Our next stop was Haghartsin monastery, hidden in a verdant valley, just 13km northeast of Dilijan. It was built between the 10th and 13th centuries and has three churches, one named for Gregory the Illuminator, another for the Virgin Mary, and the third for St Stephen. The monastery was built by order of two brothers, princes of the Bagratuni kingdom, and their family seal can be seen on the back of St Stepanos. There are stunning khachkars, a sundial on the wall of St Gregory, a ruined gavit, and a refectory with a lovely arched ceiling. Unfortunately, the monastery lost its ancient look during a recent restoration, apparently sponsored by the Sheikh of Sharjah in the UAE.

Parking location – Haghartsin: 40.802560N 44.891264E (🚻)