Armenia is teeming with hidden gems and secret places that few know about. One of those places is the city of Gavar.
Gavar (Armenian: Գավառ), is a town and urban municipal community in Armenia serving as the administrative centre of Gegharkunik Province. It is situated among the high mountains of Gegham range to the west of Lake Sevan, with an average height of 1982 meters above sea level. Located 98 kilometers east of the capital Yerevan, the town has a population of 19,500. According to history, the area was already inhabited thousands of years ago in the 2nd-century BC. This is known after discoveries on ancient tombstones and the remains of the old civilization, such as its Cyclopean Fortress that was erected during the Iron Age and discovered in Gavar city.
The people of Gavar are mainly Christians and belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The town has many medieval chapels and churches. The Surp Karapet Church of 1848 is among the well-preserved churches in Gavar. The Cathedral of the Holy Mother of God in Gavar is the seat of the Diocese of Gegharkunik of the Armenian Church. The town is also home to many other churches including: Hatsarat Monastery with the churches of the Holy Mother of God (7th century) and Saint Gregory the Illuminator (19th century); Hayravank Monastery of the 9th century: located 7 kilometers north of Gavar on the shores of Lake Sevan; Surp Khach (Holly Cross) chapel of the 17th century, renovated in 1969.
The Noratus cemetery archaeological site is located in the Noratus village just 4 kilometers east of Gavar. It is home to a large number of impressive medieval khachkars (cross-stones). The oldest khachkars in the cemetery date back to the late 10th century. One of the khachkars from the cemetery was donated to the British Museum in 1977 by Catholicos Vazgen I.
Gavar has a history museum, a cultural palace, a drama theatre, many public libraries and monument dedicated to the victims of the Great Patriotic War during World War II.
Education continues to be one of the main values in the society of Gavar. The Gavar State University was opened in 1993 after the independence of Armenia. With its five faculties Gavar University is a major educational centre for the entire province of Gegharkunik. The University provides degrees in Philology, Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Economics Nowadays, more than 2,400 students are attending the university.
The cuisine of Gavar is closely related with the oriental cuisine elements, characterized with various spices, vegetables, fish, and fruits combination. Kyavari Kyufta (kofta of Gavar), the town's most favourite dish, is made from minced meat spiced with onions and rolled into balls before boiling in water. Served in slices, it is garnished with butter. People of Gavar like to eat bread with almost everything, and the two traditional types of bread in Gavar are lavash and matnakash. The Kyavar baklava is a many-layered pastry with tissue-thin sheets of phyllo dough, filled with nuts and sugar and finished with a dousing of hot honey.
Football and chess are popular in the town. The sports school of Gavar was opened in 1971 and currently provides trainings in many team and individual sports, including martial arts, basketball, futsal, boxing, weightlifting, etc.