Base Metals cjsc of Vallex Group and the Municipality of Alaverdi organized tour-pilgrimage around Western Armenia for a group of young people from Alaverdi.
Receiving tickets from "Ani Tour" travel agency, the group consisting of 20 people led by Pastor Ter Mikayel Shaghoyan departed from Yerevan in the night of August 19 and on August 20 arrived in Kars.
Most of the pilgrims couldn't definitely express their feelings visiting St. Apostles' church in Kars and Kars Fortress. Though all the members were aware of such situation before reaching Kars, personally hearing namaz coming from the church turned into mosque and seeing with own eyes the state flag of Turkey on the top of Kars Fortress have their impact on the inner world of the pilgrims. In Kars, the group from Alaverdi also visited the bridge of Vardan, the home of Yegishe Charents (according to one of the widespread hypothesis) and the building of the former Gymnasium. They spent their night in Shamkar hotel situated near the forest of Sarighamish.
The next day the pilgrims visited Igdir. The most important event of the day was climbing Ararat Mountain. Armenian music spread on about 2.5 km above sea level, the young people from Lori were dancing Armenian national dance called Kochari. The next place of the visit was the beautiful Berkri waterfall from where the group left for Van.
The following day the pilgrims visited Varagavanq. In the medieval church Armenian prayer was heard. The most important event of the day and the surprise for the participants of the pilgrimage organized by Vallex Group was the wedding ceremony organized on Akhtamar Island according to the Armenian ritual. With Pastor Ter Mikayel Shagoyan's blessing the ceremony began in the church of Surb Khatch but based on the legal claims and actions of Turkish servicemen guarding Akhtamar's Surb Khatch the wedding ceremony continued and concluded near the ruins of the chapel nearby the church.
In the framework of the pilgrimage, the participants visited the monument of Mher Gate; were in Van Fortress; saw the Fortress of Bitlis; were in Mush and visited St. Marine church. On their way back to Kars they visited also the bridges of Sulukh and Hoviv.
Visit to Ani, the city of "thousand and one" churches, on the 1050th anniversary of its being declared as the capital, was the culmination of the pilgrimage. In the Cathedral of Ani the pilgrims prayed God and summing up the results of the pilgrimage, Vallex Group companies awarded the participants certificates of participation.
This pilgrimage, the idea of which has been arisen during the visit of the community members of Alaverdi to the companies of Vallex Group situated in Artsakh, became the logical development of the tours organized in the places of activities of the companies of the group. The far-reaching aim of this event was that the young people from Lori could see with their own eyes the rich cultural heritage of their historical motherland, could be conscious of their rights on it and of the responsibility for protecting it and passing it to the future generations.