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Vorotnavank Monastery

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XI AD - Syunik Marz

Vorotnavank - general view

A highly recommended route leaves Sisian to the SE following the main road through the village on the E side of the river. The road turns left uphill, and ends at a T junction just past a stop sign. Turn right at the T, and follow the road SE. Just before the village of Aghitu (335 v.), you see on the left the remains of a substantial Muslim cemetery. The village, better known as Aghudi, has a large restored 7th c. funerary monument W of the road. S of the village on a hill are remains of Berdategh ruined castle. There is also a Middle Bronze Age tomb field. From Aghitu, a fork left allegedly climbs to Noravan (482 v., founded 1928), and thence to the main Sisian-Goris highway. Staying on the main road through Aghitu, a few km beyond, take the right fork (left goes to Vaghatin, 388 v., till 1991 Azeri village of Vagudi), which soon provides a splendid view of the Vorotan gorge and Vorotnavank*. This fortified monastery sits, right of the road via a paved driveway about 8.5 km from the stop sign, on a promontory overlooking the Vorotan. The main S. Stepanos church was built in AD 1000 by Queen Shahandukht, and the adjoining S. Karapet church was built in 1007 by her son Sevada. The dome of S. Karapet collapsed in the earthquake of 1931. There are interesting carved gravestones in the cemetery. One of the churches is allegedly good for snakebite. From the monastery, the road winds down to a bridge. Staying on the N side of the river, a road goes to Vorotan (183 v.), with 9-14th c. khachkars and a bridge of 1855 built by Melik Tangi, the Brnakot notable, and thence to Shamb, with hot springs that local Peace Corps volunteers have successfully bathed in during the winter. [This paragraph is from the Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook.]

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