Northern Armenia

Founded in 1188 by the saintly Armenian cleric Mkhitar Gosh, who was buried in a little chapel overlooking the main complex, this monastery features a main church (Surp Astvatsatsin), smaller churches to St Gregory of Narek and St Gregory the Illuminator, and a matenadaran (library) that is said to have held 15,000 books. A fourth church topped by a bell tower was built on top of the library in 1291; entrance was via the external cantilevered staircase.

Goshavank is considered one of the principal cultural centres of Armenia of its time; historians believe it was abandoned after the Mongol invasion in 1375. It then appears to have been reoccupied between the 17th and 19th centuries and restored from 1957 to 1963. The monastery has been restored again recently. When here, take note of the splendid khachkar (stone cross) between the second St Gregory chapel and the gavit (antechamber).

Goshavank is 6.5km off the main Dilijan–Ijevan Hwy, on the road to Chambarak. A taxi from Dilijan or Ijevan (both 23km away) should cost around AMD4500 one-way.