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Kecharis and Makravank Monasteries is a 2.7 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Ծաղկա‎ձոր, Kotayk, Armenia that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as moderate and is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips.

Length 2.7 mi Elevation gain 324 ft Route type Point to Point

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Historic site

Description
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Getting There

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.

How to Get There In order to reach Kecharis Monastery, the most convenient option is to take a taxi from Yerevan to Tsakhkadzor. This will cost around 5,500 AMD. It is advisable to take a taxi with a working meter (be sure the driver uses it), or agree on a price beforehand. There are also buses to Tsakhkadzor that leave from Yerevan’s Zeytun District, near Raykom. This should cost between 500-700 AMD. From the last stop, you will have to walk up to the monastery by foot. Safety and Connectivity Mobile telephone coverage (via VivaCell-MTS, Beeline and U-Com) is available throughout the whole hike, and the 911 emergency service operates throughout Armenia in case of any accidents. Be sure to bring bottled water! Route Characteristics Best Time/Weather: April to November Route Distance: 4.5km Duration: 1 hours 30 minutes (do not rely on the GPS-derived time) Altitude (from Sea Level): 1,748 – 1,885m Existing Trail Surface: 100% Existing Trail Difficulty: Very easy Distance from Yerevan: 55km (1 hour 20 minutes) Cost to get there from Yerevan (by taxi): 5,500 AMD (1km = 100 AMD) Cost of aerial tramway ticket: 3,000 AMD

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State Tourism Committee Armenia
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