Welcome to Marmashen
The biggest church, Surp Stepanos, was built between 988 and 1029, with a 13th-century gavit. An Italian team led restoration work in the 1960s, so intricately carved old church stones have been incorporated into newer building blocks. Beautiful carved tombs and khatchkars dot the land around the churches, and it’s a peaceful, rural environment typical of Shirak, with grassy horizons. The caretaker is here during daylight hours, and he can recite some of the inscriptions on the sides of the churches by heart.
A return taxi from Gyumri is about AMD3000. Make sure the driver understands that you want to see the monastery and not the nearby village of the same name. There are hourly buses from Gyumri’s avtokayan to Varambert (AMD150) between 9am and 7pm (look for the bus to Kaps).