Area: 4,475 km2
Administrative center: Kapan
Distance from Yerevan to Kapan: 316 km
The Syunik region is stunning: a mosaic of lofty mountains, lush green valleys, raging rivers, deep rocks and jagged canyons. Also known as Zangezur, it is the biggest province in Armenia (4506 sq. km) and is comprised by the districts of Kapan, Goris, Sisian and Meghri.
The Syunik region is a sightseer’s dream come true. Beautiful nature, a diverse climate and unique mountains and landscapes are converge in Armenia’s south. Various rock formations, markings of region’s turbulent volcanic past, can be found in the form of caves, eroded canyons, and natural pyramidal rocks, such as those of Goris. The main north-south artery connecting Armenia with Iran winds through the mountain-pass of Tashtun (2400m), Vorotan (2344m), and Sisian (2345m). Syunik is likewise rich in cool natural springs and numerous sources of mineral water. The highest point of Syunik is the peak of Kaputjukh in the Zangezur mountain-chain at 3904m, while the lowest elevation is the Valley of the Araks River at 375m. The range of microclimates, from dry tropical, to temperate warm, to the cold and snowy mountains is particularly broad in Syunik, even by Armenian standards. The warmest area of Armenia is Meghri lowland along the Iranian border. The hospitality of the people of Syunik and examples of the cuisine one is certain to be offered will undoubtedly exceed all expectations. Notable examples include the cheese from Sisian, the toe-curling mulberry vodka of Karahunj, lavash flat-bread of Kapan (the national bread), and the succulent pomegranates and figs from Meghri. Among the assemblage of sights and destinations of Syunik, some of the more prominent are the petroglyph-rich fields of Ughtasar, the mysterious Zorats Karer or Karahunj (Armenian Stonehenge), the resplendent churches such as the Tatev Monastery, Bgheno -Noravank Monastery, Vorotnavank, and Vahanavank, and idyllic wonders of nature such as Sev Lich, Shaki Waterfall, and Shikahogh. It seems that every road of Syunik offers the visitor beautiful streams or sacred spring sites, often with accompanying picnic tables, ideal by which to pitch a tent. The flora of the region is rich and full of surprises. The forests of Meghri are covered with varieties of oak, hornbeam, ash and juniper, in addition to wild fruit-trees, such as pear, cornel, walnut, hazel, and plum. Various bushes such as hawthorn, woodbine, dog-rose and blackberry bushes are also prevalent. The fauna in Syunik is typical to Caucasian forests and mountainous terrains. Chamois, wild boar, Caucasian bear, lynx, Persian squirrel, field-mouse, mole, and shrew are all among the denizens of the forests and hills of Armenia’s south. Bird watchers will be pleasantly surprised to learn that white-throat, pheasant, red-tail, wood pecker, black and singing little bustards, black and blue tits, serinos, larks, owls, eagle-owls are widely spread here. One can also come across snake-like legless lizards, frogs, wolves, and foxes, to name only a few.
Kapan at the foot of mountain Khustup (3214m) is the center of the region. It is a cultural, educational as well as mining center of Armenia, famous for its copper and molybdenum. Its central and relatively flat part is nestled in the Voghchi river valley, surrounded by fabulous mountains on either side. Terraces of housing rows climb up the mountain slopes forming a cascade looking down on the city center from above. Kajaran is a small town, famous for its mineral water and its legacy of mining. Roman helmets and gun shields were unearthed during more recent construction in Kajaran, a testimony to the devastating defeat endured by Roman legions here two thousand years ago. Since then, no enemy marched on Kajaran again. The Kapuyt Lich (Blue Lake) commands a presence at 3250 m high above sea level, fed by mountain snow. On its serene surface, icebergs drift aimlessly, even during the summer months.
Meghri is rich in lush vegetation, grain steppes, and meadows. In the Meghri river valley at the border of Armenia with Iran, steep, rocky slopes act as the gateway to the south. Meghri has a remarkable history with a rich archeological heritage reflecting habitation since prehistoric times. Bronze Age swords, bracelets, necklaces, and other artifacts have been revealed during excavations. Goris, meaning rocky place, is in fact an orchard in a town and a lovely resort on the bank of Vararik River. It is one of the few towns that exhibit a comprehensive planned architectural and urban design. Goris is first mentioned as one of the regions conquered by King Rusa in the 8th century BC during the Urartian period. The surrounding crags, caves and rock formation make it appear as though Goris is surrounded by an army of stone figures. The regional ethnographical museum in Goris is among the sites to visit in this scenic city. The town of Sisian straddles the two banks of the Vorotan River. Against the backdrop of the harsh mountainous plain, it looks like an oasis. A constant breeze accents this pretty town, frequented for its fantastic cold natural springs, mineral waters and unique beauty. The ancient monument-tomb of Khoshun Dash is located here as well.
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19 Hrachya Kochar street, #39 Yerevan 0012, Republic of Armenia