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Amberd fortress is simply stunning. The site is loved because it is one of the last standing remainders of Armenia’s royal past. As you approach it through steep hairpin turns, you realize that you are up for an amazing sight. The fortress and the adjacent church date to the 10th century, the fortress was partially destroyed by Mongol invaders around year 1236. In its golden years it was a primary defense point for the ancient Armenian capital Ani. Amberd sits on the tip of a promontory, that safeguards it with 100 m steep cliffs on three sides. The view is mesmerizing, as you gaze down into a deep valley, you realize how powerful the nature is. Remember your hiking shoes: a moderately easy hike will take you all the way up to Kari Lake (Stone Lake) near the south peak of Mt. Aragats. It starts by the Northern gate, there you will also find the sign describing the route. The 10 km path rises from an elevation of 2120 m to 3190 m. When driving to Amberd, make sure to stop by the Alphabet stones. 39 giant letters of the Armenian alphabet, carved from tufa, traditional Armenian stone, are scattered around a small field. The alphabet was created by Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD, you will find his statue in the field. Yes, we have our own alphabet and no, it does not look like anything else :) This fact usually draws stunned looks. Directions: Drive up M3 highway and turn left by the Alphabet stones, follow the road until you reach the intersection with directions spray painted on the road, one leads you to Amberd, the other to Kari Lake and Mt. Aragats.
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