There are places in Armenia that are not included in the main tourist routes, but visiting them always delights those who have gone there. In the south of Armenia, not far from the Tatev Monastery, there is one of the oldest settlements that has survived to this day. The village of Old Khot (“Old Grass”) in the mountains of Syunik is often compared to the Peruvian Machu Picchu, which is located in the Peruvian Andes on a mountain 2450 meters above sea level, built in the middle of the 15th century.
The history of the Armenian village is much older: it seems that the houses grow out of the rocks here. People used to live and equip their life in caves that arose in volcanic tuff rocks. Later, cave houses began to expand due to masonry. Historians believe that the first settlers in this territory appeared in the I-II centuries. BC. Surrounded by impregnable rocks and flowering gardens, the village is located near the city of Goris, on the left bank of the Vorotan River, at an altitude of 1500 meters above sea level. People lived in mountain villages until the 70s of the last century, so the villages, although abandoned, are almost perfectly preserved and you can see buildings from various eras there. On the territory of one of the cemeteries, the ruins of the Red Church, built in the 12th century, remained.
Historical facts testify that the inhabitants of the village of Old Khot paid a tax for the maintenance of the famous Tatev Monastery. In the northeastern part of Old Khot there is an ancient building of the 5th-6th centuries. The settlement also has the Mrgadzori Khach church, built around the second half of the 17th century. According to legend, it was built by an Armenian woman who escaped from the harem of the Persian ruler Shah Abbas.
In historical chronicles, the village was first mentioned in the 5th century, when the Syunik prince Babik presented the settlement to a Persian commander named Gor as a sign of the latter’s adoption of Christianity.
In the 70s of the last century, the inhabitants left the village of Old Khot, moving to a more convenient and flat area to the north of the old one. It is there that the present village of New Khot is now located.
The Vorotan Gorge itself, where the village of Stary Khot is located, is rich in historical places. There are other ancient abandoned settlements, cultural and historical monuments – Old Halidzor and Old Shinuayr, between which you can walk along beautiful paths. Gorge, rocks, orchards, ancient paths – visiting this area you will return to your reality with unforgettable impressions. In addition, similar villages of Old Khndzoresk and Old Harzhis are located nearby, which are also worth a visit.
Do you want to see this amazing place? To do this, choose our tour to Tatev, in which you need to add one more day. And we will make an interesting walking tour through the ancient villages of the Vorotan Gorge.
photo: Vigen Hakhverdyan, Ashot Arushanyan, Andranik Keshishyan, Arthur Manucharyan