It's an otherworldly site, fringed with dunes and studded with bone-white calcium carbonate spires called tufa towers.
Local building materials, such as the volcanic tufa , did not lend themselves to the structural complexities of French gothic vaults, and, like most gothic churches in Italy, these were relatively simple.
Contemporary Armenian architecture has followed the basic characteristics of its historical architectural tradition: simplicity, reliance on locally available geological material, and the use of volcanic tufa for facings.
All were so-called tufa towers, formations of calcium carbonate deposited by the mineral-rich lake water, which is two and a half times saltier than seawater and eighty times more alkaline.
Among the 30 different types of stone recognized are varieties of diorite, granite, bedded tuff, sandstones, limestones, and tufa .
The unmatching plates and bowls include some made of stone or tufa .
It is perched on a plateau of tufa rock, almost like it's been carved straight from its roots.
Along the shoreline, pinnacles of calcium carbonate deposits, called tufa , glare white in the sunlight.
These deposits, which are associated with mineral springs, are doubtless more or less tufaceous in character.
The valley cuts through beds of reddish and brown tufaceous rock, the lower levels of which are fairly soft.