Sanahin & Haghpat

Mikoyan St, Alaverdi, Armenia Mikoyan St, Alaverdi, Armenia
UNESCO hiking monastery
Sanahin & Haghpat. Alaverdi, Armenia

Welcome to Lori! Entering this region from the M-3 highway you realise what awaits you - a huge valley, fields of grass and green mountains with a lonely road winding through. Your most important stops in Lori are the monasteries of Haghpat & Sanahin, both featured on the UNESCO World Heritage list, as well as the impressive monastery of Odzun, the oldest in the region. Make a hat trick and see all three of them. On your way you will pass through the cities of Spitak and Vanadzor, the first was completely destroyed in the 1988 earthquake, and huge graveyard by the metal church now stands as a sad reminder of the past. Vanadzor is a large, industrial city - the many abandoned factories are a Soviet legacy and those still operating are sadly adding to the already polluted grounds. Sanahin dates back to 966 AD and is older than Haghpat by a few years, a fact that is even reflected in its name which translates to - “This one is older than that one”. Here you will find a unique bell tower from 1211 that is the oldest of its kind in Armenia. Haghpat is built on top of the Debed river gorge, it is unique because part of the church is built into a hill, so from the back side just the tower of the church seems to be sticking out from the ground. Haghpat was an important learning center in the medieval ages. Both monasteries are extremely rich in khachqars, you will find more than 80 of them. Make sure to take the time and walk around the area. There is a 10 km hiking trail leading from Haghpat to Sanahin, although not a very obvious one, so it is recommended to have a local guide, detailed map or to join a hiking group.

UNESCO hiking monastery

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