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Photographer's Note

An excerpt from my book, "A Photographic Journey of my Homeland, Armenia" (available on Amazon):

The road to Tatev is one that I will need to explore on many a future expedition. On one side, striated crags rose above the lush forest inter- sected by the road. Moss-covered rocks were sprinkled everywhere. Even though it was October, green still dominated the landscape. Tatev Monas- tery was now visible, perched atop the opposite slope. The road, though, would descend into the gorge before rising to the plateau of Tatev. At the nadir of our descent was yet another natural wonder, a hot springs called Devils Bridge." The hot springs were breathtaking, stalactites hanging below a bridge carved by the hot, mineral-rich water bubbling below.

We reached the fortified monastery, but drove on to a vantage
point that offers a commanding view of Tatev and the valley be-
low. The sun was poised near the edge of a large cloud, and long
periods of gloom were intermittently shattered by golden light
bathing the landscape. At one such moment, I noticed ruins just
down the slope from where I stood. I could not tell whether this
had been a small church or a house, as only part of one wall stood. I decided to investigate, and made my way down slowly, careful not to slide in the mud or get caught in the thorny bushes blocking my way. I reached the ruins just as the sun peeked through the clouds again, rewarding me for going off the beaten path. This location also gave me an excellent view of Tatev profiled against the background of hills and puffy white clouds dotting the afternoon sky. From here, the walls of Tatev, sitting atop a crag, looked nearly impregnable.
Those who have visited Tatev recently have certainly seen the construction crane that is a permanent eyesore. Parked within the monasterys walls, its boom extended, it manages to dominate every view of the monastery from any angle. To date, all efforts to remove this eyesore have failed, though the boom has been partially retracted...

More recently, a cableway has been built so that the switchbacks up to Tatev can be avoided.

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