Hovhannavank is the nearer of two monasteries north of Ashtarak, both on the edge of the Kasakh River gorge, (the further one being Saghmosavank). The earliest part of the monastery is variously ascribed to somewhere between the 5th and 7th century, although much altered since. The main church (of St. John the Baptist) dates from 1216-21 and has a 'gavit' (narthex) at the west end from 1250. Various sections have required rebuilding, often following earthquakes - including that of 1988. There are various khachkars - typical old Armenian crosses - inside the monastery. The gorge, as at Saghmosavank, lies immediately behind the church.
Saghmosavank is one of two monasteries north of Ashtarak, on the edge of the Kasakh River gorge, (the other being Hovhannavank). The complex consists of two churches, one with a 'gavit' (narthex) at the west end, and a library, all built in the 13th century from 1215 onwards. The gorge lies immediately behind the church. As in most Armenian monasteries, there are various khachkars - typical old Armenian crosses - in and around the monastery.
Samsonavank is located further up in the gorge and from the location standpointit is more beautiful than Hovannavank. Though the church is smaller.
This restaurant is located in the center and offers an excellent variety of local food and music.
Favorite Dish: Do not miss trying Tolma - it was delicious!!!