Friday, November 26, 2010

My 2-day road trip. Day 1 - the longest aerial tramway in the world and Tatev

I just realized several of my favorite wishes.
  1. A long road trip with nice people and music
  2. Visiting south of Armenia, Tatev Monastery and getting on the world's longest aerial tramway
  3. Visiting Artsakh - the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

The Road Trip
I love long journeys. On a plane, train, car.. whatever. I always enjoy the way, the process of getting into the destination. Especially having things to do (listening to music, reading, writing etc) or people to chat with.
When the way is longer than the stay, you have no choice but to enjoy it, otherwise - it's not worth the time spent.
This time we managed to travel to Artsakh and back in 2 days.
It was very intense. Too many hours of rapidly changing scenes, new places, experiences and feelings. But I've enjoyed it all.

Reviving Tatev 
the ticket (roundtrip costs 3000 AMD)
I've always felt myself something between retarded and underprivileged for the fact that I've never been to south of Armenia (further south than Noravank) and never been to Tatev Monastery. Now I feel special and quite privileged. I have been on the Guinness certified world's longest aerial tramway "Wings of Tatev" only couple of weeks after the opening.

The aerial tram was quite nice, not scary at all. The journey is 11-15 minutes long and the highest point is about 300m. The tram can fit 25 people at once and when we were there, it was full with villagers who are allowed to travel on it for free.

the Halidzor station
view from the tram
the second tram on its way back to Halidzor
an old road as seen from the tram
Then we arrived to the Tatev Station.
Tatev station of the aerial tramway
...and I finally saw it. One of the most magnificent sites in Armenia.
Inside the monastic complex
It was nice to see many restoration works being carried out there. They were restoring the old oil mill and visitors had the chance to see a 3D model presentation of how it used to work.
visitors in the old oil mill watching the video
This place is becoming a trending touristic zone due to the "Tatev Revival" project. "The wings of Tatev" was  the first step towards the implementation of this major project which includes also:
(1)   Restoring the monastery structurally, spiritually, academically
(2)   Developing community-based tourism in the six villages surrounding the monastery
(3)   Building tourism infrastructure - a hotel across the valley from Tatev and the world's longest aerial tramway spanning the Vorotan River Gorge

A friend of ours who was there a week before, had told us not to miss the cafe that is located inside the Tourist Information Office near the monastery. Yeah, just like that. Why not? :) By а strange but pleasant coincidence we met our friend right there, while trying to locate that Info Office. There we had an amazing homemade dinner in a cozy atmosphere, then some great gingerbread-like cookies.

Then we traveled back to Halidzor station on the last tram for the day (departing 17.30).

And then we continued our trip to Artsakh.

1 comment:

historygeo said...

Hi:That's a great topic my friend,
I am very grateful for this information and valuable pictures ... at least now I know an idea for your beautiful country Armenia.
Take care a. Thanks