Our planet is really an incredible place. Although almost every single day scientists wow us with findings which our ancestors solely linked to supernatural powers and gods, the earth abounds in a myriad of mysterious places which are yet to be discovered.
With its modest territory yet rich history and culture, Armenia is a land of enigmas that have been captivating the locals and foreigners for centuries.
So, if you’re one of those curious minds, who delights in unlocking secrets and solving puzzles, let’s start our journey across the most mysterious sights in Armenia.
Top mysterious sights in Armenia: Carahunge
Called “Zorats Karer” and “Karenish” (“Army Stones”) by locals, Carahunge is the Stonehenge of Armenia. And as its better-known “fellow” Stonehenge in England, its origin and early-age functioning is still open to a question.
Located in south Armenia, in the picturesque Syunik marz, Zorats Karer’s mystic energy constantly entices history geeks and just curious minds from all over the world.
The prehistoric monument comprises stone settings, burial cysts and standing stones called menhirs (“men” meaning “stone” and “hir” meaning “long” in the Middle Breton language); all in all 223 stones.
At the first glance, you won’t even conceive that the rock complex served an astronomical observatory centuries ago, according to the most widely-spread hypothesis. Some Armenian scholars even claim it was the oldest observatory in the world! It’s still not proved, however, one thing is for sure: the mystic allure of this site will leave you wondering for a long time ahead.
Top mysterious sights in Armenia: Sevsar
Another possible evidence of Armenians being keen astronomers in the past can be accounted for the ancient petroglyphs found on the slopes of Mount Sevsar (”Black Mount”), located in Gegharkunik marz, north Armenia. Some scholars link the origin of the rock paintings to the arrival of aliens who featured their constellations and stars on the rocks. Indeed, it’s hard to believe that as far back as in the 3rd millennia BC people were able to watch the universe to later depict the cosmic bodies on stones. The exceptional significance of the petroglyphs is evident, but their real message is not yet encoded. However, the very process of immersing into the unknown depths and trying to unveil the secrets of the past can be fascinating!
Top mysterious sights in Armenia: Khndzoresk village
Armenian Stonehenge is not the only enticing site in southern Armenia. History lovers will find it fulfilling to visit Khndzoresk, one of the largest villages in Eastern Armenia. Perched on a steep slope of a canyon, Khndzoresk is a complex of manmade and natural cave dwellings which were inhabited up to the 1950s! Yes, it’s amazing how people carved out their the settlements and resided there for centuries. Apart from the caves, Khndzoresk is home to the Fortress of Khndzoresk, Saint Tadevos Church, Saint Hripsime Church and “Anapat” school-church.
In Khndzoresk, you’ll not only ”dip” into the history but also have an extreme experience: crossing the Khndzoresk Bridge which connects the two parts of the village, is not for faint-hearted. However, besides beautiful Tatev monastery and the world’s longest ropeway, include Khndzoresk in your must-see list in Armenia- it’s only 30 km away from Tatev!
Top mysterious sights in Armenia: Azhdahak Mount
Gegharkunik province is not only home to the charming Lake Sevan and awe-inspiring Sevsar petroglyphs. Here stands the magnificent sleeping volcano Azhdahak – the highest peak of the Geghama Mountains and the third highest summit in Armenia. But the mount is also famous for ancient monuments- vishaps (”dragons”) or vishapakars (”dragon stones”)- which are scattered on its slopes.
The dragon-like stones featured the mythological dragons which according to the old legends blocked the way to the water and demanded a human sacrifice for further access. It’s part of Armenian folklore, indeed. However, remnants of dinosaurs in this territory hint us that the legend perhaps is not ungrounded.
Of course, you’re not going to see any ”Jurassic Period” characters near Azhdahak (though some shepherds claim they do), but you’ll be intrigued to disclose another secret of Azhdahak- a gigantic hole that is far from volcanic origin. While some scholars are sure it’s a trace of UFO, the better substantiated version so far is that it was caused by an asteroid weighing around 300kg. Anyways, it’s up to you to stick to either of the hypothesis or even propose your own one!
Top mysterious sights in Armenia: Zvartnots Temple
Beautifully lounging against the background of biblical Ararat, Zvartnots Temple (to be more precise- what was left of it), is yet another mystery of the Armenian history. Dating back to the 7-8th centuries AD, the temple was exceptional for the time in terms of its height and grandeur. It’s still open to question what caused the destruction of the temple- whether a natural disaster or an architectural error. The last version can be more credible as all the later cathedrals built on the basis of Zvartnots didn’t stand the test of time, either. In any case, even in its present state, standing proudly in ruins, the Zvartnots Cathedral is enthralling and is a must-see during your trip to Armenia.
Already intrigued and itching for revealing Armenia’s secrets? Contact us and we’ll guide you through this amazing country!
Text: Sirvard Amatuni
Images: Levon Karapetyan, Alexey Khoritonov, Edgar Barseghyan, Karen Tokhatyan, Ayas Tour