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Best trails in Kotayk

24 Reviews
Trying to find the best Kotayk trails? AllTrails has 23 great hiking trails, mountain biking trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. If you're looking for the best trails around Tsakhkadzor, Tegher or Sevaberd, we've got you covered. Ready for some activity? There are 17 moderate trails in Kotayk ranging from 2.7 to 74.3 miles and from 3,415 to 12,729 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
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Map of trails in Kotayk
Top trails (23)
#1 - Southern Peak of Aragats
Tegher, Kotayk, Armenia
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Length: 5.9 mi • Est. 3 h 46 m
This hike begins at an altitude of 3,250m above sea level. Located near the high-mountainous, cold, freshwater lake known as Kari Lake (Stone lake). The beauty of the lake is greatly accentuated by the surrounding alpine meadows, varied flowers, mountainous fresh air and by the view of the snowy peaks of Aragats. The best time to hike here is around the middle of May. The weather should be warm, although the area is covered with snow. There is a 1-2 km road leading to the lake with 2-3m high snow formations stretching along either sides of the road, with interesting shapes created by the influence of the sun. These snowy formations will entirely melt by the end of July and the rest of the snow in the surrounding area will be completely melted sometime between August and September. Mount Aragats: Aragats Mountain is the highest mountain top (4,090m) in the Republic of Armenia. It is a shield-shaped massif, with a diameter of about 200km and about a 4,000 square km area, together with its fan-shaped slopes, lying between the areas of the Aragatsotn and Shirak regions. Aragats was formerly one of the largest volcanoes in the world. It has four peaks and an immense crater (with a depth of 400m and 3km in diameter). The highest point is found on the northern most peak (4,090m), the second is the western (3,995.3m), the eastern peak is in third place (3,908.2m) and the southern is fourth (3,887.8m). The crater of Aragats is a water accumulating large pool, from which begins the river of Gegharot, a tributary of the Kasakh River. Aragats is famous for its coolwater sources, which form a number of large and small rivers (Gegharot, Amberd, Mantash, Narishd, Getadzor, Tsaghkahovit and others). The origin of the name of Aragats is ascribed to either Hayk’s son, Aramanyak, or to the God, Ara (Aragats - Ara’s throne). Once the mountain had only one big peak, but over the course of centuries, earthquakes and strong volcanoes resulted in the split of the mountain into several parts, thus creating the four peaks of Aragats which can be seen today. There is a hotel-restaurant located near Kari Lake, which is famed for serving khash – one of the most tasty dishes in the Armenian cuisine. Khash represents a special ritual: it is prepared using domestic animals’ (cow, bull, calf) legs, heads and tongues. The preparatory work lasts for 1-2 days, while the cooking duration is 6-10 hours. The table setting also has its rules: on the khash table, it is necessary to put salt, garlic, different herbs, radish, dried lavash (traditional Armenian thin bread), other types of bread (baked only in Armenia and only by Armenians) and wet lavash, alcoholic drinks like vodka can also be a part of the khash table. This traditional Armenian feast of khash usually begins early in the morning on Saturday or Sunday. Show more
#2 - Harichavank Monastery, Forests and the Medieval Monasteries of Pemzashen
Harich, Kotayk, Armenia
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Length: 7.1 mi • Est. 3 h 18 m
Overview This hike is located in the high mountainous province of Shirak, which borders the countries of Turkey and Georgia. The route begins at Harichavank (a monastic complex built in the VII century) located near the town of Artik. Adjacent to Harichavank, there is a religious school belonging to the Armenian Apostolic church. The route then leads up to the forest, situated high on the top of the neighboring peak, where there once was an active skiing base during the times of Soviet Armenia. Currently, pines and species of firs as well as ash and maple trees are the main “dwellers” of the forest. The cool healing waters of underground springs can also be found throughout the hike. Cultural and Historic Monuments Harichavank is a medieval monastic complex located nearby, and represents one of the many ancient medieval Armenian monasteries. The oldest building is the St. Gregory church, built in the VII century, adjacent to which there is a double chapel, built in the 13th century. The major church of the monastery was built in the style of a large cross - domed building, which was erected by order of the Zakare and Ivan brothers, in 1,201 AD. This monument is one of the jewels of Armenian medieval architecture, covered with delightful ornaments, and is appreciated for its’ simplicity and perfect construction. The monastery used to be a scientific center as well, and between 1,887-1,889, Avetik Isahakyan studied in the famous school located there. At the Harichavank monastery, future clergymen are brought up and educated. Currently there are religious schools not only in Harichavank but also in Vagharshapat and Sevanavank. The Legend of Harichavank During the invasion of the Seljuks, many people entered the church and disappeared without a trace. The Seljuks interpreted this miracle as a power of the soul, and that the church people had turned into pigeons and flew away. However, there was a secret passage within the church, which allowed the Armenian refugees to descend to the bottom of the nearby gorge. Entering the church and finding no one there, the Seljuks became furious and destroy the church. With the help of horses, they pulled down the four columns that carried the belfry, but they did not manage to destroy the church in its entirety. Fearing the miracle of the indestructible church, the Seljuks did not make any further attempts to destroy the monastic structure. According to another legend, one of the noble maidens, escaping from the Seljuks, found shelter in a chapel built on the neighboring rocks, and when the Seljuks tried to seduce the young maiden out, the rock was split into two parts. Scared of such a miracle, the Seljuks retreated and the maiden was saved. The Medieval Monasteries of Pemzashen Makaravank On the way to Lernakert, heading southeast from Pemzashen, the St. Sion church of Makaravank can be found, which according to records, was built by Sahak, in the year 1,001 AD. The ancient cemetery of the monastery is located around the church. Not far down in the gorge, the St. Astvatsatin single - nave church (XVII century) is located. The “Tsak Qar” small hand - made cave is also situated here. The Arakelots monastery (VII century) is located in the center of Pemzashen village. It consists of three early - medieval churches built adjacent to each other. As a group of IV-VII century monuments, it is considered one of the unique examples of ancient Armenian architecture and one of the oldest by its compositional peculiarities. The central church of the complex (VI c.) has three apse – inwardly cruciform, with a central dome, while rectangular in outward appearance. This church is the only one among four-wing, small domed constructions, with a composition which is outwardly enclosed in a rectangle. It is built of large polished stones of tufa, and decorated with inscriptions left by the original builders. This decorative style is typical of the Armenian architecture of the VI-VII centuries. The carved entrance to the church is quite remarkable, when entering you can see the portrait of St. Mary with the child Jesus in her arms, and in front of that, sculptures of angels with their arms spread open. Flora Nature in the province of Shirak is full of diverse plants, various bushes and trees, and is sparsely covered with forest vegetation. The hike is mainly surrounded by many species of flowers and plants useful for apiculture. Wild herbs useful for medicine are also common here, and during the summer months, the vegetation is thick and very lush. Fauna There are few fauna species on the lower slopes of Aragats. Here, sightings of wolves, foxes, rabbits, mice, birds, butterflies, insects and beetles are common. During the summer months, various species of snakes can also be seen here. Show more
#3 - The Pagan Temple of Garni, Havuts Tar
Garni, Kotayk, Armenia
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Length: 8.1 mi • Est. 4 h 57 m
Overview This hike begins from the Pagan Temple of Garni, and is best undertaken from early spring to late autumn. The Garni temple overlooks the miraculous basalt column formation known as “Symphony of the Stones”, located down in the gorge, on the east side of Garni. Another natural formation known as “Djutakasar” is also located in the gorge, and seems like an inseparable part of the “Symphony”. Equally admirable is the Azat Gorge, with birds flying in the gorge and the Azat river flowing and foaming beneath (the most suitable months to enjoy the area are May and June). The plants, encountered within the Azat Gorge vary greatly, depending on the season: different herbs, and colorful flowers with healing properties stretch along the entire hike. The hike from Garni to Havuts Tar passes through the Gorge of Garni, near the Azat river. It is necessary to register in the guardhouse located on the way to the Havuts Tar monastic complex, then enter the “Khosrov State Reserve” (Havuts Tar is located in the reserve). After registration, the winding road will lead up to the ancient monastery nestled on the peak of the mountain. Flora The flora within the Khosrov Reserve is plentiful – it includes around 1,800 species of plants, which constitute more than 50% of Armenia's flora, 146 of these are registered in the Red Data Book of the Republic of Armenia. In the areas between the Garni and Havuts Tar monastery there are a variety of interesting plants, trees and flowers, which vary depending on each microclimate. Semi-desert landscape dominates the lower slopes of the mountains, and forest vegetation covers the mid-altitude slopes, where juniper and oak trees grow. Other plants include the broadleaf spindle (Euonymus europaeus), guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus), sorbus and Caucasian honeysuckle. Many species of flowers such as cichorium, white chamomile, clary sage (Salvia), valeriana (Valerians), centaurea, nettle, plantain (Plantago), white bryony, and achillea, which are said to have healing properties, can also be seen. Plants like thyme (Thymus) and mint grow here, and are often used as herbs in teas and cooking. Fauna It is quite possible to hike this entire route without seeing any animals. However, the opposite is also true. A primary task of the Khosrov Reserve is the protection and breeding of species, which is strictly monitored and controlled. Usurian spotted deer, for example, was introduced to the reserve in 1,954. The most common animals include the Armenian mouflon (wild sheep) and Bezoar goat (wild goat) and some species of amphibious reptiles that can be encountered here in great numbers in the summer months, due to the hot weather. Other, rarer sightings include leopards, brown bears, wild boars, foxes, hares, lynxes, martens, wolves and badgers. The birdlife is especially abundant, and sightings of black kite, bearded vulture, griffon vulture, eagle, wild pigeon and jay are common. There are also many reptiles, and hikers are recommended to take extra care to avoid unwanted encounters with toxic vipers (Gyurza, in Armenian). Route Characteristics Best time: April to November Distance from Yerevan to the village of Garni: 26 km Duration from Yerevan to the village of Garni: 37 m Cost to get there (by taxi): 2,500-2,700 AMD Cost to get there (by bus): 250 AMD Cost of the ticket to enter Garni temple: 1000 AMD Route Distance: 11 km Route Duration (climbing): 3 hours Altitude (from Sea Level): 160-1,400 m Visible Trail Surface: 100% Safety and Connectivity Mobile telephone coverage (via Ucom) is available between Garni and Havuts Tar, except during some parts of the winding road. 911 emergency services operate throughout Armenia in case of any accidents. Be sure to bring bottled water! Show more
#4 - Mushroom Path from Sevaberd to Geghashen
Sevaberd, Kotayk, Armenia
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Length: 6.4 mi • Est. 3 h 4 m
This hike follows a popular mushroom picking path from the Sevaberd Fortress to Geghashen village, on the slopes of the Gegham Mountain Ridge in the Kotayk province. The path goes through wild fields, over rolling hills and deep gorges. Though beautiful in all seasons, it is hiked most often in spring and autumn, due to the abundance in mushrooms such as champignons and blue vein mushrooms. Although many of these are edible, no mushroom should be ingested without checking with an experienced local, unless hikers are knowledgeable in mycology and mushroom hunting, especially with regards to this region. Azhdahak Mountain, the heighest peak of the Gegham Ridge, at an altitude of 3,597m, is visible on this hike. There are hotels in Geghashen where hikers can rest overnight, before returning to Yerevan. Sevaberd Fortress (Black Fortress, in Armenian) is located along the road to Sevaberd village. It is a notable fortress, built in black stone, but a lack of scientific and historic research into its origins means there is little information about it. The down layouts of the castle are cyclopean, while the upper walls are reminiscent of medieval architecture. In this regard, the foundation of the castle has been dated from around the 1000-2000 BC to medieval period. The inhabitants of Geghashen village, who had emigrated from the cities of Western Armenia – built Saint George Church (Surb Gevorg, in Armenian) in 1870. The church is still operational, and holds many wedding ceremonies throughout the year. Besides the mushrooms on this hike, Kotayk’s flora is rich in herbs, bushes and forests. The flowers along the route sustain apiculture farms in the region, and many are used for medicinal purposes as well. Flowers commonly found in this area include chicory, sage, valerian, cornflower, nettle, plantago, white bryony and achillea. Locals from the area typically harvest wild herbs, to eat and make tea with, including thyme, which is known to reduce blood pressure. The fauna of the area includes mostly small animals, such as foxes, rabbits and mice – although occasionally their predators, wolves, descend into these valleys. There are a wide variety of birds, butterflies, insects and beetles, especially in spring. In the hot summer months, care should be taken to avoid dangerous encounters with snakes. Show more
#5 - Mayravank Church and Bjni Mineral Springs
Tsakhkadzor, Kotayk, Armenia
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Length: 3.8 mi • Est. 2 h 32 m
Overview This hike is located 4.5 km west of Bjni village, in the Kotayk province. The route ascends the mountain slopes – amidst spruces and the smell of fresh grass and catmint, awarding breathtaking views of the Geghama Mountain Range and Mt. Ararat – until the ancient Mayravank Church. Nearby is the town of Tsaghkadzor, a popular ski resort and tourist destination. The route returns via the same path, and can be carried on through to Bjni village, which is famous for its mineral waters and historical-cultural monuments. Cultural and Historic Monuments Mayravank was founded by Hovnan Mayravanetsi (Mayragometsi) in the 7th century. While the St. Astvatsatsin Church of Mayravank was built in 12th century. The church is listed in protection and restoration documents approved by the government, but now lies in disrepair, with many of its original stones and ornaments strewn around the church and its grounds. Flora The Kotayk province, which ranges in altitudes between 900-3,600 meters above sea level, is flanked by the Tsaghkunyats Mountain Range to the north and the Geghama Mountain Range to the east. The flora of the province is rich and varied, with many flowers, bushes, and forests. Some of these flowers are used for their medicinal properties, and others are used by bees to produce delicious honey. The flora is especially splendid in the summer months. Some flowers that grow here include cichorium, salvia, valeriana, nettle, plantago, white bryonia, and achillea. Thyme and mint also grow here, and are used to make tea – thyme is known to lower blood pressure. Other plants include achillea ordinary (Achillea millefolium L.), greater burdock Paladini (Arctium palladinii Grossh), Artemisia Armenian (Arteisia armeniaca Lam.), Artemisa absinthium (Arteisia absinthium L.), Falcaria vulgaris (Falcaria vulgaris Bernh.), (Eryngium billardieri Delar.), (Inuia auriculata Boiss. Et Bal.), Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale Wigg.), salsify (Tragopogon reticulatus Boiss. ET Huet), (Anchusa azurea Mill.), (Leontodon crispus Vill.), (Cichorium intybus L.), and dwarf everlasting (Helichrysum plicatum DC.). Fauna There are many species of animals in the Kotayk province, especially in the area of Tsaghkadzor and on the lower slopes. Mammals that can be encountered include grey bears, wolves, foxes, badgers, and a variety of mice and rabbits. In hot summer months many types of reptiles can be seen, including vipera ‎(gurza), (Malpolon monspesscullanus), many species of whip snakes, golden mabuya (Mabuya aurata), and Schneider's skink. Common amphibians include the marsh frog (Rana ridibunda), green toad (Bufo viridis), tree frog of Asia Minor (Hyla savigna) and the common birds of the area are quail (Coturnix coturnix), grey partridge (Perdix perdix), turtledove (Streptopelia turtur), common falco (Falco tinunnculus), Pallid harrier, (Circus macrourus), Little owl (Athene noctua), and European roller (Coracias careulus). Route Characteristics Best Time/Weather: April to November Route Distance: 6.4 km Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes Altitude (from Sea Level): 1,531 -2,000m Existing Trail Surface: 100% existing Trail Difficulty: Easy Distance from Yerevan: 50 km (1 hour) Cost to get there from Yerevan (by taxi): 5,000 AMD (1 km = 100 AMD) Safety and Connectivity Mobile telephone coverage is available at all times throughout the hike, and the 911 emergency service operates throughout Armenia in case of any accidents. Be aware of rapid changes in weather, especially in spring, as lightning storms are common. Hiking on the mountain in gloomy and rainy weather is not recommended. Be sure to bring bottled water! Show more
#6 - Yerevan - Garni – Geghard - Yerevan: Cycling trail
Yerevan, Kotayk, Armenia
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Length: 38.5 mi
Description of the Trail The trail is located in the Kotayk marz of Armenia. The cycling trail is best started early in the morning to avoid the heat (but you can choose the right time for yourself). Continuing the route, it reaches the Garni pagan temple. This is the only preserved pagan Temple which keeps the Armenian nation intact until now (I). The pagan temple of Garni is followed by an important Christian center and a place of prayer called Geghardavank (Vd). These two hearths are of great importance both from tradition and history, from the point of view of faith and religion. After receiving spiritual food, you can taste the Armenian traditional sweets, grapes and fruit, which will be offered to you by hard-working Armenian grandmothers. The return on route is also indicated. Description of the Monuments Temple of Garni The pagan temple of Garni is located in Kotayk marz on the right bank of the Azat River. The foundation of Garni is attributed to the grandson of Hayk Nahapet Gegham, whose grandson Garnik was also called Garni. The style of the castle architecture is Hellenistic, it was built by King Trdat in 76 AD. This remarkable system was built on a triangular high moon. The castle of Garni has been destroyed for several centuries. However, the Armenian kings restored the castle to a summer residence, a meeting place for maneuvers, and a bishopopian settlement. Ancient archeological excavations and archeological finds were discovered during archaeological excavations in Garni. Early Armenian Urartian ceramics and cuneiform inscriptions were also discovered by King Argishti. There was a civilized settlement in front of the castle, traces of which were covered with medieval and modern times. The village is located on the hillside north of the medieval cemetery, with cross-stone cross-stones, and inscribed gravestones. In all seasons of the year, the temple is open to all. At night, it is illuminated with beautiful lights. Geghard Monastery (Geghard village) The distance from Yerevan is 35 km. It is located on the right bank of the Azat River, in historic Gegharddzor. The monastery is a complex, consisting of the main temple, two courtyards and two churches, as well as a number of cells and tombs. Entrance to the rocky building, interior walls and pillars are decorated with beautiful sculptures. The tropical cliffs surrounding the monastery are of special beauty and majesty. Geghard Monastery was founded in the early years of Christianity becoming the state religion in Armenia (beginning of the 4th century). The foundation of the monastery was attributed to Grigor Lusavorich. Geghardavank was one of the spiritual and cultural centers of medieval Armenia. Many Armenian manuscripts have been reached, some of which are kept in Matenadaran after M. Mashtots. The monastery was repeatedly exposed to raiding, but it was inaccessible to capture the enemy. The building has been recognized as part of UNESCO's World Heritage and is considered one of the best sights in Armenia. Flora From Garni Temple to Geghard you will see interesting and varied plants, trees and flowers that will change depending on the climate. On the lower slopes of the slopes, the semi-desert landscape is dominant. The forest vegetation is spread in the form of islands at the average altitude and is composed of juniper forests and oak trees. There are also broad-leaved Illene, Crocodile, Arazene, and Caucasian Chickpea. At a higher, mountainous vegetation, there are chicory, white chamomile, sage, carnivorous, cornflower, healing nectar, ox, tongue white, lithelium and many more. Thyme herb is also used as tea grass, which has the potential to reduce blood pressure. Fauna It is not possible to see animals while crossing the cycling route. But leaving the territory of Garni, you will reach the eastern part of Khosrov State Reserve where the representatives of the fauna are in fact living. Wildlife is characterized by Armenian mouflon (wild sheep) and Bezoar goat. There are also leopard, brown bear, boar, fox, rabbit, lilac, blackberries, wolves, whirlwinds, and more. It is particularly rich in bird species; there are black cats, herring, white vulture, eagle, wild pigeon, and so on. There are many reptiles, particularly poisonous gyroscope. Since 1954, it has been cosmetic to the dessert deer. Safety All types of telephone connections are available during the Garni-Geghard cycling trail. There are 911 rescue services in the case of an accident. Trail technical parameters The best time: April-November The length of the cycling trail is 61.6 km Duration of the cycling trail is 5.5 hours (Please note this timeframe, but not the GPS device) Height from sea level 1000-1400-1700 m 100% of the road is asphalt Buy bottled water and take it with you Show more
#7 - Tegher Monastery
Tegher, Kotayk, Armenia
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Length: 4.8 mi • Est. 3 h 8 m
Tegher Monastery is located in the village of Tegher in the province of Aragatsotn. It is a beautiful place, and the old, grey and faded walls of the church are especially admirable in sunny weather. The small stone chairs offer a calm place to sit, to have a rest, eat something and to take breath before the long hike ahead. Because of the abundance of herbs growing in proximity to the village, the church and the village are called Tegher, or Degher (medicine, in Armenian). As the hike continues from the church through the village, a nice open field provides views of Mount Ararat – the highest mountain of the Armenian highland – and the four peaks of Mount Aragats are also visible. Along the route, the flora varies depending on the terrain. The beginning of the route is rich with high stem plants, which become sparser towards the end of the route. Amberd Fortress, located on this route, was built in the 10th century as a defensive shelter and an educational centre. Tegher Monastery is located in Tegher village. It is included in the list of Historical and Cultural Monuments of Armenia. According to the inscriptions on the stone façade of the narthex’s entrance, Mamakhatun, the wife of the Prince Vache Vachutian of Ararat, built the monastery. The complex consists of the St. Astvatsatsin (Surb Astvatsatsin) Church and its narthex. The flora of Aragatson is rich and varied, as it is in the surroundings of Tegher village and in areas near Amberd castle. In spring months middle-aged women hurry to the fields to collect edible greens (astrodaucus, sorrel (lat. Rumex, falcaria, etc.), from which they cook tasty meals. The area is also rich in herbs they use to make tea. From May to July, the surrounding area of Amberd is covered with various flowers, among which are Ornithogalum, Pulsatilla (Pulsatilla armena), Corydalis (Corydalis nariniana) and Gladiolus (Gladiolus tenuis). The grass is dense and splendid in both places. While walking, bushes such as rosehip and rose bushes, and a whole variety of spring and summer flowers can be seen. It is common to not encounter any animals on this hike, although there are some on the lower slopes of Aragats. These include grey bear, wolf, fox, rabbit, jerboa, lizards, turtles and snakes, some types of mice, many types of birds, insects and beetles. Due to the rapid changes in weather, they are generally quite reserved and evasive. Show more
#8 - Sevaberd, Geghama Mountains, Azhdahak
Sevaberd, Kotayk, Armenia
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Length: 24.2 mi
#9 - Kecharis and Makravank Monasteries
Tsakhkadzor, Kotayk, Armenia
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Length: 2.7 mi • Est. 1 h 18 m
Overview This hike starts from a medieval centre of cultural significance located around 60km away from Yerevan, in the town of Tsakhkadzor,in the Kotayk province. The town of Tsakhkadzor is classified as one of the smallest in Armenia by population, however, it is a popular mountain resort and a large sports centre.Its 6km aerial tramway, built in 1972 (recently upgraded to a total of 10km), has long been a common destination for locals and tourists alike, wishing to see the view from the peak of Mt. Teghenis. This aerial tramway, which operates in summer and winter months, also offers access to some of the best ski slopes in Armenia. If it is operational, a ride to the peak is definitely recommended, for the stunning 360-degree panoramic views. Tsakhkadzor is also a locally renowned health resort, famous for its rest houses, tourist bases and restaurants serving diverse ethnic dishes from the Armenian cuisine. Kecharis Monastery, where plenty of Armenian youth from all over the country get married, is located right in the heart of the town. The ceremonies held in the church join many Armenian families, and visitors are quite likely to witness an Armenian wedding in the monastery while on the trail. The trail also runs through Aghveran National Park,home todiverse fauna and flora. Cultural and Historic Monuments The Kecharis Monastic Complex was constructedbetween the 11th-13th centuries and was one of the major cultural and religious centres of Medieval Armenia. Great scientists and political figures of the time lived and worked in the monastery. The complex consists of four churches, two chapels and a gavit (similar to a narthex, or entrance to the church). The main temple, the Church of Saint Grigor, is the monastery's first structure, erected by GrigorMagistrosPahlavuni in 1003. Inscriptions on top of the southern entrance support this fact. The churchhas been destroyed and renovated several times over the centuries. The exterior ornamentation of the Church of SurpNshan is modest; and the interior only features some structural fluting overlooking the altar on the eastern side. Katoghike Church has a cruciform layout, with a domed roof and two-story annexes on all four corners of the prayer hall. Its ornamentation makes it the most magnificent church of all in the KecharisMonastic Complex and it blends well into the landscape. Makravank, built between the 9th-13thcenturies, is located near the village of Makravan (currently one of the districts in the town of Hrazdan). The main structure of the monastery, the 13thcentury church dedicated to SurbAstvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) has a circular tambour and a conical cupola. The complex also encompasses the lower walled gavit and a medieval cemetery. The church is surrounded with khachkars (cross stones). The adjacent 10th-11th century Holy Redeemer Chapel to the south is a simple building with a gable roof. It has two small, narrow windows; one at the front, and one at the rear. A smaller semi-circular tympanum rests above the door to the chapel, while two large khachkars sit in front. To the west of SurbAstvatsatsin and near the chapel, are the lower walls of the church's gavit that now serve as a wall for a courtyard. The monastery's medieval cemetery sits to the east and has several interesting khachkars and tombstones. Flora The Tsaghkunyats Mountains on the north and the Geghama Mountain Range on the east border the Kotayk province, at an altitude between 900-2,500m. The flora of the Kotayk province is rich and varied, with many plants, bushes, and forests covered most of its territory. Some types of flowers and plants, beneficial to apiculture farms, grow along this route. There are also some species of plants with medicinal use. The flora is very splendid, especially in summer months. Among some of the flowers that grow here are cichorium, salvia, valeriana, nettle (with medicinal properties), plantago, white bryonia, and achillea. Other plants includeachillea ordinary (Achilleamillefolium L.), greater burdock Paladini (ArctiumpalladiniiGrossh), Artemisia Armenian (Arteisiaarmeniaca Lam.), Artemisaabsinthium (Arteisiaabsinthium L.), Falcaria vulgaris (Falcaria vulgaris Bernh.), (EryngiumbillardieriDelar.), (InuiaauriculataBoiss. Et Bal.), Dandelion (TaraxacumofficinaleWigg.), salsify (TragopogonreticulatusBoiss. ET Huet), (Anchusaazurea Mill.), (LeontodoncrispusVill.), (Cichoriumintybus L.), dwarf everlasting (Helichrysumplicatum DC.). Thyme and mint are often collected in this region and used for brewing tea. Thyme is known to lower blood pressure. Fauna Kotayk province, especially the area around Tsakhkadzor, is rich infauna that mainly inhabits the lower slopes. Big mammals include brown bears, wolves and deer, and there are a variety of fox, badger, weasel, hare, marten and mice. During the months of summer, one can come across reptiles such as Malpolonmonspesscullanus, Mabuyaaurata, and Eumecesschneideri. Show more
#10 - Stone Lake (Kari Lich) to Amberd
Tegher, Kotayk, Armenia
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Length: 15.8 mi • Est. 8 h 48 m
Description of the trail: The trail starts from the area of Stone Lake (Kari Lich), which is located in Aragatsotn marz of RA. The slopes of Aragats should be rised 30km with a sinuous narrow asphalt road by taxi. After getting used to the site and seeing the panorama of Mount Aragats and Lake Kari, you will connect to the main route through the Aragats research station and walk to the medieval Amberd complex. From the Stone Lake to the Amberd highway you will see all the mountains images and picturesque nature occupying the central position. After stopping at the historic Amberd castle, you will continue the way to Yerevan by any means of transportation. Description of the Monuments The Aragats massif: Mount Aragats is considered to be the highest point of the Republic of Armenia at 4090 m from sea level. The circumference of the base is about 200 km, and the mount occupies 4,000 km2 with its roaring slopes. Aragats has been one of the largest volcanoes in the world. On the inclines of Aragats have been preserved old traces of ancient culture: irrigation network, fishing rocks called "dragon" symbolizing water cult, and remarkable structures of medieval architecture (Amberd, Byurakan, etc.). It has a 400 m deep and 3 km diameter giant crater and four pillars. The highest is the northern peak with 4090 m height on the sea level. The second is the western peak (3995.3m), the third is the eastern peak (3908.2m) and, finally, the fourth peak(the South 3887.8m). Lake Sevan (Kari Lich): The lake is named Kari for two reasons: first, it is surrounded with flat and sharp-edge stones, second, its water is cold like the stone. This mountain lake in Armenia is covered by snow and ice until mid-July. The lake is with 3200 m height of the sea level. "Aragats" scientific station: The Aragats Research Station was founded by the Alikhanyan brothers. It is a unique place for this region of the world. The Alikhanyan brothers started research on rays composed of elementary particles coming from the Sun, stars and other parts of the Universe. For that reason they founded the cosmic ray station on Mount Aragats, in the summer of 1942. This Station was the first mountain station in the Soviet Union. Here, at the slopes of Mount Aragats, they were the first in the world, to discover protons in cosmic rays with new, unknown elementary particles and great energy. This discovery played an important role in revealing the secrets of cosmic rays. Amberd Medieval fortress and castle: It was built during the 10th century in the historical marz of Aragatsotn, 7km to the north from Byurakan village (on the southern incline of Mount Aragats) at the connecting point of Arshakhen and Amberd rivers, at the altitude of 2,300 meters in relation to the sea level. The principals of the fortification building of medieval Armenia are reflected in this castle. The castle and some parts of the fortress were built in the 7th century by the Kamsarakan family. In the 10th century it passed to Pahlavuni princes and became the possession of Bagratuni’s Kingdom as an important military base. Amberd lost its significance after the Turkish-Tatar invasions, moreover, it became a deserted building during the reign Tamerlane in the late 14th century. The church of Amberd was built in 1026 during the ruling period of Vahram Pahlavuni. On the way back you can also visit The Armenian Alphabet Monument after M. Mashtots, Saghmosavank, Hovhannavank Monasteries. Flora: The semi-desert, dry mountain grasslands and alpine zones follow each other up the slopes of Aragats. Rivers, flowing through beautiful gorges and valleys covered will low grasses, create small waterfalls in some places. People come here from all over, to behold Aragats, enjoy the alpine zone of the Mount, and to see the meadows decorated with colourful flowers, such as blue forget-me-nots, alpine violets, wild lilies, poppies, bellflowers, and more. The flora of Amberd and the Amberd gorge differs from the nature of Aragats. In spring and summer the nature awakens here, and in autumn the colours of forest trees and shrubs create a perfect palette. Both sides of the road from Byurakan to the Armenian Alphabet Monument are covered with forests, where people spend their holidays. Fauna: You may come across foxes, wolves, rodents and rabbits. During very hot days, there are lots of reptiles (lizards, snakes), and rarely turtles. Security issues: In Armenian Alphabet Monument and from Stone Lake to Amberd, Ucom and Viva Cell-Mts mobile connections are always available․ In case of an accident 911 rescue services operate in Armenia 24/7. Beware of the dogs protecting the flock of sheep. Trail technical parameters Best period: May – October Distance: 60 km from Yerevan Duration: 1 hour 30 min, by M1 Cost: 6000 AMD (1km=100AMD) Hike trail length: 13 km Hike run: 4.5 hours Height from sea level: 2300-3200m Buy bottled water and take it with you ©State Tourism Committee of RAShow more
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