31 km from Goris.
|Caves of Khnatsakh, Խնացախ 3206.
|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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Խնածախ (Caves of Khnatsakh) is a sort of cave city in the remote village Khnatsakh, which is located high in the mountains at 1380-1460 m asl. There are hundreds of abandoned cave houses spread over the hillsides. The villagers now live in normal houses, the caves were abandoned long ago. The site is not developed, and the caves are thus accessible without any restrictions. They can be visited only by foot, there are only few rather poor single lane gravel roads in the area.
The caves are called Khnatsakh Caves after the village where they are located, or they are called Crow Caves. In ancient times, the augurs predicted the future by the way the raven flew. Ravens are present in many legends the people in this region tell about the caves. However, due to language problems, and obviously also lack of research and development, the info we have is quite basic. And many stories we read are obvious nonsense, like the ark and the crow story from the Christian Bible, which is attributed to the Gilgamesh epos.
However, even with the enormous number of cave houses, the site is actually not a tourist site, and we were not really convinced if we should list it. Also, there is no location and no development with trails, the caves are simply all around the village and even in the surrounding villages. But the major drawback is that this village is only a few km from the border to Azerbaijan, which adds the danger of border problems. We finally listed it for a single reason: there are numerous tour operators who offer trips to the village including the caves, and there are several webpages about the cave. So we want to add this warning to the existing pages: this site is in the middle of a sort of civil war or separatist war, and currently occupied by the soldiers of Azerbaijan . It is definitely not a good idea to go there as a foreign tourist. The locals currently use the cave as a hideout because they fear fights.