Discover Armenian historical sites the Areni-1 Cave and Noravank Monastery from the comfort of your phone. Explore ancient Armenian sites documented through the My Armenia program, a joint partnership between USAID, the Smithsonian, and the people of Armenia. My Armenia builds on the Smithsonian’s expertise in research and curation to better understand and share Armenia’s cultural heritage. As part of these efforts, My Armenia has been working with local partners in the Armenian region of Vayots Dzor to document two key cultural heritage sites:
- Areni-1 Cave: The Areni-1 Cave Complex was first investigated in 2007 and has provided valuable insight into the pre-history of the region and the people who lived there 6,000 years ago. The excavations at Areni-1 have shown evidence of burial pots containing the crania of juveniles, well-preserved plant remains, and the oldest leather shoe ever discovered. The site has also revealed a wine press and other winemaking technology, which makes it one of the oldest known locations associated with winemaking.
- Noravank Monastery: Noravank Monastery dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries. At the beginning of the 13th century, it was the spiritual center of the region and the residence of the Orbelian? princes. The Armenian architect Siranes and the famed miniature painter and sculptor, Momik, also worked here. The site contains many original khachkars, carved Armenian cross stones, many designed by Momik himself.