Spitakavor meaning "whitish" is a triple-aisled basilica built in the 5th-6th centuries (most likely between 540-557). The front façade is whitewashed and has a lengthy inscription. Walls remain but the roof has since collapsed. ''Note: Some confusion about the name of the churches of Spitakavor and Tsiranavor has seemed to have occurred due to the misplacement of the Russian markers located inside the two structures.'' The ruins aren't impressive: if you aren't an expert, you can skip it.
S. Sarkis was supposedly built in the 19th century upon older foundations. It looks to be a new church because of extensive restoration work done recently, but a small number of the older original stones carved with decorative relief and inscriptions (replaced with new stone and now sitting next to the foundation of the building) show its age to be much older. It offers a fine view to the three churches of Tsiranavor, Spitakavor, and Karmravor.
The church was built in the mid-seventh century and has been preserved without significant alterations. It features a single reddish clay tile domed roof (hence the name Tsiranavor, which means "reddish"). There are ancient khachkars around the Church, and a stone gates with preserved engravings. It is a small church but quite interesting.
Perch Proshyan — the writer of the second half of the XIX century - was born here. There is a funny milepost at the entrance showing distances to the Hermitage, the Louvre and other world famous museums.
Tsiranavor meaning "apricotish" is a small church built between the 13th to 14th centuries. Its roof has since collapsed, but walls remain. It also doesn't look very appealing and can be skipped.
The reddish stone arch bridge was built in 1664 as part of the old road to Yerevan. It features two equal sized smaller pointed arches on either side of a larger central pointed arch.
The center life in this sleeping town. There are a monument to Catholicos Nerses of Ashtarak, a taxi rank and a pair of cute pre-revolutionary buildings.
One of the few options in Ashtarak to eat. The choice of dishes according to Armenian standards are rather big, espresso, desserts. Good reviews, WiFi.
Well worth a stop for a reasonably priced meal and nighttime entertainment show, all outdoors, and long popular with Armenians.
S. Mariane was built in the year 1271 or according to some sources 1281. It has a beautiful umbrella dome that rests above.
A big Soviet hotel with a very little renovation. Deluxe rooms look better, but they're significantly more expensive.
Ashtarak is located at the intersection of roads leading to Yerevan, Gyumri and Yerevan. Due to such a convenient location the settlement appeared here long time ago. However, it didn't play any significant role until the second half of the twentieth century, when Ashtarak acquired the status of a city and started to host Institute of physics of Armenian Academy of Sciences. The name of the city means "a tower" in Armenian.
Ashtarak does not look like the regional center nowadays: it's a sleepy town, where it's easier to meet a chicken rather than a car. A trip here - is a good opportunity to escape a rush of Yerevan for a few hours.