Yerevan > Akhaltsikhe, Georgia 294km
First we visited the oldest functioning Church in the world today, called Etchmiadzin, built in 301AD – according to Wiki there are two other old Churches, 1x in Israel, the other in Damascus but both are in ruins. This one is still used regularly each Sunday although through its history there have been times when it was in disrepair and not in use. It is currently being renovated on the outside.
In its museum is supposedly the spear that pierced Christ’s side, however there is also another one in Vienna so you never quite know for sure. The museum was closed, we tried to get them to let us in privately but no success. This is a photo of a poster of it.
The land in this part of Armenia is very rocky.
We then took a minor road through some villages and the tightest switchbacks we have ever ridden, even the cars were having trouble on some corners – a time to focus!
Armenian alphabet, bit hard to see but it is different
Crossed the border back into Georgia – we cannot enter Turkey from Armenia as these two countries haven’t been friends for the last 27 years. The border crossing was very straightforward, the only surprise being in no man’s land where there are some road repairs and we had to ride through some deep loose very large rocks that hadn’t yet been compacted, fortunately only about 30m.
The road after the border was in need of repair, we had to use the whole width to get around the potholes and road damage. But it got better as roads do and took us through some beautiful country.
We turned off the main road to Akhaltsikhe, and what a gem of a road this turned out to be, may be even the best on the whole trip so far for me. Road was good, sweeping corners, stream running alongside, brilliant scenery, perfect temps, and even a fortress – just loved it.
Good use for an old railway carriage – a bridge
At our little hotel we were welcomed with iced coffee and juicy watermelon, we are right beside the big fortress that towers over the village, so were soon wandering around that before dinner. It was restored and re-invented in 2011.