Just before entering Georgia, the little town of AKHTALA (Erevan-Vanadzor-Akhtala 195 km, pop. 2,100, altitude 600 m) boasts a Xth century fortified monastery, whose church contains what are probably the most beautiful polychrome frescos in Armenia.
The wealth from the surrounding mines has drawn artists and craftsmen here since ancient times.
Every year the fortress hosts a festival in its medievel courtyard to celebrate the national Armenian dish, khorovatz.
For visiting or for more information about the fortified monastery of Akhtala, contact the tourism office.