130 km from Yerevan, in Tavush region.
|Lastiver Cave, Yenokavan.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Lastiver Cave is an artificial cave with weird sculpted walls. To enter the cave the people built a wooden ladder to climb up to the entrance, which looked like a raft, in Armenian Lastiver means "up the raft". Okay, this explanation is so silly, we guess it is a cave guide joke. The whole cave is actually a sort of joke, as its carved sculptures and reliefs resemble pre-Christian rock paintings or even Maya art. But actually they are much younger, they were created by sculptor Benik Petrosyan in the 1970s, during the Soviet era. According to local lore he liked to come to Lastiver and spend his days alone, decorating the walls of the caves with his beautiful images.
However, it seems he just created the sculptures, the caves are actually older. During the Mongol invasion in the 8th and 9th century, locals sought refuge from the enemy. But the cells carved into the rock even earlier. As there are numerous carved crosses and cross-stones, they were probably created by Christians.
The caves are located in the valley of Khachaghbyur River, near village of Yenokavan. They are best reached on a hike from the Apaga Resort behind the village. It's a 2.5 km hike.