SYUNIK

   Syunik Marz contains some of the most dramatic scenery in Armenia, and is home to some of the most important historical and cultural remains. Little explored archaeologically, the region, is a wilderness of high mountains of Zangezur range cut by huge, deep river gorges which dominant features are Vorotan, Voghji, Tsav and Meghri. The southern tip of the country, around Meghri, can be reached now only over a high and often foggy or snowy pass, its normal, easy access through Nakhichevan along the Arax River now cut off by politics. The roads are being steadily improved, but you should count on a full day to reach Meghri from Yerevan. Unquestionably, however, the trip is worth it, in terms of natural beauty and cultural riches. Important destinations in Syunik include the standing stones near Sisian, the Sisavan church of the 7th c. in Sisian, the large 7th c. funerary monument in Aghitu, the cave-dwellings of Khndzoresk, Tatev Monastery, the spectacularly sited religious capital of S Armenia, Vorotnavank, Vahanavank, the natural monuments such as Satanís Bridge on the road to Tatev, the waterfall of Shaki, the waterfall of Karchevan, the nature preserves such as Sev Lich and Shikahogh.  Another sites that are recommended  to visit are: a 5-6th c. church near Spandarian, Neolithic dolmens, medieval churches (S. Astvatsatsin, S. Stepanos, S. Hazaraprkich, S. Vardan) and unusual khachkars in the limites of Angeghakot, S. Stepanos Protomartyr church and ruines of a medieval castle in Shaghat, the ruines of Shakivank monastery in Shaki, the S. Grigor church of 1704 with a gavit/cupola of 1848 housing tombs of the Melik Tangi family in Brnakot, ruined medieval castle and bridge near Hatsavan, Tanahati vank church of the 5th c. near Arevis, cyclopean castle near Uyts, medieval cemetery near Tolors, Bronze Age Megalithic monuments and a ruined S. Sargis church in Aklatyan, an Orbelian princeís tombstone of 1321 and medieval churches in Bnunis, a 17th c. bridge near Vaghatin, the 9-14th c. khachkars and 1855 bridge in Vorotan, the Vorotnaberd fortress of the 5-18th c. near Shamb, a church and a shrine of 1347 in Ltsen, the ruined S. Astvatsatsin church of the 13th c. built by prince Tarsayich Orbelian and his wife Mamakhatun and the so called Arzumani bridge of 1680 in Darbas, the so-called Spitak Khach khachkar monument of 1271 in Lor, important prehistoric petroglyphs on the slopes of mountain Mets Ishkhanasar N from Ishkhanasar, the ruined Kotrats Caravansaray of 1319 and a 13th c. bridge near Harzhis, the famous medieval cave-dwellings and the 18th c. house of meliks (notables) in Goris, the interesting remains of the Old Khndzoresk largely hewn into the soft rock, S. Hripsime church of 1663 and the 17th c. Anapat hermitage with the tomb of Mkhitar Sparapet in the limits of Khndzoresk, the 4-5th c. church rebuilt in later times, fine khachkars and old houses including the 18th c. mansion of Melik Barkhudarian family in Tegh, large S. Hripsime church built in 1621 on 5th c. foundations in Verishen, cyclopean structures, remains of medieval fortress and the 10th c. water channel remains near Brun, the famous Tsitsernavank monastery of the 5-17th c. near Khnatsakh, ruined medieval castle of Khanapa near Khot, fine, tall 16th c. khachkar in Shinuhayr, the 17th c. church and the Vanasar site with khachkars in Halidzor, Tatev hermitage of the 17th c. and Tsuravank monastery of the 10-17th c. in Tatev, the Tsuraberd ruined fortress near Svarants, the 10-13th c. monastery in Tandzatap, the 17th c. church in Aghvani, the 17th c. church and medieval fort ruines in Tandzaver, the 10-14th c. Ghazarants hamlet with S. Astvatsatsin church near Verin Khotanan, Melik-Stepanian family tomb in Arajadzor, the 17th c. church and medieval fort in Dzorastan, the 10th c. church in Okhtar, the 17th c. Horomants church near Gharatgha, the 10th c. S. Hripsime church in Antarashat, the 10-11th c. church in Shrvenants, the Bgheno Noravank monastery of the 10th c. and the Karkopi S. Minas church of the 17th c. near Bardzravan, the 10th c. ruined grave monument and medieval bridge in Davit Bek, the 6th c. Yeritsavank church, a small 9th c. church with 11th c. khachkars and 4-1th c. BC fortress ruines near Artsvanik, the 10-17th c. churches in Sevkar, the ruines of the 10-13th c. churches near Yegheg, White Spring Cross (Spitak Aghbyuri Khach)  church  with 10-19th c. khachkars and remains of a medieval market near Yeghvard, a church built in 1629 by Grigor Ustan and the 12-13th c. funerary monument in Uzhanis, the Chorekdrni Vank church near Khdrants, the 17th c. Halidzor fortress with church remains within near Kapan, the 10th c. church and a 16-17th c. bridge in Chakaten, the 17th c. S. Hripsime church in  Srashen, the medieval Aghjkaberd and Ghazaghan castles near Tsav, the 10-13th c. Ashaghui Vank church in and Greek church and Achanan castle near Achkhlu, the ruines of the famous Baghaberd castle-the capital of the Syunik kingdom in the 12th c. near Davit Bek, the ruines of Geghi castle and a 10th c. church near Geghi, the 17th c. church in Kard, the 5-6th c. Katoghike church in Lernadzor, the S. Stepanos domed basilica of the 17th c. in Tashtun, two 17th c. bridges on the Meghri river, one 17th c. bridge on the Arevik river, and the 17th c. S. Karapet and Dzvaravank churches in Lichk, the 17th c. church and bridge in Vank, the 17th c. Astvatsatsin church in Kaler, the 17th c. church in Thkkut, the 17th c. S. Gevorg and Karmravank churches in Vahravar, the 17th c. Astvatsatsin church in and Kakavaberd castle ruines near Gudemnis, the small 17th c. S. Sargis church in Kuris, the 18th c. Astvatsatsin church in Karchevan, the fortress of Meghri (10-18th c.), S. Astvatsatsin (17th c.), S. Sargis (17th c.) and Meghru Vanki S. Hovhannes (15-17th c.) churches in Meghri, five 14-17th c. churches in abandoned villages of Malyev, Upper Malyev, Apkes and Tos near Alvank, the 17th or 18th c. aqueduct in Shvanidzor. The little hotel in Sisian, though shabby, is a clean and satisfactory place to spend a night or three. The hotel in Kapan is adequate. Every road offers beautiful streams or sacred spring sites, often with covered picnic tables, by which to pitch a tent. Due to its rough terrain and isolation, Syunik stayed relatively autonomous under the control of local Armenian notables long after the rest of the country had been incorporated in Mongol, Turkish or Persian fiefdoms. It was a hotbed of insurrection under Davit Bek, and the last redoubt of independent Armenia in 1921 under Garegin Nzhdeh.