The Garni Gorge is situated 23 km east of Yerevan, Armenia, just below the village with the same name. On a promontory above the gorge the first-century AD Garni temple may be seen. Along the sides of the gorge are cliff walls of well-preserved basalt columns, carved out by the Goght River. This portion of the Garni Gorge is typically referred to as the "Symphony of the Stones." It is most easily reached via a road that leads left down the gorge just before reaching the temple of Garni. Another road leads to the gorge through the village, down a cobblestone road, and into the valley. Once in the valley, turning right will lead to Garni Gorge, an 11th-century medieval bridge, and the "Symphony of the Stones". Taking a left will lead along the river past a fish hatchery, up to the Khosrov Forest State Reserve, and a little further Havuts Tar Monastery.
photo: Zeiss Loxia 21mm
original size 29000x14500
Modern civilization began right here in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. Also known as the Fertile Crescent or Mesopotamia, this is the place where, six thousand years ago, agriculture, writing and mathematics were brought into widespread use.The term "Middle East" comes from the British navy, which used it to describe the countries on the trade route from Europe to India and China. Everything from Afghanistan to Morocco may possibly be classified as "middle eastern", depending on whom you ask -- and when.Only a partial list of past Empires in the middle eastern territory includes Sumeria, Babylonia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire!When northern Europe was still lurking about in slimy cold stone castles playing chess, the Middle East was enjoying the flowers of poetry, luxurious craftsmanship, music and literature. In fact, the Renaissance in Europe was partly inspired by stories brought back from the middle east by travelers along the trade route.Strategic location, religious history and the world's largest supply of crude oil have kept the Middle East at the center of world activity for centuries. The saga continues.Text by Steve Smith.