The beauty of the Armenian Highland, the city of Goris with its 24 surrounding villages, is located in the south-eastern part of Armenia, Syunik region. Goris, which now has about 25,000 inhabitants, was founded in 1870 as the center of Zangezur, Yelizavetpol province.
Goris has been a settlement since the ancient times of Stone Age. The examination of bronze items - women's jewelry, dagger, spear, and tableware - discovered here during the 1980s excavations has revealed that they belong to the 3rd-2rd centuries BC, are of local origin and speak for the high culture and lifestyle of the locals.
Goris is located on the strategically important Yerevan-Stepanakert highway. The distance between Yerevan and Goris is 254 km. The high rocks, deep valleys and caves add a unique view to the Goris landscape. The nature is beautiful, and the air is clean. The temperate mountain climate offers mild snowy winters and hot summers.
Goris has been and continues to be one of the best developed settlements in Armenia with beautiful architecture. Goris makes the visitors wonder at the magnificent creations of Zangezur nature – the wild rocks with pyramid peaks.
Where to Visit
In the eastern part of the city is Old Goris or Goris Village, which is an ancient cave settlement area. Every house had a door, window and chimney. Part of the doors and windows are four or five meters high from the ground. People used to enter these settlements using rope ladders.
Tourists visiting Goris first of all strive to see the Tatev Monastery. Towards the end of the 8th century the Tatev Monastery became the seat of Syunik diocese. St. Peter’s and Paul's church of the monastery complex was built in 906, Virgin Mary mausoleum-church - in 1067, while St. Grigor church - in 1295. During 1390-1435 the monastery housed the famous Tatev University and the miniature school. The monastery had a large repository (Matenadaran), where more than 10 thousand manuscripts were kept. Here is the mausoleum of great philosopher and theologian, St. Gregory Tatevatsi. Tatev is also known for its rocking khachkar-gavazan (crook with cross-stone), which is an interesting solution found by Armenian architectural mind. During the 20s of the 17th and 20th centuries, the monastery was an important base for freedom-fighting movement. Currently, the monastery is mostly restored and is the spiritual center of Syunik Diocese.
Fifteen kilometers to the north-east of Goris, in the Khndzoresk river valley is Khndzoresk Village. Old Khndzoresk was entirely built of "karatak" (cave settlement), as locals call them. It remains as a sacred place, because here, in a place called Anapat, David Bek’s comrade-in-arms and later his follower, Mkhitar Sparapet is buried. The latter’s cemetery is on the left bank of Khndzoresk river, near the ancient temple walls.
Another historical monument of Goris is the monastery called Harants Anapat (Desert), located on the right bank of the Vorotan River, on the beautiful wooded slope in front of Halidzor. The extensive ruins of the monastery show that once it had a large unity, and played a great role as a school. The monastery existed in the 11th-12th centuries.