It was a grey day, when we crossed the border to Armenia, but it was easy to get all the formalities done, including getting an insurance for the car and a SIM card for internet connection at one of the shops just behind the border. Concerning Covid a vaccination was sufficient, otherwise a PCR test would have been required.
Our first stop was at Akhtala, during Soviet time an industrial town, with an old castle and church on top of a cliff. When we took the turn off from the main road, we noticed the old cable car, which once connected the settlement on top of the mountain with the valley.
A thick wall with an entrance gate protected the castle, which was built in the 10th century. The monastery inside the castle was founded in the 12th century. The church is known for its frescos.
We will be travelling along the valley of the River Debed now, where many old monasteries are hidden. Tomorrow we want to visit as many as we can endure. The church of Akhtala was already a foretaste, of what we will see the next days, and we are looking forward to it! More on our next post.