Area: 2,308 km2
Administrative center: Yeghegnadzor
Distance from Yerevan to Yeghegnadzor: 119 km
Vayots Dzor is a wild assemblage of small lakes, narrow gorges, lush vineyards, rough and jagged slopes, bucolic pastures, and noisy rivers. Against this natural mosaic, a visitor to this southern region of Armenia will happily discover ancient monuments and modern hospitality, not to mention unbelievably tasty fruits and vegetables. With the Yeghegia and Arpa rivers flowing through the region, Vayots Dzor is a perfect place for trout fishing, nature tours, historic tours and hunting. For the more adventurous, a helicopter tour will provide a plethora of unforgettable impressions and fantastic memories. The earliest historically recorded settlement in Vayots Dzor was at Moz, near the present-day village of Malishka. Various ruins, including of forts and graveyards from the Bronze and early Iron Age can be found in this region. From the days of Marco Polo, Silk Road (from China to Europe) Medieval Armenia was a major thoroughfare for merchants, traders, and explorers alike. Weary travelers would look forward to a stay at one of many inns, or caravansaries, along the way. The Selim Caravansary, constructed in 1332 and situated in the Selim (Sulema) mountain pass on the border of Gegharkunik, is one of the best preserved.
The center of Vayots Dzor is the attractive town of Yeghegnadzor, situated on the bank of Arpa River. Lush with fruit trees, Yeghegnadzor proudly displays monuments dating as far back as the 1st millennium BC. Among the worthwhile sites in the area are the Regional Museum of Yeghegnadzor, the city Art Gallery, and the History Museum of the University of Gladzor, which recently celebrated its 700th anniversary. The Paskevich Bridge is an architectural achievement worth seeing as well. Jermuk, the third largest town in the region, is among Armenia’s most famous spa resorts. Boasting many days of sun, and situated on high ground with clean air and favorable climatic zone, Jermuk’s most deserved claim to fame are the 40 underground fresh water and mineral water springs. The word “Jermuk” derives from Armenian “jerm” which means warm. Local Spas provide Mineral Water treatment for various ailments and diseases, and is an ideal spot for rest and relaxation for all. The quiet resort town teems with parks, forested areas, and showcases many natural wonders such as a waterfall and a natural land bridge. A special pavilion is located downtown where amazed guests can taste firsthand the renowned mineral waters, which freely flow at natural temperatures ranging from 57 to 64 degrees Celsius!.
One of the up and coming industries in Armenia, winemaking, is actually a “return to roots” movement for the Armenian nation. Famous in ancient times, Armenians are once again beginning to make their mark as wine producers. The village of Areni, the flagship in this burgeoning industry, is worth a visit to sample the tasty grapes and the surprisingly fine wine.
Possibly the most strikingly picturesque edifices in Armenia, the Noravank Monetary is nestled deep in the eponymous canyon, against the fiery red rocks which surround this holy site. Recent renovations to the church buildings and the surrounding grounds make Noravank a must-see site in Vayots Dzor. Other sites in this rich area include the ancient settlements of Yeghegis and Mogh (dating back to the 5th century AD and the 2nd millennium BC, respectively) and the fortresses of Proshaberd, Smbataberd, Berdakar, and Kechout.
Among the many caves and underground passageways in Vayots Dzor, the Mozrov caves, located near Yeghegnadzor, may be the most spectacular. Extraordinary beauty can be witnessed in the form of delicate stalactites and stalagmites filling the intricate underground passageways that extend over 300 meters. A note of caution: explorations through these caves should be conducted with a specially trained guide for one’s safety.
Get in touch
19 Hrachya Kochar street, #39 Yerevan 0012, Republic of Armenia