In our last remaining days in Armenia, Linda and I took an overnight excursion to Goris, a small city in Syunik Province nestled in the mountains of southern Armenia. The history of Goris dates back to the Stone Age, the Middle Ages--and, at the risk of collapsing history, there were successive waves of foreign rule: Persia, Russia, the Soviet Union. Like so many places in Armenia, Goris lives and breaths within a richly layered historical matrix or, to shift the metaphor, a topos, զարմանալի տեղ, at the crossroads of myth, history, modernity, and futurity. Shifting the metaphor once again, Armenia is an enchanted looking glass that reveals the intricate fabric of world civilization, the tragicomic metanarrative of the human spirit. There is a Celtic saying that aptly conveys my impression of Armenia: Heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in thin places that distance is even shorter. Armenia is one of those thin places--revelatory, prophetic, close to the divine.
But enough mythologizing. Gervorg will scold me for my sentimentality! Goris in the 21st century is a lively, close-knit community of friendly people building their future, stone by stone and dream by dream. A red rooster sounds the alarm for daybreak. A shopkeeper sweeps and rinses the sidewalk, a ritual to channel prosperity and to properly greet the new day. Goris has a variety of cultural attractions, breathtaking views framed by stones, roses, and grapevines, and sits within an easy, scenic drive to an important cultural-historical site, the Tatev Monastery, which can be accessed by the longest mountain tramway in the world, "The Wings of Tatev," designed by Swiss engineers--alpine tourism in the best sense. Here are a few images from my brief ramble in streets of Goris.
Farewell, Goris! Farewell, Armenia! Until we meet again!
Մինչեւ մենք նորից հանդիպենք!