Village Nshkhark, Vardenyats Mountain Pass, Sakoivar Mountain

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Village Nshkhark, Vardenyats Mountain Pass, Sakoivar Mountain is a 17.7 kilometer lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Madina, Kotayk', Armenia that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for downhill skiing.

17.7 km
1055 m
Out & Back





historic site

Description of the Ski Trail This trail traverses through the Vardenyats Mountain Pass, in the Gegharkunik province. The ski trail begins in the village of Nshkhark. You must walk up the hill from the village, admiring the abundance of breathtaking landscapes along the trail. Sakoivar Mountain is one of the highest peaks of the Vardenis mountain range. This ski trail is rather long, which is great for downhill skiing. You will be able to admire the view of Lake Sevan and Mount Ararat (5,165m) from the top of the summit. Description of the Monument Vardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim Mountain Pass) The Vardenyats Mountain Pass, previously known as the Selim Mountain Pass, is located in Gegharkunik province, west of the Vardenis mountain range, at an altitude of 2,410m above sea level. The Vardenyats Mountain pass links the Argichi valley, the Sevan Basin and Vayk. The Martuni – Yeghegnadzor highway also crosses through the Vardenyats Mountain pass. Orbelian's Caravanserai or the Selim Caravanserai, was built along the Vardenyats Mountain Pass in the 13th century. Metaksi Chanaparh (Silk Road) The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes connecting China with regions in Asia and Europe. It operated between the 2nd millennium BC, up to the 16th century AD. The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade. Initially silk was the main transferred good. The Road was more than 7 thousand km long, with a subsequent marine path being built much later. These old and new worlds bartered in intermediary countries as well. The Armenian Highland was a bridge between Europe and West Asia. These international trade routes linked Armenia with the Black and Mediterranean sea-ports, crossing the Highlands of Armenia. Commercial transactions were carried out in Iran, Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and China through these routes. Plutarch testifies that Artashat (the capital of Armenia) had a wide range of important trade and economic relations during the 1st century BC. Strabon and other historians of Ancient History write about Armenia’s crucial intermediary role in Roman-Parthian trade relations. Orbelian's Caravanserai Orbelian’s Caravanserai offered hospitality for travellers who were passing along the highway and the Vardenyats Mountain Pass. Vardenyats is the best preserved mountain pass of all the medieval Armenian passes. Orbelian’s Caravanserai (14th century) in the Vardenyats Mountain Pass, served as an inn for traders passing through the Silk Road in the territory of Armenia. Marco Polo described how Armenians lived in these rugged mountains after he passed through this area. Fauna There are bears, wild boars, wolves, red foxes, wild rabbits, rodents, and more, in the forests. Safety Throughout the Vardenyats Mountain Pass, all the networks operating in Armenia are always available. In case of an emergency, call 911, a service available throughout Armenia. Technical Specifications of the Trail The best time to visit: January - March Yerevan is 146km away from Nshkhark village, so the road there takes about 2hr. 11min. and costs between 14,600 – 15,000 AMD (by taxi). The distance of the ski trail is 17.8km. The duration of skiing is 5 hours and 3min. The area is at an altitude of 2,300-3,299m above sea level. The best drink to have on hand is bottled water. How to Reach the Ski Trail To reach the above-mentioned ski trail, you need to get to Nshkhark village, in the Gegharkunik province. It is most convenient to travel by taxi. Taxi services are quite affordable throughout Armenia. We recommend taking a cab with a taximeter. ©State Tourism Committee of RA