Haghpat Monastery looks across the Debed Valley at the Sanahin Monastery.  In the valley in the middle sits the industrial town of Alaverdi.  The Alaverdi region is famous for its monasteries and its Soviet heroes.   It is the home of the Mikoyan Brothers.   There’s a museum dedicated to the Mikoyan brothers in Sanahin.  One brother, Anastas, was a politburo member for 60 years who served under Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev.  He was the ultimate survivor.  The museum has his medals, uniforms and pictures of him with Kennedy and Castro.  The museum celebrates him as the man who saved us all from World War III during the Cuban missile crisis.  The other brother, Artyom, co-designed the MiG fighter jet.  MiG is the acronym for Mikoyan and Gruevich.  The museum has a MiG 21.  There is an odd type of Soviet Nostalgia here.  There is certainly pride in the Mikoyan boys.  One Armenian told me the story of when Anastas was confronted by the Turkish Prime Minister.  He asked why Soviet Armenia had Mt. Ararat on its coat of arms when the mountain was in Turkey.  Mikoyan reportedly answered  “The moon does not belong to Turkey and yet it is on the your flag.”

This post is twined with the post  “Monasteries and MiGs, Sanahin Side.”   In this post you see pictures of Haghpat Monastery and Alaverdi in the valley below. In the Sanahin post you will see pictures of the Sanahin Monastery and one from Mikoyan Museum.

Tomorrow it’s back to Alaska for a look at an ice hotel at Chena Hot Springs.