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An update from Evaneos

Kobayr (Armenia)

Practical information about Kobayr

  • Viewpoint
  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Mountain
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Archaeological Site
  • Place or Historical Monument
4 / 5 - One review
How to get there
30 minutes from Vanadzor by car
When to go
All year round
Minimum stay
One day

Reviews of Kobayr

Nicolas Landru Travel writer
117 travel articles

Kobayr is an impressive ruined monastery perched in a breathtaking position at the edge of a cliff above one of the canyons so typical of the Lori region. The ruins are particularly evocative and fascinating, and some parts are veritable treasures of scared art.

My suggestion:
Kobayr is only a short detour from the main Vanadzor-Alaverdi road. Don't miss the opportunity to visit it if you happen to be travelling through Lori! It is also possible to combine a trip here with visits to Advi Monastery and the church at Odzun.

It is a wonderfully rewarding feeling when you reach Kobayr at the end of the trail after leaving the Debed Canyon at Tumanian and tackling the steep climb up to the plateau. The valley/plateau contrast is one of the most fascinating aspects of Lori. And the cherry on the cake? All the historical sites here, such as Kobayr. Who were the people that built a monastery from dressed stone at the edge of a precipitous cliff, and what was their aim in so doing? Was it for the purposes of self protection, and to be visible from all around at the same time?

These overgrown ruins, blending in so well with the natural vegetation all around and bringing to mind the artistic refinement of mediaeval Armenia, made an immediate and strong impression on me when I first arrived at the site. Koabyr Monastery experienced its heyday between the 11th and 13th centuries, when the Bagratuni dynasty was at the height of its powers. It was carefully restored in 2006 after having been left to abandon at various times and the renovations carried out have not caused the ruins to lose their spiritual and traditionally authentic character, as can sometimes happen in such cases.

Enter the apse of the Katoghike Church and you'll discover a wonderful scene made up of of demolished yet well preserved dressed stones lying on the ground, still-standing columns, and magnificent wall frescoes that have survived the years. If you venture away from the monastery, you can get wonderful views of the ancient ramparts, which blend so well into the local landscape, and of the best-preserved sections of the buildings.