Goris is a city in Southern Armenia.
The city was possibly the first built in a grid layout in Armenia, with a very quaint regional style of stone architecture. Located along a river in a valley surrounded by mountains, Goris is the last major town in Armenia for travelers continuing to Karabakh. It's also quite difficult to get to Kapan or Meghri, and thus Iran without passing through Goris, making this the gateway of the South.
Though Goris or Tatev can be crammed into a day trip from Yerevan, it's much better to spend a few nights in the area, and along the way.
- Tourist Information (opposite the Archaeological Museum). These guys are quite helpful and have a list for the time table for mashrutkas for the surrounding area.
- There is only one marshrutka a day from Yerevan to Goris. It costs about 3,500 dram and needs about 4 hr. Most marhrutki to Stepanakert and all marshrutki to Kapan pass Goris. But to be accepted as passenger you must pay the price as if you would go to Kapan or Stepanakert (4,500 dram as of March 2015). Otherwise get on a shared taxi for a slightly higher price.
- Most marshrutkas from Stepanakert to Yerevan pass Goris on their way. They will only accept you either in the rare case that a seat is free or if you pay the price for the whole trip to Yerevan (4,500 dram as of March 2015) although you only drive to Goris.
- At 12:00 there is a marshrutka to Kapan (2 hr) from the main road next to the tourist information which connects to a 15:00 marshrutka to Meghri / Agarak (1,500 dram from Goris to Kapan, 2,000 dram from Kapan to Meghri /Agarak as of September 2018). There is a second marshrutka just to Kapan at 15:00, with no connection further south.
- There are also marshrutkas to nearby villages including Tatev leaving from the market on Syuniki street.
Renting a car (with or without driver/guides) or taking a private cab is a more flexible, expensive option.
Within Goris, it is quite easy to get around on foot.
In town there's a church, a market, the Axel Bakunts Museum and some other minor sites. On the edges of town are some great rock formations which are great for photographers, both from near or far.
- Aksel Bakunts museum. Aksel Bakunts was a famous Armenian writer. The house museum is worthy of a visit regardless whether you are a fan of his writing, as it's an interesting example of what a traditional home would have looked like in his time.
- St. Grigor Lusavorich Church.
- 1 Old Khndzoresk Cave Village (Hin Khndzoresk) (A couple villages east of Goris is the village of Khdzoresk, and under it, in a gorge pocked with caves is Old Khndoresk). Until a few decades ago, people lived in those caves still, and this was an active cave village - so be careful who you call a caveman around here!
- 2 Tatev Monastery (30 km southwest of Goris). Not so far from Goris on the map, but it takes about 50 minutes to go there by car. The final kilometers up the hill are not paved but in an acceptable state to drive on it with a normal car. Tatev is located on an 850 meter high cliff above a natural land bridge, springs, a cavern in an underground river. It is an unforgettable place. Instead of driving to Tatev, you can go to the village Halidzor by taxi on a paved road and then use the presumably longest ropeway in the world up to Tatev. Insist that the taxi only drive you to Halidzor (costs about 4,000 dram) and not up to Tatev (costs about 10,000 dram)!
- 3 Bgheno-Noravank Monastery (16km south of Goris). A couple of kilometers off the main highway is the little known and less visited monastery of Bgheno Noravank. Easy to miss the turnoff, and just consisting of a couple of chambers, it's a good spot for a break if you're on a long drive.
- 4 (8km north of the Karabakh entry checkpoint - without entering!). A very ancient monastery that's undergone recent renovation.
- Samovar seller. There is a roadside stand with a large collection of antique samovars for sale that are beautiful to look at, whether or not you intend to purchase one.
There are one or two restaurant/cafes in town, and a few barbecue joints on the highway on the edge of town.
Where there is food, there is drink.
- 1 Aregak B&B, 4/16 Getapnya, ☎ , e-mail: Aregak.email@example.com. Lovely B&B close to the centre of Goris, in a separate apartment to the host. Great breakfasts, tea and coffee. The apartment contains two triple rooms and one double, kitchen, TV, fridge, etc. Host can arrange transport to Tatev and onwards. 5,000 dram.
- 2 Khachik B&B, 13 Davit-Bek St., ☎ , , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A B&B that's been a fixture for visitors for many years. Friendly owners that brew wine in their own home. You can have pre-ordered meals as well; dinner per person is 4,000 dram. Trying the wine is also extra. The hosts can arrange a taxi to go to the cable car to Tatev and wait at Devil's Bridge while you walk down from the monastery, 8,000 dram round trip (10,000 dram if you want the cab to go all the way to the monastery).
- 3 Mirhav, 100 Mashtots Str., ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Fantastic design/decor, very "Armenian" while still being comfortable and modern. Excellent staff, beautiful garden, good food. 18-33,000 dram.
- Jermuk — spa town where much of the country's mineral water comes from.
- Sisian — good base for visiting Ughtasar mountain and thousands of petroglyphs on top of it.
- Yeghegnadzor — small town close to spectacular canyon and monastery in Noravank, the impressive Smbatabert Fortress/Tsakhats Kar Monastery area and the old silk road caravanserai of Selim.