Mount Ara

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Mount Ara is a 6.8 kilometer lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Ashtarak, Kotayk', Armenia that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for downhill skiing.

6.8 km
660 m
Out & Back





historic site

Route description The extreme ski route of Mount Ara is located in the Aragatsotn province, only 36 km away from Yerevan. In February, March and April, the route is most convenient for a ski tour because the snow is well melted and frozen, making it likely to avoid a snowstorm. The ground roadway leads up to the chapel Tsakhkevank, settled on the foot of Mount Ara, where the ski tour begins. The route is interesting but a bit risky. The ski route is serpentine until the pick of the mount, where the high cliffs are opened from both sides. It is also possible to do paragliding flights on the unique Mount Ara. Description of the monument On the inclines of the mountain is Tsakhkevank or Virgin Varvara monastery that is carved in the Mount Ara. Here the habitants celebrate Christian and Pagan holidays. There is a water source in this masonic monastery that is very useful and healing, especially for the eye. The amount of zinc in the water also has the ability to heal joints and muscle spasms. Legend of Tsaghkevank or Virgin Varavara Tsaghkevank is presented to be the statue of Virgin Varavara. According to another legend, there was a virgin named Tsaghik (Flower). One of the Armenian princes fell in love with her and her beauty and wished to ravish her. Tsaghik was afraid of him so she run away to hide in the mountain. On the inclines of the mountain she met a shepherd who was pasturing the lambs. The Virgin girl asked him not to tell anybody of her whereabouts. Meanwhile, the angry prince was looking for Tsaghik to punish her. On the way he met the shepherd who became afraid of the Prince and told him the place of the Virgin. When the girl saw the Prince, she climbed the rock and threw herself down. At that moment, the betrayer was turned into rocks with his sheep. Tsaghkevank chapel on Mount Ara was named after the virgin girl Tsaghik. The water dropping from the roof of the chapel is supposed to be the tears of the Virgin. People take the water to treat themselves and the animals. Visitors can also visit other sightseeing places of Aragatsotn marz, the Alphabet Park, Saghmosavank, and Hovhannavank. About the fauna It is possible to meet bears, wolves, foxes, wild rabbits during the winter on the inclines of the mountains. Security issues: Sometime the Viva Cell mobile connection is available from nor Erznka village up to the highest peak of Mount Ara. In case of an accident, rescue services function in Armenia 24/7 and the number is 911. Beware of dogs in the village. Trail technical parameters Best period: January-April Distance: 36 km from Yerevan, Duration: 1 hour by car Cost: 3600-4000 AMD Ski trail length: 8.7 km Ski run: 4 hours Height from sea level: 1800-2400 m The best drink is hot tea How to get to the Trail The departure from Yerevan to Nor Erznka village of Aragatsotn marz should be done by car (taxi), in order to reach the above mentioned ski trail. The reliable taxi cars are all over Armenia and with electronic counters that are quite affordable. ©State Tourism Committee of RA