Vista 1798 vegades, descarregada 55 vegades
a prop de Vernashen, Vayotsʼ Dzor (አርሜኒያ)
This trail is located in the province of Vayots Dzor. From Vernashen village, the trail meanders towards the 14th century Spitakavor Monastery. It is an easy route, delineated by the dirt road it follows. The route returns via the same path, and on return, one can visit the Gladzor University Museum.
According to inscriptions on the walls, Prince Eachi, of the noble Proshyan family, founded the main church of Spitakavor Monastery, St. Astvatsatsin– and his son, Amir-Hasan B., completed its construction in 1321. Located around 7km north of Vernashen, in a landscape punctured by deep gorges, the monastery gets its name from the white polished felsite stone with which it was built (Spitak means “white” in Armenian). The complex comprises of a single church, its narthex, a three-storey belfry (both built by spouses Hovhannes and Tandzna in 1330) and the fortified walls encompassing it.
The church’s only entrance is on the western side, above which is a relief of St. Mary, the Mother of Jesus – a remarkable example of Medieval Armenian Sculpting. There are many other carved figures around the church, both spiritual and secular, including one of Prince Eachi and his son Amir Hasan, and one of Amir Hasan hunting.
Spitakavor is also home to the graves of the Armenian military leader, Sparapet, and the political thinker, Garegin Nzhdeh – which makes it a place of pilgrimage to Armenians all over the world. It is also the location of some scenes in the film “Lonely Walnut Tree”.
Nearby, the ruins of Boloraberd Fortress can be seen on a hilltop. Its almost 1.5ha are surrounded by durable basalt walls, that defend the arsenals, the barracks and the Palace of the Proshyan Princes, for whom it was a governmental seat. An aqueduct supplied the fortress with water, and remains of its pipes are still visible today. Only one of its chapels remains, on the eastern side and many of its other features have been destroyed over time, and are now covered in a thick layer of soil.
Although not part of this hike, Proshaberd Fortress is located under 7km to the north of Gladzor and Vernashen, on the peak of a mountain. Built in the 13th century, it gets its name from its founder, Prince Prosh.
Vayots Dzor is known for its very hot summers and cold winters, making its steep mountain slopes a tough environment for plants to grow, giving an impression of a dry, arid desert. However, there are a wide variety of colourful flowers and bushes, and in spring, seas of flowers surround the monastery. Due to this, it is sometimes referred to as the Flower Monastery. There are lots of bellflowers, dandelions, red tulips, narcissus, and blue forget-me-nots near the monastery. Locals pick many plants and flowers that grow here for their medicinal value.
The fauna of Vayots Dzor is rich and varied, especially on the higher mount slopes. Bears, roes, wild boars, Armenian vipers, different types of lizards, black vultures, blackbirds, quails, sparrows, swallows, and many types of butterflies are often found in this picturesque landscape.
Safety and Security
Mobile telephone coverage is available at most times throughout the hike, and the 911 emergency service operates throughout Armenia in case of any accidents.
Be aware of bears and snakes. Although there are potable fresh water springs nearby, be sure to bring bottled water!
Best period: April -November
Distance: 128km from Yerevan
Duration: 2 hour 15 minutes
Hiking trail length: 11 km
Walk duration: 4 hours
Altitude from Sea Level: 1,615-2,150m
Existing Trail Surface: 100% existing
How to Get There
In order to reach this hike, the most convenient option is to take a taxi from Yerevan to Vernashen village. This will cost around 13,000 AMD. It is advisable to take a taxi with a working meter (be sure the driver uses it), or agree on a price beforehand. From there, villagers offer rides to the top in their all-terrain vehicles for around 7,000 AMD.
There are also buses to Yeghegnadzor (a nearby town) from Yerevan Central Bus Station for 1,200 AMD. From Yeghegnadzor there are buses to Vernashen for under 2,000 AMD.