"The Treasure Mountain Monastery" Xankandi Sahari by jorgejuansanchez
Xankandi Sahari Travel Guide: 3 reviews and 21 photos
I had my Nagorno Karabakh visa in Erevan, for a duration of only four days, for which I paid 50 US Dollars, but when I crossed the border between Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh I learnt that I could have obtained the visa in that post, and much cheaper.
In the bus to Stepanakert there were some young men who were studying in the University of that city. In one of the stops we had lunch together. I was the only foreigner in the bus and they were interested to know the purpose of my visit to their country. I said to them that I travel to learn.
After having lunch together they invited me to stay with them in the university dormitory, for free. I agreed.
Stepanakert is today Nagorno Karabakh capital. The city was founded in 1917, after the October Revolution in Russia, on a village called Khankendi. It was so named in honor to Stepan Shahumyan, an Armenian communist leader.
I administrated my four days visa as follows: I would spend the first two days in Stepanakert, the third day I would visit Shushi, and the last day would be devoted to the Monastery of Gandzasar.
Stepanakert was a very pleasant city, while Shushi was famous for being an Armenian cultural center, until 1920, when Azerbaijan troops, joined by the Azerbaijan population of that city, killed between 20.000 and 30.000 Armenians in a horrible pogrom.
But the visit dearer to me was the last one, the one that I made to the monastery of Gondzasar, which name means Treasure Mountain, for sheltering relics belonging to Saint John the Baptist and his father Zachariah.
The monastery was erected during the X century and its cathedral was built in at the beginning of the XII century. The whole complex of the monastery represents a masterpiece of Armenian architecture.
During the bombing of the monastery during the year 1991, by the Azerbaijan Army, it was damaged, and the Prior house was destroyed. But after the war and the victory of the Armenians, it was reconstructed.
I travelled by bus to Vank, which in Armenian language means Monastery. From the bus stop I had to climb to the top of a mountain were the monastery was located.
I enjoyed very much that monastery and spent several hours in it, just resting, watching its reliefs and walking around the lovely nature that encircles that holy place.
In the afternoon I returned to Stepanakert, invited to a typical restaurant to have dinner with delicious Armenian wine to the students who offered me to share their dormitory, and the next day I travelled back to Erevan.
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