Welcome to Goris To Meghri Highway
The first stretch is a 68km drive from Goris to Kapan. The most interesting sight along this route is the Bgheno-Noravank monastery, which was lost to the world until 1920 when writer Axel Bakounts happened upon it in the forest. The main church dates to 1062 and contains intricately carved biblical reliefs. It’s a great camping spot or a logical break for cycle tourists. The turn-off from the highway has a sign directing you towards Bardzravan, a nearby village. After 3.1km, turn off the road to the right and the church is visible after 150m.
Further down the highway, there is a military base (Karmerkar) and a turn-off for the 3km access road to the village of Davit Bek. The village is another pleasant stopover and sports a couple of old churches and a pristine river with cascades and swimming holes. From the village there is a pleasant 40-minute walk to a pagan temple.
On the final plunge towards Kapan a bizarre turquoise lake comes into view. This is an artificial lake created by the tailings of a nearby copper mine so while it might look like the Caribbean Sea, swimming is not recommended.
Kapan marks the halfway point to Meghri and is thus a logical place to spend the night. From Kapan there are two roads to Meghri: a 75km road via Kajaran; and a newer, more scenic 94km route through the Shikahogh Nature Reserve. The most attractive part of the reserve is the valley of the Tsav River, where at the hamlet of Nerkin Hand there’s an ancient grove of massive plane trees. The oak and hornbeam forests either side of the Tsav comprise the nature reserve, though you’ll need a Niva or Villis 4WD to explore the 100 sq km of gorges and forests.