Glimpse: A cave town Goris in Armenia
“Tourists are surprised to learn that Goris residents had been living in cave-dwellings until the 18th century,” says Hayk Hakobyan.
He is employed at a hotel complex, with tourists often asking him about places of interest to visit in Goris.
The cave houses were made by cutting into rocks on rather steep slopes. It was only after the 18th century that people started building 1 to 2-storey houses with stone walls and wooden roofs outside the cave dwellings.
However, their former living areas, or ‘cave apartments’, still serve the residents as cellars since that time.
Once, when showing a group of tourists around his favorite place, Hayk decided to arrange a trail with signposts that would allow visitors to take in the sights of Old and New Goris.
The construction shown above was built with the support of the organization ‘One Armenia’, and Hayk himself was involved in it.
An online version of the trail will soon be available.
In addition, Hayk himself made the steps leading to the cave dwellings.
Alongside the dwellings cut into the rock and natural caves, one can also see St. Hripsime church, which was first built in the 4th century, and has been rebuilt twice – in the 16th century and again in 2010.
Before the early 20th century, there was a cave theatre, or “Amphitheatre”, which was in use in Old Goris and was regarded as a natural monument. Its stage and seats for the audience have been preserved to this day.
The ruins of a few chapels, a destroyed butter churner, water mills and numerous cave houses have also been preserved. The restoration process of the two caves, which will serve as a library and a gallery respectively, has only begun this year.
In February 2013, the Armenian Government approved a Tourism Development Program for the city of Goris, whereby the plan is to have a tourist center set up with funds from the state and community budget, as well as by gathering additional funds.
The center will serve those in the Zangezur region.
According to Garegin Parsyan, the Head of the Urban Development and Public Utilities Department, at least AMD 200 million [more than $ 400,000] is required to execute the projects planned in Old Goris.
∗ First published: 26.08.2016