I try to make a trip to Amberd at least once a year, not only because it is excellent, inspiring evidence of greater times for Armenian civilization, but the tranquility of the surroundings is something to behold. Whenever I go I always manage to miss a busload of tourists, probably because I always end up arriving late in the afternoon, when the light is best for photography.
It's not possible to go to Amberd from late autumn to late spring or early summer because the roads are blocked by snow. One year I tried to go in the middle of May, I think it was, and just past the halfway point up Aragats about two feet of snow blanketed the road. I imagine there will be access to Amberd well into October this year judging by how dreadfully warm it's been this summer. It's still in the mid to high 90s in Yerevan, which is unheard of for early September.
Thankfully there are signs all over the compound describing the history of the buildings, most of which are in partial ruins. The walls of the fortress are thankful standing but they don't look so solid nevertheless. Who can say whether they would ever withstand another tremor? The signs are all cosponsored by Vivacell and various organizations, and they provide valuable information in I believe six languages, including French and Italian (many people from Italy apparently visit Armenia judging from the Italian I hear on the sidewalks in the touristy spots of Yerevan).
Click on the image above to read the text in Armenian or English (raindrops made some of the words hard to decipher).
While I was taking the photos I noticed an annoying smudge that appeared in the middle right of the LCD screen. I thought it was a sun spot or something, but my wife later pointed out that the lens was actually dirty. Nevertheless, I managed to take some nice photographs. Next time I go I'll take my Pentax DSLR with me. The Panasonic Lumix ZS3 point-and-shoot is a fine camera that captures surprisingly very good video, but you can't beat a DSLR.
All photos by Christian and Anushik