Temple of Garni, Gilan Village, Zhayrapor (Carved into a Rock) Church

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Temple of Garni, Gilan Village, Zhayrapor (Carved into a Rock) Church is a 17.5 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near Urtsadzor, Kotayk', Armenia that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips.

DISTANCE
17.5 km
ELEVATION GAIN
1006 m
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

hiking

nature trips

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

historic site

no dogs

Overview The hike is located on the shared border between the provinces of Kotayk and Ararat. After visiting the Garni temple in the village Garni and exploring its magnificence, the trail will then continue to Gilan village (8 km from Garni) in the “Khosrov Reserve”. From the entrance of the reserve, a car will take the visitors up to the starting point of the trail in Gilan village. It is also possible to spend the night in Gilan village and explore several other routes. For this purpose, arrangements can be made beforehand with a local family to provide an overnight stay and food. Zhayrapor Church (Church Carved into a Rock) Half of this medieval church is currently buried underground, and may be difficult to notice at first. Look for the front entrance of the church, it is ornately decorated. 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 temple of 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, and 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. 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. Fauna It is quite possible to hike this entire route without seeing any animals, however, the opposite is also true. The 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 birdlife of the reserve is especially abundant; about 142 species of birds can be encountered here, 66 of which (including Egyptian and black kite, griffon vulture, bearded vulture, golden and little spotted eagles, northern falcon) are registered in the Red Data Book of Armenia. There are 55 species of mammals, 18 of which are registered in the Red data Book of Armenia, among them the Syrian Brown Bear, wild boar, long-eared hedgehog, Armenian mouflon (wild sheep), Bezoar goat (wild goat), lynx, wolf, fox as well as some species of amphibious reptiles, 7 species of fish, more than 30 species of reptiles (like Levantine viper, Montpellier snake, dotted dwarf(Eirenis) and collared dwarf snakes, Pleske's racerunner, five-streaked and three-lined lizards, golden grass and Snaider’s skinks, eastern spadefoot and others) that can be encountered here in great numbers in the summer months, due to the hot climate. Route Characteristics Best Time: April to November Distance from Yerevan to Garni village: 26 km (37 minutes) Cost from Yerevan to Garni village (by taxi): 2,700-3,000AMD It is possible to get to Gilan village by the service cars of the Khosrov reserve. Route Distance: 14 km Route Duration: 4h 15m Altitude (from Sea Level):1,584-1,874 m Visible Trail Surface: 80%, 20% difficult to discern Price List in the Khosrov State Reserve (Price per day) http://khosrovreserve.am/ Guide 15,000AMD Transport 15,000-20,000AMD Horse 10,000AMD Entrance ticket to the Khosrov reserve 2,000 AMD Safety and Connectivity Mobile telephone coverage is not available in the area within Gilan village, nor the church carved into the rock (coverage is available only in one place in Gilan village). The 911 emergency services operate throughout Armenia in case of any accidents. Be aware of snakes and be sure to bring bottled water!