Yew Grove, Aghavnavank, Gandzakar Church Hiking Trail

MODERATE 1 reviews

Yew Grove, Aghavnavank, Gandzakar Church Hiking Trail is a 22.7 kilometer point-to-point trail located near Khachardzan, Kotayk', Armenia that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking and nature trips.

DISTANCE
22.7 km
ELEVATION GAIN
1,347 m
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

hiking

nature trips

views

wild flowers

wildlife

historic site

This hiking trail begins in the village of Aghavnavank, Tavush province. The distance of the trail is 24km and is expected to take two days, since it is full of ascents. On the first day, you should walk along the narrow streets of the village, up to Yew Grove in the ‘Dilijan’ National Park. Aghavnavank is 2km away from the village. Picturesque forest pathways will lead you to Aghavnavank Church, which is surrounded with rare species of trees. The ascent begins at Aghavnavank, and continues up to 2,150m. After the long walk, you might meet people living in tents, on the mountains, during the summer. The camping spot is marked on the trail. You can also collect some water here. During the hiking, as well as in the evening, you can enjoy the sight of the beautiful lush nature of the Tavush province, the high and rocky mountain range of Ijevan, the abundance of mountains, watch birds flying in the sky, and spend the night just watching the stars. On day two, you should walk up to the newly built church of Gandzakar village, which is the end of the trail. The return path is from Gandzakar village. Description of the Monument Aghavnavank is a dilapidated Armenian monastic complex built in the village of Aghavnavank, in the Tavush province, back in the 12-13th centuries. The church is set in a forest clearing and is distinguished by the few virgin groves of yew trees that are there. The church is a small central domed structure with chapels, built with yellow, pockmarked stone. The dome, with its peaked hood, stands on arches which bridge the pilasters. The dome and the church roof were covered with hewn flagstones, a few of which have been preserved. The cornice shaped stones have fallen with time, and the church is not functioning now. One of the trees near the church is considered a ‘dream tree’, where you can make a wish by tying handkerchiefs on the branches of the tree. Flora Tavush province occupies 2,704 square kilometres, and half of it is covered with various species of trees. An area for preserving national forests was created in 1958 and was called the Dilijan National Park, in 2002. The slopes, at an altitude of 600-2,000m, are forested, but in higher areas the landscape is mountainous. There are also numerous rivers in this area, the most abundant of which are the Aghstev, Hakhum, Debed and Tavush rivers. They flow between April-June. Diverse plants and flowers in high mountainous meadows impress most visitors. The main species of trees in these forests are the oriental beech, oak, hornbeam, linden, maple and yew. The highest peak of the Tavush province is Miapor peak (2,993m) of the Miapor mountain range. Fauna The fauna of Tavush is relatively rich. Here you can encounter a deer, Caucasian bear, wild boar, rabbit, badger, fox, hedgehog, jackal, voles, lynx, marten, myoxus glis, or even a squirrel. There are also various birds, reptiles, insects, fishes (including trout) in the rivers. Contrary to the flora and fauna, Tavush province is poor in mineral resources, especially metals and fuel. But there are lots of reserves of clay, tuff, marble, basalt, mineral dyes, conglomerates, limestone, dolomite, lithographic stone, agate, and Iceland spar in the Tavush province, which are extracted. Safety A mobile connection may not be available in the canyons and in the Dilijan National Park, but nearby the villages and at the top of mountains, Ucom and VivaCell-MTS networks are available. In case of emergency, call 911, a service available throughout Armenia. Beware of dogs guarding flocks of sheep. Technical Specifications of the Trail The best time: April - October. Yerevan is 125km away from the village of Aghavnavank, so the road there takes 1hr. 58min. and costs 12,500 - 13,000 AMD (by taxi). The distance of the hiking trail is 24km. The duration of hiking is 4 hours (1st day) and 5 hours (2nd day). The area is located at an altitude of 999-2150m above sea level. The best drink to have on hand is bottled water. How to Reach the Trail To take the above-mentioned hiking trail, you need to get to the village of Aghavnavank. It is most convenient to travel by taxi. Taxi services are quite affordable throughout Armenia. We recommend taking a cab with a taximeter. Alternative means (bus/ minibus) You can get to the Chambarak crossroad by using Ijevan transportation (works on an hourly basis) from the Yerevan northern bus station, and then reach the village of Aghavnavank by hitchhiking, as there are no means of transportation. The Ijevan minibus ticket costs 1,500 AMD. The return path is from Gandzasar village. You should take transport from Gandzasar to Ijevan town (a ticket costs 100 AMD), and then from Ijevan to Yerevan (costs 1,500 AMD ). Therefore, the return will cost 1,600 AMD. ©State Tourism Committee of RA