When I went to reconfirm my ticket I was told that the flight day had been changed and I had to leave Yerevan one day later than planed. I wanted to spend that day seeing a place outside Yerevan that I still hadn’t visited. I went to Tatev Travel Agency and they had a tour that suited me well. It was to Ani viewpoint, Gyumri and Marmashen. Normally they visit Gyumri and Marmashen together with another place than Ani viewpoint, but people going on the tour had asked for Ani. The price was 11 000 drams plus 20 dollars extra for the permit to visit Ani viewpoint.
We travelled in a comfortable air-conditioned bus and entrance fee to museums in Gyumri were included and some refreshments.
I was told that the tour was going to take eight hours (9 - 17), but realised during the way it would take much longer (I think it was because of Ani) The first stop was Ani viewpoint and then we went to Gyumri and then on to Marmashen. At 22.55 the bus dropped me outside the opera house in Yerevan, about six hours later than I had been told. Unfortunately I had to cancel a VT-meeting with R-men because I was late.
There are several travel agencies in Yerevan organising daytrips to places around Armenia. I went to Tatev because they had a different program the day I wanted to go and I had been there earlier to buy a bus ticket to Iran.
Katchkars are carved stone crosses (it means cross-stone) and they are a unique tradition to the Armenians and can be found all over Armenia. They are memorial stones with carved crosses, often with a sun disc or rosette below it and with ornaments like leaves and grapes. The Armenians started to make katchkars in the 9th century.
Katchkars can often be seen around monasteries, and often Armenian church walls are decorated with carved stone crosses. The one on the photo is from the church wall in Marmashen.