Trans Eurasia travel

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Makenis is reached by continuing east from Artsvanist for about 6km and then turning right to head south for another 5km. The road to Makenis is in poor condition. Once in Makenis, bear left, then just before reaching the large school building turn sharp right and then left at the post office to reach the main gate of Makenyats Monastery, picturesquely situated at the edge of the village overlooking the Karchaghbur River. Quite apart from the monastery, Makenis is an evocative village with its livestock, dirt roads and dung drying for fuel. According to nth-century chroniclers, the monastery was founded by Prince Gregory Supan in 851. This seems slightly early and a date later in the 9th century seems more plausible. It is a three-apse cross-dome church built of basalt with a circular tambour and surrounded by a substantial wall. There are large chapels on both sides of the altar dais with carved doorways and through the northern one water runs. At the west end there are large high corner rooms. Carvings of horses decorate the base of the southern pillar and the inside of the lintel of the main door. At the west gable is a small belfry. There is also a baptismal font. The gavit is now ruined but there is a small chapel to the southwest. The river must have changed its course slightly since the monastery was built, as the conspicuous latrine in the perimeter wall is now a few metres from it. There is a good collection of khachkars, some of which have been incorporated into garden walls and one of which has been removed to act as a bridge over a modern irrigation channel.

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