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Tours - Medieval Armenia - Dvin-Khor Virap-Zangakatun-the house-museum of Paruyr Sevak-Vayq

Dvin used to be one of the ancient capital cities of Armenia. It was founded in the first half of 4th century and was the prominent city in its time in the east. It was the center of craftsmanship and transit commerce. Six principle roads met at cross-sections in this city. These roads played a crucial role in Armenia to develop trade with Asia Minor, South Europe, North Caucasus, Middle East and countries of North Africa. The residence, with its churches and patriarchate, of the Patriarch of Armenia was erected in the central district of Dvin. In 1236 Dvin was invaded by Tatar Mongols. Although it was looted and burned, it managed to survive one more century.

This was the last time the city of Dvin had been mentioned in one of the Georgian chronicles together with other ruined cities. In the place of the ruined city several small villages were built which have survived untill present days. The ruins of Dvin are spread over the present Verin Dvin in Artashat region, Nerqin Dvin, Hoghaberd, Hnaberd, Verin Artashat, Norashen, Bzovan, Aygestan up to villages of Kanachut and Aygezard. As in its time Artashat conceded its priority to another city, as a result of the historical development Dvin also conceded its place to another capital. The new capital after Dvin was «universal» and «mothercity» Ani.

Khor Virap, a 4th Century complex overlooking the Biblical Mr. Ararat is situated in the Ararat Region of Armenia. In place of the present day Monastery/Castle, there once stood the Royal Prison. Virap, where the convicts were kept, used to be a deep trench infested with venomous snakes and insects. According to legend, the pagan King Trdat had sent Saint Gregory the Illuminator to the prison there because he had been preaching the teachings of Christ and spreading Christianity. The dungeon / cave where St. Gregory was kept later became known as Khor Virap. The Monastery at Khor Virap once served as a center of education. In the XIIIth Century, it had a seminary of 40 students. Khor Virap is the best known tourist site of Armenia.

Zangakatun – Paruyr Sevak’s house-museum
It is situated in the village of Zangakatun in the Vayots Region. Baruyr Sevak’s gravestone and house museum are located not far from his house. The writer’s personal belongings together with other exhibits are kept in the museum. One of the walls of the museum is decorated with a big fresco, where the writer’s life and the landscape of his motherland are depicted.

Vayk is in the region of Vayots Dzor. It is It is 139 Km from from Yerevan, on the bank of Arpa River. The St. Trdat Church is situated in this area. About one kilometer away is an ancient bridge which was built in the 17th century. The latter was reconstructed in 1827 by Paskevich’s offer.
In 2008 the world’s oldest shoe was discovered in a cave in Areni in Vayots Dzor Region. The old shoe is 5500 years old. Similar shoes were used by Irish natives about 50 years ago. The shoe has been examined by the scientists of Armenia, Ireland, the USA, Israel and the UK. The age of the finding has been determined in the laboratories of Oxford and California. The shoe was made in the year 3500 B.C. either in the Neolithic or the Stone Age. When the shoe was excavated it was filled with dry grass but the researches haven’t found the purpose of the grass. The size of the shoe is 37 (European size). It has been already transferred to the History Museum of Yerevan. Similar old shoes and sandals have been found in the USA, in the caves of in the State of Missouri which were made of wood.

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