Akhtala (Armenian Ախթալայի վանք; Georgian ახტალის ტაძარი); also known as Pghindzavank (Armenian Պղնձավանք, meaning Coppermine Monastery) is a 10th-century fortified Armenian Apostolic Church monastery located in the town of Akhtala in the marz of Lori, 185 kilometers (115 mi) north of Yerevan.The monastery is currently inactive.The fortress played a major role in protecting the north-western regions of Armenia (Gugark) and is among the most well preserved of all in modern Armenia. The main church at the compound is famous for its highly artistic frescoes, which cover the inside walls, the partitions, and the bearings of the building. The modern name of Akhtala was first recorded in a royal decree of 1438. The etymology of the name Akhtala is believed to be of Turkic origin, meaning white glade. The original Armenian name of the settlement where the monastery is built is Pghindzahank, which means copper mine.
photo: Zeiss Batis 18mm
original size 25000x12500
Asia is the biggest continent on Earth, a darling little gem floating around in space.Hm, what is Asia? Who's in on it?China and India are safe bets for Asian nations. Korea, Japan, Thailand, you're fine.Europe? No. Europe would sort of be on the "Asian continent" if not for those pesky Ural mountains dividing things up in the middle, and then also the whole lineage of kings and wealth and nations and the EU and all that "give me my respect" stuff.Russia would probably be happiest as its own continent, so for now we'll leave it in "Eurasia" and just hope the natural gas supplies keep flowing.Pakistan and Afghanistan are dang close to Asia, but politically they show up in "Middle East" news stories an awful lot. Verdict: Eurasia.I guess we'll actually have to consider everything from Turkey on eastward to be "Eurasian", although the moniker seems overlappitory of the territory.The Asian economy is now officially raging like a wild furnace of lava that consumes everything in its path. Japan has had the largest individual economy in Asia for decades, but it is forecast that both India and China will outstrip Japan within twenty years.China is the largest holder of United States debt and is positioned to become the world's next superpower, provided that Godzilla doesn't return and decide to stomp everybody back into the Shang Dynasty.Text by Steve Smith.