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Khor Virap

Armenia Travel Guide

Practical information on Khor Virap

  • Viewpoint
  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Place or Historical Monument
4 / 5 - 3 reviews
How to get there
50 km by road from Erevan
When to go
All year round
Minimum stay
A few hours

Reviews of Khor Virap

Timothée D. Seasoned Traveller
271 written opinions

A monastery on the Turkish border, at the foot of the emblematic Mount Ararat, Khor Virap is one of the most photogenic Armenian monasteries.

My suggestion:
One of the best parts of a visit to Khor Virap monastery are its wells which are 7 metres deep and gave the site its name.
My review

Imagine a desert landscape, a moon like plain from which emerges an arid mountain, a volcano with a snow covered summit that is more than 5,000 m high, and, in the foreground, a stone monastery, looking dwarfed by such immensity. Well, that's what you can expect from Khor Viap monastery!

Obviously, the site's beauty is not completely unknown because the monastery is a much prized pilgrimage site for Armenians, who also go there to get married, to have their children baptized, or to make traditional animal sacrifices, especially at the weekends when the site is quite busy.

But if you can go there on a week day and outside high season during your trip to Armenia, you are likely to be more or less alone, like I was lucky enough to be, with the magnificent landscape around you.

Ines Sancelot Seasoned Traveller
24 written opinions

Khor Virap is an Armenian monastery, located 45 minutes from Yerevan by minibus. This place is considered to be the first holy place in Armenia.

My suggestion:
Visit Khor Virap when the weather is clear, because the monastery is dominated by Mount Ararat, and if only for the view, this trip is worth the detour.
My review

I spent a day at Khor Virap, which was enough time to visit the monastery and take a little stroll around the religious building with Mount Ararat in the background.

Try to go on a Sunday morning, because you'll get the chance to attend a religious ceremony, knowing that Armenia is mostly Apostolic. This is an opportunity to experience the country's religious aspect more. According to one study, Armenia is considered the 3rd most religious country in the world.

For the more fun part of your visit, there are dungeons to check out, and you get there by going down numerous underground ladders. Beware: you shouldn't go down if you're claustrophobic...

Don’t forget to try the local cuisine during your stay in Armenia, a real treat. Carnivorous friends rejoice, because barbecue is the country's main dish, and finish your meal with a glass of cognac, renowned here for its quality.

Rémi Manesse Seasoned Traveller
68 written opinions

Khor Virap is an Armenian monastery against the backdrop of Mount Ararat.

My suggestion:
During the summer, it’s best to not visit the site in the middle of the day. The heat is sweltering, and especially because Mount Ararat is barely visible because of the haze from the heat. (Yet it is the site's main interest). 
My review

It would be a shame to not go to the Khor Virap monastery during a stay in Armenia because this place alone is the symbol of the country. The simple silhouette of the monastery built in the more pure Armenian architectural style distances itself from Mount Ararat, located a few miles away on the Turkish side of the border. A mountain and a monastery - not much else could be more Armenian.

Aside from that, you have to admit that the monastery itself isn't very big, and its architecture is relatively simple. The trip is worth taking, however, especially for the view. Nevertheless, for Armenians, it is a significant pilgrimage site, where Saint Gregory the Illuminator (the founder of the Armenian Apostolic Church) was imprisoned for 12 years.

Since Khor Virap is located near Yerevan, the monastery can be the destination of a half-day excursion from the capital.

Tours and travel ideas Khor Virap