Ardent Armenia.

Inside the monastery at Geghard.

For over 1700 years, Armenia has been a Christian country.

A church destroyed by the 1988 earthquake in Mets Sariar.

The Armenian Apostolic Church traces its origins all the way back to the missions of Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the 1st century.

Its religious culture informs and infuses every aspect of Armenia’s tortured history, and explains the isolation and vulnerability of this small country straddling Europe and Asia.

Khachkars, or prayer stones were places to worship when churches were inaccessible.

There is no better way (besides eating) to experience the unique character and enduring tenacity of Armenia than to visit its churches and monasteries.

The treacherous steps at Noravank remind Armenians that it’s difficult to go up to God, but harder to move away from Him.

A baptismal font.

I’m leaving beautiful Armenia with images I’ll never forget.

Next stop, Cambodia and Vietnam!!

Categories: Armenia, Heifer International, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 31 Comments

Post navigation

31 thoughts on “Ardent Armenia.

  1. Marvelous photos of fantastic places. Thanks for all you have shown us of Armenia.
    I know khachkarim from Jerusalem, but only as embedded in walls; nice to see yours as really standing stones, and with color.

    • Thanks, Dina — I am intrigued by the khachkarim in Jerusalem — these prayer stones in Armenia were everywhere!!

      • Mkrtich

        Hello from Armenia!
        Thank You Bett for such beautiful photos and unique way of describing my country!
        -Dina, to give you know, the word “khachkar” is formed by two Armenian roots: “khach” (cross) and “kar” (stone). Khachkars originated in the beginning of the 4 th century right after the adoption of Christianity.

  2. graciousanddangerous

    Looking forward to your adventure in Vietnam and Cambodia. 🙂

    • Thanks, GAD — and Mkrtich, I just love when folks add comments that really explain things, or add to my knowledge… I really adored my time in Armenia and hope I get a chance to return … SO much to explore, understand and SEE!

  3. Beautiful pictures, especially the light behind the door. All that stone and history I need to look at a map and see the location. Can’t wait to see Vietnam n Cambodia!

    • I loved that door — couldn’t believe how magical it looked when I saw the photo afterwards!!! Dont’ you just love all the textures?! Armenia was very, very beautiful!

  4. eric

    Thanks for your outstanding job in Armenia, have a safe trip

  5. Martha Radatz

    Lovely, lovely pictures. I particularly liked the steps leading up/away from God. I assume that’s not the only way into the church? I traveled to Cambodia & Vietnam last year, so am looking forward to your observations!

    • Martha that IS the only way into the church! I had to go up there, of course, and it was a bit non-OSHA … anybody could topple off at any minute, the steps were about 1 foot high each and only about 2 1/2 feet across so you were literally hugging the wall … how fun!!

  6. Deb Morrow Palmer

    You are also a very accomplished photographer!! Beautiful I also love the light behind the door, and love the concept of the stairs.

  7. Nancy

    The door is very moving.

  8. Interesting post with some beautiful photos.
    I was fascinated to learn that people could worship at the Khachkars, or prayer stones when churches were inaccessible.
    Can’t believe that young man is actually walking down that staircase at Noravank. My god there’s nothing to hold onto for support!

    My favorite photo is the one above the stairs, of the monastery -or is it a church – at Noravank. All those brown rocks/stones next to each other ie the building, the mountain behind it, and the stone wall on the bottom right.

    • I LOVED Noravank– it’s like being in Utah with all these giant rock faces, so beautiful and then the monastery which has been there so long — it’s really, really lovely! I also loved the idea of the khachkars, and the people really do pray at them — and always have — plus, they are everywhere!!

  9. Amazing photographs, Betty. I can’t understand how those prayer stones were carved — such hard material, yet they’re so intricate. How did they do it?

    • You always ask the BEST questions, BB — I have no idea how they carve them — I assume with rock-cutting tools, but for some reason they always reminded me of Ireland, with the gravestones there. Something Celtic about the feeling, don’t you think??

  10. Wow, Betty, the prayer stones are stunning, and stairs look dangerous. I’d be sure to fall! Hope you have a great weekend, my friend.

    • The stairs were a bit of a challenge, especially with a camera jostling around from my neck, but I found you just had to not think about it — and since it was the only way to get up there & so pretty inside, I was going to do it no matter what! But it WAS harder coming down, no question!!

  11. Love it! I’m not a religious person but boy do I love religious architecture. Always so inspiring and moving, full of life and craftsmanship and detail.

    • Dear FF — I was so moved by these places … even if you’re not a believer, you can’t help but feel the sacred emotions of these monasteries and churches– the wrecked one in Mets Sarien was particularly poignant. So happy you’re following!

  12. Lovely photo’s and I look forward to seeing Cambodia and Vietnam soon through your eyes.

  13. Susannah

    Have enjoyed reading about Heifer and Armenia. Great pictures on this post.

  14. Thanks, Susannah — Armenia is VERY photogenic!!!

  15. Wow Armenia really looks like a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit
    and sources back to your blog? My website is in the very same area of interest as yours and my users would definitely benefit from
    some of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Regards!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: