At last, I have scrambled up from the Level 1 floor of the TripAdvisor hierarchy. My review today gave me the 100 points I needed to reach Level 2. I suppose I’ll get a more exciting badge than the pencil tip logo that I’ve been virtually wearing on my virtual label.
In case you’re interested, I reviewed Tatev Monastery (photo below) and the 5+km cableway that takes visitors across a gorge to reach it. It’s in southern Armenia, not far from the border with the disputed territory of Ngorno Karabakh. I made my 2nd visit last week. This time I went back by car to the other end of the cableway (the Wings of Tatev) which allowed me to look at the Devil’s Bridge on the way: a natural tunnel, worn by running water.
What I’d really like to do is walk through the man-made tunnel that runs between the monastery, on top of the hill, and the hermitage in the valley. Monks dug the tunnel as a means of escape in the event of an attack. In the photo you’ll see that the monastery is as much a castle as a place of religious retreat. Armenians live in a neighbourhood that has seldom been at peace.
As I tried to imagine the physical and logistical obstacles to building a castle-cum-monastery on top of a mountain, and digging a very long tunnel through solid rock, a thought occurred to me. If those Daesh people are as motivated in their religious zeal as those monks of old were motivated, we’re going to have to pull out all the stops to beat them. Bigger and better Eurovision Song Contests will not be enough.