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Ararat





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Ararat Marz is the agriculturally rich but hot and flat valley of the Arax river S of Yerevan, including the severe brown hills of the lower Azat and Vedi river watersheds, but including fine green valleys and mountains in the upper reaches, mostly now protected within the bounds of the Khosrov Forest State Preserve. Ararat Marz is dominated by the double silhouette of Mt. Ararat, which looms on a clear day close and magical. Main tourist destination of the Marz is Khor Virap Monastery, legendary site of the captivity of Gregory the Illuminator, which sits among the ruins of Ancient Artashat. The ruins of Dvin are another important destination, at least scientifically, while the upper valley of the Vedi River includes interesting natural sites and a fortified monastery. The fishponds of Armash are one of the Caucasus's richest spots for birders. East from Yeraskh, a fold of Mt. Urts shelters the virtually unknown S. Karapet Monastery. Technically in Ararat Marz, but more accessible from Garni, the remote valleys of the Azat river and its tributaries shelter Aghjots (S. Stepanos) Vank and Geghi Castle (Kakavaberd). Artashat (22567 p) is the capital of Ararat Marz

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