Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ancient Churches near Yerevan

Today was the last day of our TransCaucasus tour, led by the incomparable Roger Williams for Wilderness Travel. (Some of us are continuing on an extension to Nagorno-Karabakh.) To commemorate the occasion, and the day of the week (Sunday), we visited three historically important religious sites.

Zvarnots, a 7th C cathedral, now almost totally destroyed but still monumental, 
and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
As an added dividend, Mount Ararat stands proud in the distance.

Architects have build a scale model (about 3 feet high) of the original,
cleverly mounted on an expanding table that enables a look at the interior.

St. Hripsime Church, also a 7th C UNESCO Site. According to Wikipedia,
"Hripsime, along with the abbess Gayane and thirty-eight unnamed nuns, 
are traditionally considered the first Christian martyrs in Armenia's history."

White roses in an alcove of a crypt containing a coffin with the bones of St. Hripsime

Gate of Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church 
(sort of like the Vatican). The cathedral building was originally constructed in 301 AD, 
making it the oldest church in the world.

Part of the ceiling of the Etchmiadzin Cathedral. 
These decorations remind me of the calligraphy in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

The young woman was dressed inappropriately for the Sunday worship service,
and was chastised by the woman guardian in white.

In the mid-afternoon, Yerevan experienced an unexpected thunderstorm.
The merchants in the flea market across from our hotel scurried to protect their wares.

Reflections on a shiny sidewalk near our hotel, after the rain.
I'm reminded of the reflections in the canals of Venice.

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