The endlessly winding roads that leap through the gorges over the mountains of Syunik come to a major junction at Goris, making this an inevitable stop between Yerevan, Stepanakert and the Iranian border. But it’s hardly a place to pass through – Goris is a destination in itself. Boasting fine stone houses with arched windows and balconies on tree-lined avenues, it’s a great place for strolling and chatting with locals. The pace of life is slow: there is little commercial or industrial activity, or even tourist kitsch, so it really feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Goris is known for its variety of homemade fruit oghee including the deliciously potent mulberry and Cornelian cherry (hone) oghee – explore the shuka on Syuniki Poghots or ask at a B&B to find some.
There is plenty to see around the town too, including a weird cave city on the other bank of the river and equally bizarre sets of volcanic pillars that spear through the steep grassy slopes above town. Longer day trips can be made to Tatev, the Vorotan Canyon and the caves at Khndzoresk.
There is a fine selection of hotels and B&Bs in town, plus a couple of museums and a busy little shuka. It makes a good place to break a long journey between Yerevan and Karabakh – plan on spending a few days to soak it all in.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009