Hello from Armenia! This is the last post about this beautiful country. What determines Armenian identity is their Christian faith and alphabet. They have their own language and their own alphabet, created more than 1600 years ago. They are very proud of it. One way to celebrate their alphabet and its creator – Mesrop Mashtots – is by creating an impressive monument. We are now near the village of Artashavan:
In 2005, the Armenian alphabet celebrated its 1600th birthday. In commemoration, it was given a gift of 39 giant, carved Armenian letters, strategically placed near the final resting place of the man who created the alphabet, Mesrop Mashtots.
When Mashtots began working on an Armenian alphabet, it was under great pressure so that it could be used to create a bible for the newly Christian kingdom. Elegantly planned, Mashtots laid out the structure of the alphabet around the religion. He made the first letter A, which was the first letter in the word Astvats, or God, and the last letter K’, which began the word K’ristos, Christ. He then put the finishing touches on the last 34 letters and his system has been used ever since, aside from the addition of 3 more letters.
To honor his work, Armenian architect J. Torosyan created the stone carvings of every letter near Mashtots’ final resting place in 2005. Set against the backdrop of Armenia’s Mt. Aragats, the letters and a statue of Mashtots pay tribute to the complex and unique language, a national point of pride of Armenia.
In the background of this photo, you can see a cross. It is a 33-meter tall cross, constructed of 1718 smaller crosses. One cross is added each year to mark the time since Armenia’s conversion to Christianity in 301. It is called Artashavan Holy Cross.
The Alphabet monument and the Cross were our first surprises, the second one was to observe how Armenian bread is baked in one of our rest areas:
This is how he reaches lower parts of the oven. He jumps into it. It was fun to watch!!!
More Armenian baked goods:
Huge sheets of lavash bread – flat Armenian bread:
Before we returned to Georgia, we passed by some villages that belong to Arminian ethnic minority – Yazidis. Their religion is a combination of many religions: Assyrian traditions, Sufi and Shiite Islam, Nestorian Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. I had a chance to take a picture of their newly built temple:
Thank you for visiting Armenia with me. What a fascinating country!