu em um paraíso de flores silvestres com grama de 11.200 pés na montanha, que incluía tomilho selvagem ao lado de bolsões de neve persistentes até o final do verão.

Isso me lembrou das montanhas escocesas no estilo tundra, se elas fossem infundidas com resquícios vulcânicos brilhantes.

A rota Ughtasar através do sudeste da Armênia Karabagh está acima da linha das árvores e cumes nas pinturas rupestres da região de Sunick, que têm 10.000 motivos.

'Motel' da Rota da Seda Armênia

É difícil compreender estar entre as relíquias da comunicação dos caçadores-coletores malvados de 7.000 anos atrás.

No meio desta jornada no topo do mundo, minha odisséia no Gardman Tour parou para um churrasco (korovatz) enquanto codornas selvagens disparavam dos campos agraciados com camomila selvagem. Você tem que dar uma olhada neste lugar.

Um Silk Road Motel

No caminho de volta à civilização moderna, paramos em um motel da Silk Road, Orbelian’s Caravanserai, construído em 1331.

É onde os mercadores guerreiros da estrada e seus animais que puxam caravanas costumavam balançar o happy hour, e você também deveria. Essas "estalagens" noturnas foram construídas com um dia de viagem de distância ao longo da lendária rota de comércio sazonal.

Parapente acima do Lago Sevan, na Armênia.

O comércio da Rota da Seda inegavelmente influenciou a cultura mercantil aqui e aumentou o talento armênio para a diplomacia, por padrão, já que o artesanato armênio ainda floresce. Esses talentos vão da joalheria a restaurantes, passando pela produção de vinhos regionais e arquitetos. Essas pessoas podem fazer tudo.

Trocando de cavalo, por assim dizer, e continuando na Rota da Seda, concluímos nossa missão pousando em Dilijan, uma cidade resort florestal nas montanhas que é um parque nacional famoso por fazer caminhadas e se refrescar do calor das terras baixas.

Os 300 dias de sol da Armênia a cada ano, combinados com centenas de montanhas desnudas acima da linha das árvores, fazem dela um dos melhores lugares do mundo para praticar parapente, seja como um iniciante ou como um piloto de vôo único com um profissional.

It seems apropos that my last glimpse of Armenia was from high in the sky, paragliding over the mountains surrounding Lake Sevan. Like eagles, paragliders seek and follow thermal updrafts, and while in the air they both take cues from each other.

Take my cue and trust that the last undiscovered corner of Europe has zero tourist traps resembling the pricey darlings in Western Europe. Yes, an Armenian mission fits on your list—a safe and rewarding option despite the ongoing perils of terrorism in neighboring Turkey.

Visit TATON Travel’s ‘Caravan of Dreams’ along with off-roading adventure experts Gardman Tour. Discover Armenia Tours also knows the way. Ps, multilingual Rafik Santrosyan was the best guide I’ve ever had.


Tatev Monastery's Oil Mill - History

In the summer of 2015 I went to Armenia for my first time. Before I left on that trip I searched the internet for trails in Armenia. The only trail I could find was the Janapar Trail in Nagorno Karabakh known as Artsakh to the locals. This land is historical Armenia and is populated by Armenians. There are many incredible historical Armenian sites to be found here.

After reading about the trail I wondered if this could be a good Mountain Biking adventure. At the time I could not find anyone that had ridden it and really only accounts of a few people who had hiked parts of it. I posted on the Janapar Trail FB page and the administrator Raffi was quick to reply. He was not really very familiar with mountain biking or what was ridable on a bike. I decided I would just have to round up a crew and try it out. I talked to a few friends about it and slowly interest was building. Most of my Armenian friends seemed nervous about going to this war torn region. After all there had been sniper shootings along the border and in April 2016 the Azeris launched a full scale offensive in an attempt to reclaim some of this land. Despite this it seemed as though it was safe to go. The trail is after all not that close to the border.

The two usual suspects my Colombian friends Andres and Julio that have ridden with me in several States and Countries were very interested. Our friend Randy who is from Venezuela and had toured with us in El Salvador and Guatemala also was enthusiastic about joining us. It was exciting to be bringing three non Armenian friends along on this trip. After all most people that I know who visit Armenia are Armenians from the Diaspora.

Luckily my friend Roobik decided to join in on this adventure He was also the only one in our group who had been to Artsakh and is also fluent in Armenian. That would certainly come in handy as we navigated our way through Artsakh on this 150 mile journey.

After reviewing the maps and elevation profile I decided we would do the trail in reverse order from the way Janapar.org had it laid out. We would be starting from Vardenis near Lake Sevan in the Republic of Armenia and finishing in Hadrut n Artsakh. The trail is broken down into 16 segments. The idea is a hiker could walk one segment per day. Segments typically start and stop in villages where people can find supplies and home stays or pitch a tent near the village. Our plan was to ride an average 3 of these hiking segments per day.

The plan was to ride the entire trail. It is 177 miles long and the exact elevation gain was not known but we did know it is a very mountainous region with some dense forest so going in we knew the ride would have a fair share of climbing and would be a challenge.

Another issue is there are no bikes shops in this area so if something were to break this could quickly end the ride. We brought some extra tires, tubes, spokes and the basic tools we might need.

This would be a supported trip and my friend Gevorg Gasparyan from Arevi Travel would carry our gear, transport us to the trailheads and back and arrange a few home stays along the way. All we needed to carry was the days food, water and some basic tools. I also packed a water filter which we only used one day. There are plenty of water sources available so a self supported trip is very doable.

I had met Gevorg on my previous trip to Armenia and he guided our group from the Armenian Hikers Association on a tour of Western Armenia and to the summit of Mt Ararat. He is a great guy and really made this trip work well.

Shortly before the trip a friend found a blog post from a couple who had hiked the entire trail. To my knowledge they were the first people to hike the entire route, Their report came in handy. We decided to skip one segment that they reported was very overgrown and difficult to follow.

Check in was a breeze and checking in the bikes was a breeze! Sometimes traveling with a bike can be a hassle as we are often hit with extra baggage fees. No extra fees were charged with Qatar Airlines. Our bikes were just part of our free luggage.

Arrive in Yerevan at 12:40 am. We were all happy to see all of our bikes and luggage had made the trip. On our trip to El Salvador Randy’s bike got lost and he had to rent a bike to ride. Renting a bike in Yerevan does not seem to be an option at this time. There are a few bike shops with basic supplies. Cycling does seem to be slowly growing in Yerevan and renting a good bike may be an option in the future.

Gevorg picked us up at the airport and drove us to an apartment he had arranged for us near Republic Square. This was a relief since there was no way we were going to fit our bike bags and luggage in a taxi!

As I started putting my bike together I realized my left peddle was missing as was my brand new mount for my phone. I wanted to mount my phone to my handlebar so I could use the View Ranger app to navigate the trail. I thought these items must have been lost when my bike bag was inspected at the airport. A few days after I arrived home I would find them tucked into a zip lock bag in my garage!

We went to a bike shop in Yerevan were I would find a standard platform peddle. This made the ride extra challenging not being able to clip in. Also my bike shoes are not designed for this type of peddle so my shoe did not grip very well and would slide off the peddle occasionally.

Touring around Yerevan. Gevorg picked us up in the morning and we went to the Artbridge Cafe for breakfast then drove to the Garni Pagan Temple

with a stop at the Cherants Arch along the way. We then drove down to see the Symphony of Stones followed by a visit to Gerhard Monastery. These are some amazing places to see! That evening we took a walking tour of Yerevan.

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October 7th First Day of Riding

Vardenis to hot tub near Karvachar

The ride started on the outskirts of town on a dirt road. It started with a gentle climb which was a nice way to ease into this. Jet lag was still a factor, probably more for me than the other guys since I could not sleep on the plane. It was a challenge to climb with the one platform peddle as I knew it would be.

I was a little ways behind the rest of the group and I saw the guys ahead talking with a local farm hand along the road. As I approached him I did not expect him to speak english. He had a bag of snickers bars and he handed me one and said in english. “ Have a snickers you are going to need it.” Apparently the other guys had told him what we were doing.

First small Village we passed through

We passed a few ruins and figured we must now have entered Artsakh and that these were likely abandoned Azeri homes. Since we were on the back dirt roads there was no border station or even a sign to indicate we had entered Artsakh.

The climb got steep near the top of the pass and the temperature dropped. It was still comfortable riding weather just a little chilly on the downhill sections. At 9000’ this would be the highest point on the entire route.

We rode through some incredible scenery and saw some interesting rock formation. These segments are not marked but for the most part the track was easy enough to follow until the village of Tsar. This got a bit confusing there once we got into the ruins of the old village. There were several roads in the area and we realized we were off track but just kept heading towards what looked like some occupied houses. We saw a truck parked near a house and a lady was nearby. We stopped to ask for directions. Roobik tried talking to her in Armenian but found out she did not speak Armenian. She replied to him in Russian and he said to us any one speak Russian. She then said how about English. Her english was very good and she was very friendly and invited us in for coffee and tea but we were pressed for time to make it to our camp site before dark so we had to turn the offer down. She said well at least let me give you some cheese. She ran to the house and came out with a big block of home made cheese. In exchange we gave her some energy bars. She and her Armenian husband were from Moscow and she said it was his idea to move there.

She was a english teacher at the local school. The village had about 40 residents and the school had 10 students. They had power but no running water. Each morning they would get their water from the nearby stream. There was a lot of cattle around so she said the morning was the best time to get water before the cattle became active. She said she had only seen a few hikers through there this year so I imagine having some outside contact was nice.

We came down to the main dirt road to where we found Gevorg was waiting for us. He had water, bananas and other snacks for us. After a quick break we continued down the main dirt road to the Tak Jur (hot springs) We chatted with a few of the locals who told us there was good camping spots just a few kilometers down the road. We decided to continue and set up camp before soaking in the tub. We found a nice grassy flat area along the creek and next to an abandoned house.

We rode back to the hot tub and met some other very friendly locals who were soaking in the tub. It did not take long for them to offer us a drink of Vodka. They told us they were working on the construction project we had ridden by. From what I could understand it was a Geo Thermal power plant. There were new towers going up along the road for the wires. After soaking in the tub for a while the guys decided to take them up on the offer of a drink. They learned a new cheer as they raised there glasses “Anush”

Since I don’t drink, I was concerned with reports of locals offering alcohol to tourists and not taking no for an answer. This was the only time we were offered alcohol during the trip so it was not an issue. We were offered food, coffee and tea many times though.

Back at camp Gevorg found some firewood cooked sausage and potatoes in the fire. We also had some of that home made cheese and Lavash.

A Soldier stopped by this evening around 9:30 pm to check on us. He wrote down Gevorg’s passport and license plate numbers. He was a very nice guy and Gevorg told him what we were doing and the route we would take the next day. He seemed to know the route well. I assume he drives it on his patrols. He said the route would be difficult with very steep climbing.

The temperature dropped last night to around 25 degrees which made it hard to get out of the warm sleeping bag this morning! Everything outside was wet from the heavy dew. We had left over sausage, sweet bread and dried fruit for breakfast.

When we started the ride at 8:45 it was a cool 32 degrees. The skies were clear and the wind was calm. Not far from camp was our first wrong turn of many for the day.

We made our way to Karvachar along the dirt road. We found out later you can easily bypass this village by staying straight along the road that parallels the creek. The trip up to Karvachar Village was well worth it though. The first thing we saw as we rolled up the hill and into the Village were these huge stone wheels. There were four of them and they were hollowed out in the center. Since there were four we thought maybe they were for an ancient wagon but they just seemed to big and heavy for that. Later on during our trip to the Tatev Monastery we found out what they were for. At Tatev they have an ancient vegetable oil mill. To grind the seeds there were big stone wheels with a small log in the center to hold on to and roll the wheel around. There are historic artifacts like this all over the place.

Down the road we saw a Grandma with two little ones. This was Andres’ first chance to pass out candy. On our tour of Cuba the kids would chase us and ask for gum so this time he came prepared. The candy proved to be a big hit. After he gave the candy to them the little girl handed him her apple in exchange.

Once through the village we came down to the same dirt road along the river. We missed our next turn over the bridge and rode a little ways passed. We saw a local guy and Roobik asked him where the Janapar Trail to go over the mountain was. He said to go out to the main road and take that because the road was broken and to difficult to go over the mountain. This is something we would hear often along the way. Most villagers did not seem to know anything about the Janapar Trail and they certainly were not familiar with mountain bikes and the type of terrain we ride with them. Plus Janapar does mean road in Armenian so this may have confused them.

The turn we missed over the Bridge guarded by Geese

We backtracked a bit and found the bridge and followed the track up the steep dirt road. After several miles we came to a remote village. We saw a couple local guys and they yelled out to us. Roobik replied in Armenian. I then heard the guy ask Roobik if he was Armenian. It seems the locals don’t expect to see Armenians doing this sort of thing and would be surprised.

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They were very quick to invite us in and offer us coffee and probably the best berry juice we have ever had! The villagers don’t seem to have much but they are so generous with what they do have. The younger man in the bunch had been studying english online (Yes in this remote village they have internet and wifi) He wanted us to speak to him in english so he could practice. Like many young Armenian men he had dreams of making the lottery for a visa to leave the country and go to the U.S. This is a very harsh reality of the struggles the country still faces with high unemployment and low wages especially in these remote villages. We hung out there for probably an hour chatting. It was definitely to long as we still had lots of ground to cover but mixing with the locals is a great cultural experience and it is hard to pass up or rush through.

As we left they told us it was 4-5 km to the summit. We may have hit a false summit after 4-5 km but the road kept climbing and seemed to be getting steeper and less traveled. We came across new road cuts most likely for the new power line towers. We could see either the old towers laying there or the base for the old tower.

Once we reached the high point the road seemed to end and the track was above us. Randy hiked around looked for a trail but there was no evidence of any trail. We tried a few of the different road options but we would quickly find ourselves off of the track. After an hour or so of searching around for the route I could see more power towers in the distance so we decided to follow these and see where it took us even though we were moving away from the track. After a few miles we were able to hear Gevorg on the radio but he could not hear us so at least we knew were were getting closer. We set up a few landmarks and continued down the road. A few more miles and we could now see a village on the right and and a few houses to the left. These two villages seemed to be 5-10 miles apart. The more defined road took us to the right so we continued down it towards the village. Once we got closer we could see the Village was in ruins. We saw cattle grazing in the Village but we could not see any signs of life.

We continued down to a well used dirt road and tried to call Gevorg with no luck. We now knew the Village of Zuar was the other Village we had seen far off to our left so we turned left on the dirt road and after a few miles we were able to reach Gevorg on the radio. Not long after we came upon the Zuar Tak Jur. It was packed with people soaking in the tub and a few groups barbecuing nearby. One of the first sites we see is three other cyclists and we quickly went over to chat. They were from the Ukraine and were bikepaking from Yerevan. We had trouble communicating but that didn’t matter because we were instantly bonded by our bikes. They asked about our trip and our bikes and we did the same. They took some of our bikes for test rides. Gevorg showed up and was able to translate for us. We also chatted with some locals as well as a couple from Tehran that were moving to Stepanakert.

Party at the Zuar Tak Jur with locals and cyclists from the Ukrain

Gevorg had food and a home stay arranged in Dadivank 15 miles away. It was getting late and would be dark soon so we had to say goodbye and continue our ride. Lucky for us the road was now a slight downhill though it was very rough we made good time. After 11 miles we hit the newly paved road. By then it was totally dark and we followed closely behind the taillights of Gevorg’s van. Since we did not plan on riding at night we did not bring lights. Luckily the road was as smooth as butter and we made good time to the house.

Once at the house it wasn’t long before the good food started coming out and we ate like kings. Our hosts were a mother and daughter. The mother told us she lived in the Azerbaijan capital city Baku before the war. They were lucky to get out alive. Once the war was over the government gave her five houses in Dadivank. One for her and one for each of her children.

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We woke up to some heavy winds that had us concerned briefly. By the time we were ready to roll the wind had almost completely stopped.

Gevorg said hey guys look up the hill. We could see the top of the Dadivank Monastery in the distance. That would be our first stop before continuing the route towards Shushi.

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We had a 12 mile road ride on the smooth newly paved road which went by really quickly. I had my eye on the right side of the canyon and dreamed of a potential trail weaving through the trees up off the canyon floor that would avoid the pavement.

War Memorial for those lost in battle

Of course we missed our turn onto the dirt road at the start of the next segment. We doubled back after realizing it and found the road. The dirt road became steep rather quickly and we struggled to climb steep sections of the road that kept coming for the rest of the day! After a while we came to a small village and asked the locals where the Janapar Trail was. They told us to go to the main road and take that. We said but the map shows the trail going over the mountain not on the pavement. They said you don’t want to go that way it is steep and muddy. Well thats what we are here for so off we went! After a few more wrong turns we found our way. Another few miles and we came across our first Janapar Trail sign!

We stopped along the way a few times to pass out more candy.

Most of the Kids were shy at first

We felt good once we saw the Janapar Trail signs but with the recent logging work going on it was still a challenge to follow the route. Some parts were very muddy and overgrown. We were deep in the forest and the scenery was incredible! Some parts were so steep we had to hike with our bikes.

Hike a Bike section. It’s steeper than it looks!

We came across some spent shells along the trail. It seems this steep road was likely hastily made during the war. A little later we would see the Gandzasar Monaster y in the distance.

A short while later we would see the houses of the Village of Vank. Once we got to the houses some kids came running after us so we stopped and chatted with them. I let one kid ride my bike around.

Can I ride your Bike? This was a common question we would hear along the way

A short while later we met up with Gevorg at a small road side restaurant not to far from the Monastery. We enjoyed some of the local cuisine. It is a Lavash bread stuffed with herbs that is very tasty. It is called Jingalov hats.

We drove up to the Monastery while they prepared Kebob for us.

After visiting the monastery and eating the Kebob we loaded onto the van and drove to Shushi. We decided to skip the section from Vank to Shushi due to reports of it being overgrown.

We spent the night in the Shushi Hotel. We all had the best nights sleep we have had so far during this trip. The ladies at the hotel washed our biking clothes for us and prepared dinner and breakfast the next morning.

Gevorg surprised us with his Piano playing talent.

We skipped segment 6 after Gevorg talked to a local friend who said it was very muddy and blocked by fallen trees and logs. It is the season for cutting of firewood and workmen are busy collecting wood.

We headed out of town on the paved road and then merged onto segment 5 near Karentak. After a few wrong turns we found the start of the segment using View Ranger and then some faded blue marks painted on rocks. The climb was steep in sections as was to be expected by now. The forest was thick through here. Once in a while it would open up to grassy meadows. A few vehicles passed us. One was a large truck likely going to get wood. We could hear the buzz of chainsaws in the distance.

About half way into the segment somehow we missed the trail markers and once again could not find the route. We backtracked looking for the turn but could not find it. The dirt road we were on seemed like a well travelelled road and we could see houses in the distance so we thought that was the town of Avetaranots and the end of the segment. once we reached the houses we stopped to talk with a guy who told us the town was not Avetarnots and that town was down the road about 10 Km. We chatted with him a while. He talked about the war and historical Armenian lands. He mention Tigran the Great and the ancient Tigranagert. Roobik told him we were Armenian – Americans and that Julio and Andres were originally from Colombia and Randy from Venezuela. He said no one knows of the Armenians so it is good we were here so we can go back and tell our friends and family about this place. It was obvious he was a very proud Armenian. He would be the second local we talked to today that seemed very well informed about world politics and geography.

We made our way down the dirt road to Avetaranots. We stopped when we saw the Janapar markers once again. There was a few people near the intersection of the main road and the Janapar and Roobik talked with a few of them. We did not realize but we were in front of a small school. The kids came out and they started to gather around us with curiosity. Andres started to pass out candy.

We talked to Gevorg and he told us he was near Karmir Shuka and had food for us. Now it was easy to follow the Janapar signs and this dirt road seemed well traveled. Gevorg was waiting for us at a beautiful waterfall.

We had lunch, enjoyed the view and then continued riding to the village. Gevorg had arranged a home stay for us with a family. They had one big room with five beds for us to sleep. Gevorg slept in his van. When Gevorg had talked to the lady earlier she said we could stay but she did not have food for us. So he went to the market and bought food for them to prepare.

Gevorg wanted to show us some sites so we took off before dinner.

2000 Year Old Platunus Tree

We returned to our homestay for a nice dinner.

Karmir Shuka to Hadrut Day 5

After another good nights sleep we had breakfast prepared by our host. There are really no other dining options in these villages! Today would be our last day of riding. We talked to two hikers the day before from Israel. The told us that part of the second segment was very overgrown and they did not think we could get through with the bikes but we figured we would try it anyway. After some bushwhacking on segment 3 we decided other wise. After the the first half of segment 2 we came to a junction were we could get on the paved road or take or chances and see if we could get through the overgrown segment. We opted not to chance it and took the paved road. It was also much shorter and we were to the junction where Gevorg was waiting for us near the start of segment #1.

This segment seemed to climb for a very long time. We missed a turn where the trail goes straight up a ridge line. We realized we missed something so we turned around and ran into a local guy who told us the trail went up the ridge right by a cross.

It was steep and overgrown so we pushed our bikes up the ridge and then started to ride down the other side and once again realized we missed the markers. The blue marks are very difficult to see while riding a bike especially on a rocky section like this where you are concentrating on where you are riding.

We stopped and hiked back up to find the markings. From there it was very thick brush and difficult to find the trail. After bushwhacking for a while we found the trail. It was a deep fall line trail that was very eroded and followed the ridgline. We came upon the Khachkar the local guy had told us about. We stopped for a snack and observed what looked like sacrificial animal remains such as chicken claws and plastic bags tied to branches. We continued up the steep ridge line trail that was mainly a deep rut. Sometimes it was to steep to ride so we pushed out bikes up.

This would be the first actual single track trail we would ride so far. Everything else had been dirt roads though some were so overgrown they were about as wide as a singletrack trail. Once at the top we would be treated to some really fun, rocky challenging trail for a few miles into town

Our stats for the trip were 151 total miles in five days of riding with 19,197’ of elevation gain.

We had a few minor mechanical issues along the way. Julio had some issues with his peddle but managed to make it work. Randy had some issues with his rear hub not spinning freely. Luckily neither of these issues became a serious problem.

Its amazing how many edible plants there are everywhere. We saw herbs, vegetables and fruits growing everywhere. There are Turkeys, Geese, Ducks, Chickens, Cattle, Goats and Pigs roaming about. No one is going hungry here! And that smoked fish from Lake Sevan was very tasty!

This was more of an exploratory mission to see what can be improved on the trail and also to get more accurate GPS tracks and stats. I will be working with the Janapar Trail team to improve the trail.

In June 2017 I will lead my friend ultra runner Telma Altoon on the trail. She will run the trail I will ride. This will be a fundraiser to pay for improvements on this trail as well as other trail projects in Armenia. More details on that to come.

Gevorg and I will be organizing two Mountain Bike tours in the summer of 2017 on the Janapar Trail. One will be in June and the second one in September. For more details on these tours or for more information on the trail you can contact me at [email protected]

This is what some of the guys had to say about this trip.

This is what Julio had to say:

Tour de Hayastan – October 4 – 13, 2016

When Hans suggested riding the Janapar Trail, starting in Armenia and then through Karabakh, I felt it was a long distance to travel for our next bike tour. However, Hans had toured Colombia with us in 2015 (my birthplace), so I felt we owed it to him to visit his ancestral homeland. I initially joked that we can simply ride a Tour of Glendale and achieve the same result, but boy was I mistaken!

This trip was special from the very start as we secured very affordable airfare on Qatar Airways during their promotion of flights to Yerevan, Armenia. Our bikes and 3 bags were free on Qatar, along with 3 very good meals and amazing service. We landed in the modern and diverse city of Doha, Qatar before transferring to Yerevan.

Yerevan was very impressive with clean streets, no graffiti, and a very European flair. The food was amazing and even better than I had expected, with very fresh fruits & vegetables, great breads & cheeses, and excellent chicken, lamb, beef and fish. But it wasn’t until we ventured to Karabakh that I truly fell in love with this amazing country. The history of Hayastan was mind blowing as we were blessed to visit numerous ancient monasteries and former war zones. The Armenian people were so gentle, caring, and welcoming that we did not want to leave. Many of them asked us to stay in their homes with them, and we shared meals with families in small villages throughout the country. The majestic mountains, impressive farmland, uninhibited wildlife and perfect weather made us all feel like time had stood still in this patch of heaven. That was even before we experienced some of the best and most challenging mountain biking we’ve ever encountered. By the time the trip was ending I had fallen in love with Stepanakert, Karabakh and Armenia in general, and felt at one with the people and the mountains. My only regret is that more Armenian-Americans haven’t visited this sacred ground, as it is a treasure that has transformed me into a Karabakhian-Armenian forever.

This is what Andres had to say:

Armenia and Karabakh October 2016

In 2004 we started touring on our bikes when we rode 500 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in five days . Since then we have ridden every year, our biking journeys have taken us to six different states (California, Oregon, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, Utah) we have also ridden in Cuba, Mexico, France, Monaco, Spain, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Colombia. We now add Armenia and Artsakh to our list.

We finished our mountain biking trip through Armenia and Artsakh with an epic five day adventure along the Janapar trail. We leave thankful for their hospitality nurtured with their smiles, stories, words of encouragement, and great food along the trail amazed with the country’s beauty, and the people we met along the way.

We rode through amazing mountainous landscapes, rivers, canyons, grasslands, and deep lush forests with beautiful colors. Unknown terrain for all of us, the first known mountain bikers to go through the entire Janapar trail, but even when getting lost (which took place many times everyday) we found great beauty at every turn.

There is a special connection when you travel on a bike Armen, one of the many friends that we met along the Janapar trail might have said it best: “It is good that you came to Armenia, go and tell the world about us, they do not know who we are”. We’ll definitively spread the word…and the pictures. We leave humbled by this experience, the rich history and culture of this great Armenian land…Thank You!


OTB 500K Tour of Colombia

It had been 10 years since our tour of Cuba trip and we had planed to return this year. After checking flight times, ticket prices and the extra fee for bikes we decided against Cuba and agreed on Colombia, the homeland of Andres, Julio and Juan Diego. Julio’s dad Delio also decided to join us.

We booked our flights on Avianca airlines. They have nice planes, good service and bikes fly free. Most airlines these days charge as much as $150 each way for bikes so this was one of the deciding factors on where to go. Avianca also seems to be very timely with their flights. In fact we were enjoying a Pupusa in San Salvador thinking we had some time before our connecting flight when we heard them calling Delio over the P.A. system. We quickly made our way to the terminal to find everyone was already boarded and they quickly got us on the plane.

We arrived safely in Medellin to find all of our luggage and bikes had made it safely as well! Andres’ Cousin, Aunt Rosa and his Friend Miguel were there waiting for us. We headed over to Miguel’s Ranch for dinner and to spend the night. The Ranch was close to the airport so that was nice to not have to drive very far.

11/18 Day one of riding Miguel’s Ranch to Medellin

Ride Stats: 42 miles 3159′ Elevation Gain

We woke up unpacked and assembled our bikes and got ready for the ride. We had a nice breakfast and then a tour of the Ranch. What an awesome place it is!

Miguel had found a guide for us named Nester. An ex pro racer who had traveled all over the world racing. Andres had discussed the rides we wanted to do with him and Nestor planned the rest. Nester showed up as planned at 9:00 am. After introductions and some chit chat we loaded our things in his van and began the ride.

Juan Diego and Nester outside of the Ranch

Today would be our easiest ride of the trip. Julio said lets take it easy as he started to hammer away into the first climb! I guess he was excited and could not help himself!

Not long into the ride it began to rain. The rain would become a regular part of our days. Living in Southern California we don’t have to ride in the rain very often. We were prepared with rain coats I just wished I had brought some clear glasses! I got mud in my eyes on several occasion.

At the plaza of the first town we rode through

We stopped at an old warehouse building that had been converted to a small indoor mall with lots of shops and restaurant. It was a nice place to get out of the rain for a bit and have a hot beverage.

Did I mention the Colombians had matching outfits almost every day!

Coming into Medellin there is a long downhill. It was raining steadily and there was a lot of traffic. Some kids went zipping by us with no helmets on BMX bikes. They were weaving through traffic. It was a little scary to watch. We were told later by Julio’s cousin that this is a regular thing for the local kids. They grab on to trucks and get towed up the hill and then blast down as fast as they can!

11/19 Medellin to Rio Negro

Ride Stats: 91 Miles 6627′ Elevation Gain

Nester sprays some type of heat rub to loosen up the knees

We started in Medellin with a long climb. The road was busy for the first 5 miles and then it started to lighten up. Andres and Julio were charging up ahead and Juan and I hung together trying to keep a good pace for the duration. The cars and buildings became less and less the further we rode from Medellin. The country side was beautiful to see. It was so green and tropical just how I had imagined it would be. We saw street signs warning of Anteaters, Boa, Mountain Bikes and Cattle crossing but all we saw was Cattle!

First time seeing a Mountain Bike crossing sign

For the next hour or so we rode in the heaviest rain I ever remember seeing much less riding in! The entire time there was about an inch of rain covering the surface of the road. Our brakes did not work very well with all the water on them and with the thought of sliding out the downhill sections were challenging.

We came across a small restaurant and pulled in for some hot drinks and snacks while the rain continued to pour from the sky.

We sat there for around 45 minutes and it started to lighten up so we decided to get rolling again. The rain would start and stop in various area. At times it would be pouring and then we would hit the crest of a mountain and drop down the other side and it would be dry.

The end of the ride was in a small town called Rio Negro When we ended the ride at a restaurant for a late lunch. The food and service were great and we all left stuffed!

Yes, its one of those biking trips we gain weight on!

We then had around a two hour drive to the town we would stay in that night. The motel was decent except there was no hot water. Andres said this part of the country is generally very hot so usually a cold shower is good.

11/20 Mariquita to Alto De Letras

Ride Stats: 38.4 Miles 8970′ Elevation Gain. The rest of the crew had 50 miles with over 12000′ of climbing!

The weather felt hot and humid and the grade was steep! It was too steep to get In a good warm up. We met a few other riders and chatted with them a bit before they turned around to head down. The elevation gain was adding up quickly but the mileage was barely ticking away. Julio and Andres were still together up front and Juan and I were together for a while.

It was a tough day on the bike but the scenery was spectacular!

The constant climbing was to much for my back and shoulders so I decided to bail out at 38 miles after 7 hours of riding. Just before I bailed out Juan and another rider we had chatted with at the restaurant caught up to me. The other riders wife was driving support for him. They would continue to the top together.


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