Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday, May 20th, Yerevan, Armenia


In the past two days, we've spent our last day in Georgia, crossed over into Armenia, and traveled to its capital, Yerevan.

On the way out of Georgia, we drove out to South Ossetia (you remember the war there in the late 1980's), and stopped into the town of Gori.  Some of our travelers thought it wrong to visit the Stalin Museum, but we wanted to learn more about how the locals view their once leader.  Built a year after he died, this hometown boy's collection of railroad car, birth home house, and every photo imaginable was very informative.  I was surprised to learn how handsome we way as a young man, and that he began his career as an underground journalist.  He was literally underground in 1905-07 publishing a monthly organizing tabloid in a cave beside a deep well until a curious policeman noticed an unusual lateral draft of air near the bottom of the well.

Next, our bus took us to the ancient cave city of Uplistsikhe.  Pre-Christian Georgia was called Kartli, and this complex of caves was its capital.  From the 6th century BC to the 11th century AD, it held off would be conquerors and challengers to its leadership, and housed thousands of residents.  Pat and I chose only to climb up to the first level, and got lost coming back down.  We saw a terrific video in the museum back at the gate, and will try to locate it for a future post.  This was an important early civilization's origin, and deserves a complete presentation of its value to us.
On Friday, we drove to the Armenian border, and dragged our bags out of Georgia and into our seventh country.  The day was consumed by visits to the Haghpat, Sanahin, monasteries (including seeing two chapels dedicated to the first Bishop of the first country to declare Christianity as its state religion (Gregory and Armenia in 301AD).  We also stopped by the check out a MIG-21 on display in tribute to the town's more recent favorite son, Artyom Mikoyan, who designed Russia's first jet fighter.

And finally, one the way into Yerevan, we came across a huge cross on a hill, constructed in 2001 from 1700 metal crosses to celebrate the 1700 year anniversary of the proclamation of the country's Christianity.

I preferred the one sculptures nearby which depicted and honored the unique letters in the country's alphabet.

To see all of the photos taken in the last two days, click on:
Thursday, May 19th
Friday, May 20th

And to watch a video I made of a terrific dance and musical group we were treated to at dinner on Thursday night, click on:

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