World Heritage Site Haghpat Monastery

The lonely Mass of the Armenian priest


The priest's song echoes from the bare stone walls. He has taken me to the only part of the monastery that is still in use for over a thousand years ...

The priest's song echoes from the bare stone walls. He has taken me to the only part of the monastery that is still in use for over a thousand years ... the church.

The priest is alone. In a blue robe he stands in the middle of the room, reciting, praying and singing. He notices me briefly, he seems to be happy that I am coming and to listen to him. The mysticism of the ancient chants of the ancient oriental Armenian church immediately captivates me, time seems to stand still: A rite handed down over thousands of years has something involuntarily fascinating ...

But the companions are already waiting: Ozan from Izmir, with whom I traveled from Tbilisi, and Marisell and Joanna, two very nice German girls (both of whom speak perfect Russian!), The only other guests in the hotel. Incidentally, this is also a small attraction: beautiful Soviet design, only the fourth floor still seems to be used. The doorman activates the elevator with a key after cheerfully waving at the three guards who hang out in the foyer. But the lady who welcomes us upstairs speaks perfect English - a big surprise!

The evening in the hotel room passed so quickly, full of stories, cigarettes and a good mood, and only when the girls knock on our door at eight in the morning do we notice that there is another hour difference to Georgia !
The bus to the north is already full, but this word is relative in this country ... nobody is left behind. And the gas tanks attached to the roof are so comforting that you don't have to worry about injuries in a serious accident in the hairpin bends of the mountains ... Puff! :)
Marisell and Joanna take over the organization in the Russian town and we quickly have a nice driver who takes us to the world heritage monasteries of the Lori region.

The monastery is lonely on a mountain above a small, sad town, only a few of the once numerous chimneys smoke there, old industrial plants are rusting, huge warehouses are crumbling.
Haghpat also looks gloomy, under the gray overcast sky, medieval, mystical ... We are the only visitors, get lost in the numerous halls, vaults, between the walls and gravestones decorated with crosses and Armenian texts ... it is very impressive. And when the priest begins his solitary Mass, I am finally in another world, a world in which time has stood still for centuries ...

In the afternoon, unfortunately, our paths separate again, the girls take the train to Georgia, and we go to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. The two hostels there are fully booked and our couch surfing requests are only answered negatively. Let's see where we'll stay tonight!

The crew: Ozan, Marisell, Joanna and myself ...

  1. To melt away! And again: thanks for a few moments escape from everyday life.

  2. I too have become really quiet and thank you for visiting and being together with the priest - it appeals to the soul. Greetings V.

  3. Thank you very much! The rite-loving Lukas in me watched the video with his mouth open.

  4. great pictures!

  5. Beautiful…!!!
    I will return to this monastery quite often….
    Thank you!

  6. Hi.
    I would like to exchange links with your website

  7. Unique pictures, great text and only the film. You really have it!
    I'm very jealous of your trip.

  8. Susie Wise

    Dear Jo,

    these are true goose bumps indeed. And when I read the text, I hear you tell her in your beautiful, dark, warm voice. Overall, a work of art. Thank you very much …

    • oh, I'm blushing! you are very sweet, susie! (and yesterday I took a lot of photos of cute baby dogs, you will be happy ;-)

  9. Alex the Swede

    Very nice pictures and the video is very atmospheric. A little melancholic that I am no longer part of your journey. Alex the Swede :)

    • my friend, i think that's a shame. you are, as a friend puts it, a real stroke of luck!

  10. Susie Wise

    Oh, baby pics are always welcome here! I'm very excited …

    Kind regards, also from Rob

  11. fuckin 'awesome

    looks a bit like a level in an RPG

    • :) Thank you! you have very, very nice photos from japan, have to take a closer look at them…

    • thanks, i'm just clicking through your archive, from the beginning of the journey to the end.

      my blog is a bit confusing, try to set up a table of contents for a long time, the texts from japan, palestine and berlin are all mixed up quite a bit. the entry about the ruined island of gunkanjima is particularly interesting for you

  12. Actually, I don’t really like churches and monasteries - but this is totally crazy ... Really great! Thx.

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