HAGHPAT (Հաղպատավանք)

Our first stop in Armenia was a beautiful monastery occupying a commanding position overlooking the Debed gorge. Founded around 976 by Queen Khosrvanuch, who funded the construction of the domed Church of the Holy Cross (Surp Nishan) at the center of the complex, it saw a building boom in the 12th and 13th centuries. Surp Nishan’s frescoes, the porch, gavit, bell tower, library, and chapter house were added. The monastery’s name means “huge wall,” acknowledging its hefty fortifications. Other buildings in the complex include two 11th-century churches and a freestanding 13th-century gavit at the rear of the site.

Travel Tips
After easy passport control, we got a headache at customs, they wanted to register our truck and scooter, but they were unsure how to register a “camper style” truck. They came with a piece of handwritten paper that we had to pay 60000 AMD + 10000 AMD + 5500 AMD. Since we are not a commercial truck, we refused to pay, and after some lengthy negotiations, they agreed to get only 15500 AMD + 600 AMD processing fee at the next Ararat Bank counter. The whole horrible procedure took us three hours. After that, we did exit the border area and chose one from many little insurance booths. It was a quick procedure. We paid for the truck and our scooter 8000 AMD for each (one-month insurance). We also bought our Ucom sim cards (5000 AMD / month / unlimited data). There is no money changer, so it is better to change some cash at the customs area at the Ararat Bank counter. Then we hit the road towards Debed river gorge. Be ready for roads in super bad conditions and crazy drivers. Also, it’s not easy to find reliable gasoline stations; the only acceptable is the Russian diesel (not Iranian) sold as EuroDiesel; in Ijevan, we paid 650 AMD / liter, and in Goris, 570 AMD /  liter.

Parking location – Haghpat: 41.091823N 44.707625E (🚻 – 100 AMD)