Ararat, Armenia

Ararat region is situated in the southeast of Armenia, southward of the city of Yerevan. Being the most fertile territory of Armenia it includes the adjoining verdant valley of the River Arax. The biblical Mount Ararat, whose highest peak is 5,165 meters appears with all its greatness and beauty. Despite the fact the mountain is in the territory of Turkey it is the symbol of all the Armenians.

The excavations done in Ararat region yielded the ruins of the town of Dvin. Subsequent excavations revealed numerous architectural monuments and complexes. The first one was a monument of the 5th century erected to the memory of Grigor the Illuminator. In its time St Grigor the Illuminator Cathedral was the largest. Being built in the 3rd century as a dome staked with a pair of columns, it was reconstructed into a Christian church in the 4th century.

Khor Virap

The Khor Virap (meaning "deep dungeon" in Armenian) is a very famous pilgrimage site located in the Ararat province of Armenia, only 30 km south of Yerevan. The monastery stands in the Ararat plain and offers a spectacular view of biblical Mount Ararat. Khor Virap is the sacred place where Saint Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 13 years.

After healing King Trdat III from a heavy disease, Saint Gregory the Illuminator initiated the conversation of the king himself and the whole country of Armenia into Christianity. In 301, Armenia became the first officially Christian nation in the World. Today you can visit both the chamber where the patron saint of Armenia was imprisoned and the beautiful 17th century church of Surb Astvatsatsin.