Armenia could be the Switzerland of the Caucusus, a tranquil alpine retreat enclosed by Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Turkey, the Departures Magazine writes.
The heart of this, the first country to adopt Christianity, lies in its monastic tradition. Of more than three thousand monasteries none is more appealing or more remote than Noravank, sited at the head of a pass in the southern mountains.
A handful of monks convene for the sacred liturgy, afterwards welcoming the few guests under the watchful eyes of a pair of boot eagles circling above. Leopard, lynx and porcupine live hereabouts, and the monastery even has its own ‘holy bear’ residing in a nearby cave, drawn by the odour of sanctity – or possibly the monastic recycling bin.
“Enjoy a lunch of barbecued chicken and plum wine in a carpeted cave restaurant lower down the pass, an indication of growing visitor numbers. With much of the Middle East in flames adventurous travellers are beginning to divert to Armenia, so rich in folklore, topography and cultural treasure,” the Magazine suggests.
Departures is a Luxury Magazine, covering travel, shopping, fashion, design, arts and culture.