Why to go to Noravank
Having the most positive impression by the Geghard Monastery we decided to follow Rubens advice and visit another monastery: Noravank. He told us that Noravank is built in such a beautiful place we should not miss it. We would find it surrounded by spectacular high cliffs of red rocks that make the this place unique. Especially in the evenings when the golden sun sets the mountains on fire, this place must be magical. Ruben told us that his team of mountain climbers comes especially to these mountains for climbing.
How to get there
The monastery is about 120 km southeast of Yerevan . Many tour operators have this monastery in their program; also there might be public transport. We made our decision quite spontaneously in the morning of the very same day, so we had to go on a private tour with car and driver organized by our hotel. I took us about 90 min, without the traffic jam in Yerevan.
And indeed it was worth going there. Already the road to Noravank is eye-catching with its rock walls of golden stone on both sides. The monastery itself is a spectacular sight in midst the high cliffs. Noravank has two churches, dating back to the 13th century, and a rich collection of Khachkars (Cross-Stones). The grandest church of the complex, Surb Astvatsatsin, has two floors, and the unique feature here is that the second floor can only be reached by climbing the very narrow stairs outside the church on both sides of the main entrance on the ground floor. This bears quite some danger and difficulty but most people succeeded.
After visiting we had some very nice dinner in the restaurant located where the road to Noravank turns off from the main road. At this point, there are restaurants on both sides of the road, we chose the right one. The left one has a swimming pool with slides which is very tempting on hot summer days.