European Astronomical Society

JENAM 2007

Armenian Astronomical Society

Joint European and National Astronomy Meeting

20-25 August 2007


"Our non-stable Universe"



Yerevan, Armenia


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The social program includes Welcome reception (Sunday evening, 19.08.2007, at 20:00-22:00, included in the registration fee), Excursion to the Byurakan Observatory and Joint Dinner (Wednesday, August 22, at 17:00-22:00, 24 Euros), JENAM-2007 banquet (Friday, August 24, at 19:00-22:00, 30 Euros), Excursions to Armenian sightseeing (Saturday, August 25, at 14:00-19:00; 14 Euros without lunch). Beside the joint excursions on August 22 and 25, additional tours will be organized for accompanying persons and those scientists not attending sessions on the given days. Thus, every day there will be several excursions for a number of participants. Additional receptions may be organized by other interested organizations as well. More details on the tours will be available later. Here we give the list of the most attractive tours that will be offered.

EXCURSIONS (all-day excursions include lunch)

YEREVAN CITY TOUR (5 hours with lunch, 20 Euros). The tour will start with the Republic Square, which is the centre of the city. Here there are Government House, Hotel Marriott Armenia, several ministries, museums, Art Gallery of Armenia with a collection of over 16,000 paintings. The excursion will continue with Matenadaran (a unique museum of ancient manuscripts), Ararat Cognac (Brandy) Factory on the bank of the river Hrazdan, a lunch break in one of the nice Ring Park restaurants, Central Market, Tsitsernakaberd Park, Sports and Concert Complex, Erebouni Fortress (782 B.C.). On the way, the visitors will see many monuments, may do shopping. The excursion will end at the Opera House.   

ECHMIATZIN and ZVARTNOTS (August 20 and 23; 5 hours with lunch, 20 Euros). This excursion takes you to an old city Echmiatzin, the former capital of the Kingdom of Armenia (in the II-IV centuries). Echmiatzin is 20 km from Yerevan, in the Ararat Valley - the granary of Armenia. The Cathedral is Echmiatzin’s main attraction. Legend has it that it was here that Jesus Christ descended from heaven to show where he wanted a church built. It was subsequently named Echmiatzin, which means «The Coming of the Only Begotten». Echmiatzin is the centre of the Armenian Apostolic Church and all the Armenian eparchies. There are also churches of the Holy Virgin of Hripsime (or St. Hripsime, 618 A.D.), St.Gayane (630 c.) and the ruins of the church Zvartnots (VII c., about 2 km from Echmiatzin). Echmiatzin was the centre for world attenion in 2001 during the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of adoption of Christianity in Armenia, first country adopting Christianity as state religion.

GARNI and GEGHARD (August 21 and 24; 5 hours with lunch, 20 Euros). The Sun Temple of Garni (built in the Roman style, very like the Greek Parthenon) is 28 km from Yerevan.  There is an architectural complex of the 3rd century B.C. The temple itself was built in the 1st century A.D. by the Armenian King Tiridates. It was destroyed in 1679 in an earthquake, but was reconstructed in Soviet times. This was the summer residence of the Armenian kings. Archaeologists are still working on the Garni complex. Near the temple, down to the gorge you can see the junction of two rivers, Azat and Geghard. 6 km from Garni there is a fantastic sample of medieval Armenian architecture, the Geghard Cave Monastery. Its first mention is to be found in the 4th century, but the main cathedral was built in 1215. The structures inside and outside the mount are one, compositionally and stylistically. The visitors will have lunch at Geghard in the open air.

AMBERD, TEGHER, and ORGOV (full day with lunch, 24 Euros). There are wonderful sightseeings in the Ashtarak District, around Byurakan. The mausoleum of Armenian Arshakouni kings, built in 364 by Armenian sparapet (military leader) Vasak Mamikonian is in front of Byurakan (opposite bank of Amberd river), in historical Aghts village. A little higher from it, there is famous Tegher St. Astvatzatzin temple, with standing buildings since 1213. A little higher from Tegher there is famous picturesque Amberd fortress. In 10-11 centuries it was a well-built settlement and one of the important military strong points of the Armenian Bagratouni kings. Here in 1026, the St. Astvatzatzin church was built. Amberd is at a height of 2,300 metres above sea level. The institute of Radiometric Measurements is located in Orgov. Its main instrument is a 54 m Spherical Radio telescope, which is correlated with a 2.6 m optical telescope, working as a radio-optical telescope (ROT). The institute has also a 16 m radio dish, time service, etc.

LAKE SEVAN (August 20 and 23; full day with lunch and dinner, 36 Euros). Lake Sevan, the gem of Armenia, is a wonder of nature, located 60 km from Yerevan up a highway which cuts northward through mountains and rocks. Sevan fills a gigantic depression situated at a height of almost 2,000 metres above sea level. The poet once said of its waters that they were like a piece of sky that had descended to the earth among the mountains. The average temperature of Sevan’s water in summer is +20-22°C in the afternoon. The visitors may enjoy swimming if there is no wind. Sevan has always been famous for its fish, especially trout, called Ishkhan («prince-fish»), a fish which graced many great lords’ tables in times of old. There are several sightseeings on the way to Sevan and around the lake, too, including medieval monasteries and the Noratus Cemetery, a place with numerous Armenian khach-kars (cross-stones).

KHOR VIRAP, NORAVANK, and KARAHUNGE (August 23; full day with lunch and dinner, 36 Euros). A trip to south from Yerevan. Khor Virap is one of the closest points to the biblical Mt. Ararat (5165m), which is considered as one of the highest mountains by its relative height (from foot to top), and has a fascinating view. Khor Virap is famous because it is where Grigor Lusavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) was imprisoned for 13 years before curing King Trdat III of a disease. After this Armenia became the first Christian nation in the world in 301. Noravank is a nice church (XII-XIV c.), where you reach through a picturesque canyon from the highway. The trip will take you farther to the Sisian region, to Karahunge. This ancient religious monument and observatory (also known as Zorats Kar) is the Armenian Stonehenge, and surprisingly, the name is quite similar by its meaning: kar means stone, and hunge sounds similar to henge, which has several explanations. There are several estimations of the age of Karahunge going back to 7600 years. There are numerous holes in the standing stones indicating the directions of rise and set of some bright stars when you look through any two of them.  

MT. ARAGATZ (August 21; full day with lunch and dinner, 32 Euros). Aragatz is the highest mountain in Republic of Armenia (the highest in the Armenian Highland and historical Armenia is Mt. Ararat, 5165m). It is a large massive and has four summits situated around a volcanic crater. The highest is Northern Peak (4090m), then Western (4080m), Eastern (3916m), and Southern (3879m). The way to the peaks goes from the south (passing through village Byurakan and along river Amberd), and there is a road taking to the altitude of 3250m, thus making the climbing relatively easy. There is a small beautiful lake at this level, where the water is cold even at the hottest summer time. This point is 25km far from Byurakan. The closest peak (Southern) may be reached in 2 hours, and the farthest and the highest one (Northern), in ~5 hours. Those who have heart or blood pressure problems are not encouraged to take this trip.

Please note that the above mentioned tours will be organized only if a minimum of 10 participants is reached for each tour. Some other excursions may be organized too, including 2-3 days tours to farther regions of Armenia and Karabakh (Artsakh).

Longer duration (3-4 days) tours to visit the Armenian sightseeing will be organized for the interested people before and after the JENAM-2007 meeting. The planned itinerary is traveling to South from Yerevan, visiting Khor Virap, Noravank, Karahunge (the Armenian Stonehenge), then making a trip around Lake Sevan, and returning back to Yerevan with visits on the way of the northern Armenian sightseeing: Haghpat, Sanahin, and Odzun monasteries. Lodging will be organized in the Tufenkian hotels.