Alaverdi, Photo: Hermann Maurer, May 2013

The region of Alaverdi is quite some distance North of Gosh.

We enter this „Armenian Switzerland“, a mountainous region. The are some very old bridges over the river Debed (one is 800 years old).

The cities of Alaverdi and the village of Sanahin, were at some stage dominated by a huge (now 90% closed) copper-mine with a huge industrial complex that now a large industrial ruin, created by the dramatic breakdown of economy when Armenia became independent and its former partners in GUS suddenly turned into enemies (particularly Azerbaijan) and production was too obsolete to compete with the West.

Seeing this and how it forced people to move away, leaving their villages as ghost towns and noticing that Armenia has lost almost 1% of its population per year due to emigration one can understand the problems the country is confronted with, counting on tourism to make up for this a bit.

The picture shows part of the one of the still operation copper melting plants. The reason why this area is of so much interest are the incredible UNESCO heritage sites monastery Sanahin and Haghpat.