Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery



Republic of Armenia

October 17, 2012


Armenia is best described as a landlocked, mountainous country.

If you are a 1st Century King, or a 4th Century Priest, you naturally choose a mountain top or mountain side for your spiritual home.

The Hellenic Garni Temple was built by King Trdat I and dedicated to Mitra, the sun god.  The temple stands atop the Avan Gorge, carved by the Azat River below. 

The Geghard Monastery, named after the holy lance that pierced Christ’s side at the crucifixion, stands above a steep canyon.   Remarkably, the chapels are hewn from raw rock.

Echmiadzin: The Vatican of Armenia


The Republic of Armenia

October 18, 2012

John Yavroyan

New York, New York


Dear John,

cc: Armenian Friends and Friends around the World 

Thank you for encouraging me to visit Echmiadzin (Descent of the Only Begotten Son of G-d).  Here in 340, Christianity was adopted by the Armenian nation.  Echmiadzin is known as the ”Vatican of Armenian Apostolic Church.”   

The main cathedral, Mayr Tachar, is an impressive structure.  The dome gleams into the sanctuary.  The bell tower has rich carvings that date from the Seventeen Century.

Noravank Monastery



October 18, 2012


Robin, the receptionist at the Yerevan Delux Hotel, made what turned out to be an excellent suggestion.

Since my plan was to drive south from Yerevan, Robin recommended I visit the Noravank Monastery.

The Monastery sits high in the mountains but getting there was the best part of the trip.   Off the main highway, the drive took me through a deep and colorful valley at the base of a defile – a long narrow passage in the rocks. 

Mysterious Jewish Cemetery


Republic of Armenia

October 19, 2012

Dear Family and Friends, 

 My grandfather, Herman Poláček, had a dry and sometimes biting sense of humor.   Yet, he always delivered his remarks with a twinkle in his eye and a broad, devilish grin that spread from ear to ear across his round Slavic face.

When my Grandmother poured him a cup of coffee, black as night, he took a sip, smiled and said, “Warm ist es.”  (At least it’s warm.)   When she served a delicious Czech-style meal, he laughed and said, “Die bidienung ist sehr schlecht hier.”  (The service is not so good here.)

After he had purchased a burial plot he proudly and comically announced, “Es hat eine gute Sicht.”

Lake Sevan



October 19, 2012 

Dear Friends and Neighbors around the World, 

In southern Armenia, I was determined to get a glimpse of Lake Sevan.   And maybe have a coffee on the shores.   I accomplished both goals, but in a surprising manner. 

I drove north from Yeghegnadzor, through the Yeghegis Valley and then through the Selim Mountains, over the Selim Pass (2410m – 7907 ft).  As I descended from the pass I got my first sighting of Lake Sevan.   In the distance the water seemed an unusual shade of light blue.

Zarats Karer


Southern Armenia

October 20, 2012 

Dear Friends, 

Did you know that there is a special field in modern science called “archaeo-astronomy?”   

Of course you did.  And so did I. 

Who are the archeologists who decipher the astronomical and mathematical functions of Machu Picchu in Peru, or Chichen Itza in Mexico, or Stonehenge in England, or Karnak in Egypt?  Why archaeo-astronomers, of course!

Now I’m no scientist.   I’m just a traveler who likes to see the sights.  So when I read about Zarats Karer in southern Armenia, I made a slight detour at Sisian.