Temple of Garni, Gilan Village, Ice Prince Cave and Rock Temple

MODERATE 1 reviews

Temple of Garni, Gilan Village, Ice Prince Cave and Rock Temple is a 10.5 kilometer lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Urtsadzor, Kotayk', Armenia that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.

DISTANCE
10.5 km
ELEVATION GAIN
889 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

hiking

cave

views

wild flowers

historic site

no dogs

This hike is located on the border of the Kotayk and Ararat regions. After visiting the temple of Garni, you will travel to the entrance of the Khosrov reserve, where a service car will take you to Gilan village, within the reserve. You can buy yourself some extra time to explore more sights by spending the night in the village; overnight accommodations and meals can be arranged with a local family. The return is by the same route. Ice Prince Cave (Great Cave: This cave is a natural monument in the Khosrov Reserve. It was previously referred to as a settlement. Some evidence claims that there was once a three-story church inside the cave, but today only a few walls remain preserved. The Ice Prince Cave is distinguished for its size and attractiveness. In winter, interesting icy vertical images cover the ground of the cave, and in summer, it hosts a magnificent view over the cliffs. Rock Temple: This temple is a small medieval chapel carved into a piece of a red rock. Crosses and icons have been carefully carved onto its walls. The flora within the Khosrov Reserve is plentiful, and includes around 1,800 species of plants, which constitute over 50% of Armenia's flora. 146 of these plants are registered in the Red Data Book of the Republic of Armenia. In the areas between Gilan and Kakavaberd, there are a variety of interesting plants, trees and flowers, which vary depending on each microclimate. A 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, guelder-rose, sorbus, and Caucasian honeysuckle. There are also numerous species of flowers such as cichorium, white chamomile, clary sage, valeriana, Centaurea, nettle, plantain, white bryony, and Achillea , which are said to have healing properties. Plants like thyme (Thymus) and mint grow here, and are often used as herbs in teas and cooking. Thyme is known to lower blood pressure. 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, were introduced to the reserve in 1954. The most common animals include the Armenian mouflon, Bezoar goat, and some species of amphibious reptiles that can be encountered in great numbers in the summer months. Other, rarer sightings include leopards, brown bears, wild boars, foxes, hares, lynxes, martens, wolves, and badgers. The birdlife is especially abundant, with common sightings of black kite, bearded vulture, griffon vulture, eagle, wild pigeon and jay. Because of the great number of reptiles, hikers are encouraged to take extra care to avoid unwanted encounters with toxic vipers (Gyurza, in Armenian).