This guide will help you to visit some of uncharted places in Armenia that are worth exploring. Do you know how people once lived in the caves? Have you seen abandoned villages ever or did you have goosebumps from a view that is just taking your breath away? If the answer is negative, then it’s time for great adventures in a small peace of a small but miraculus country Armenia.
In this map you can find camping spots and observation points as well.
Route length from Yerevan - 450 km, 16 km hiking from Old Khot to Old Halidzor, 5 km from Tatev monastery to Tatev Anapat
Best time to visit - All year round, the colors are different in every season.
Warning - Be aware of wild animals and snakes. There are some out of coverage areas, please make shure that your friend or relative knows your location.
Advice - Use sunscreen and wear eyeglasses and hat.
The Vorotan Gorge is located in Syunik Province of Armenia. There are many water springs, ancient cave dwellings and shelters in this gorge. Start your journey at 7:00 from Yerevan and drive to Khot village. From this village start hiking to the Old Khot village. The hiking trail is really beautiful , you will find there many berry shrubs and unique plants․ The most beautiful part in the year for this trail is autmn, when there are color explosions on all over the trees.
1 Old Khot village
The Old Khot is one of the oldest settlements in the province of Syunik. People from this village lived in the crags. In this territory, people adapted the caves, then the cave dwellings were expanded by stone made structures. The village is located on the left bank of the river Vorotan, at 1500 meters above sea level. This area was inhabited until the 1970s, after which the locals moved from the old village to the north, which is currently known as the village of Khot. In this village, there are old burial grounds (2-1BC), and in the territory of one of them the ruins of the 12th-century Red Monastery have been preserved. The bell of this church had a very loud chime.
From this village continue hiking to your second destination- the Old Shinuhayr village.
2 Old Shinuhayr
The Old Shinuhayr village according to Stepanos Orbelyan was the 5th village in the Tatev monastery’s taxation list.The village was famous not only for its size and power but also for being rich in material culture. For instance, on the right side of the Shinuhayr-Halidzor road, there is a graveyard dating back to the 1st millennium BC, which indicates that the village existed during the Orontid or Van Kingdoms as well. If you are already tired and want to have rest, you can find some small guesthouses in Shinuhayr village or you can continue hiking.
The last village on this trail is the Old Halidzor.
3 Old Halidzor
The name of this village originated from the names of the settlements called Halle and Halis located in the district of Haband. In the 10th century, the princess Hamazaspouhi gifted the village to Tatev, and Halidzor remained the estate of the monastery complex until the 17th century.
After admiring this beautiful places you can continue your way to the Halidzor village, where you can have rest or stay for a night in one of unique eco resorts in Armenia- Harsnadzor.
Start your second day with a visit to Tatev monastery. You can go there by a car or by a ropeway, the tickets you can book online here.
4 Tatev monastery
The development of the Tatev Monastery began in the 9th century when it became the seat of the bishop of Syunik. In the beginning of the 11th century, Tatev hosted around 1,000 monks and a large number of artisans. In 1087, the church of St. Mary was built to the north of the complex. The monastery suffered significant damage during Seljuk invasions in the 12th century and the earthquake in 1136. In 1170, Seljuk Turks plundered the Monastery and burnt some 10,000 manuscripts. The Monastery was rebuilt through the efforts of Bishop Stepanos near the end of the 13th century. With the establishment of the university in the 14th century Tatev became a principal centre of Armenian culture. The monastery was seriously damaged after an earthquake in 1931, the dome of the Sts. Paul and Peter church and the bell tower were destroyed. In the latter years the Sts. Paul and Peter church was reconstructed, but the bell tower remains destroyed up to today.
This monastery has a breathtaking view and unique energy, just stay there for an hour and find peace, leave all your problems there. If you want you can stay here for a night in guesthouses such as Old Tatev B&B, Tatev Guest House, or just prepare for hiking to Tatev Anapat.
5 Tatev Anapat
The Tatev Anapat is one of the valuable complexes of the late Middle Ages in Armenia. It had military significance in the XVIII century, during the liberation struggle organized by David Beck. The reason for its creation was the destruction of the Harants Desert in the same gorge, to the south, after which the Congregation moved to a new place in 1660.
Then continue your way to the Devil's Bridge.
6 Devil's Bridge
Over the millennia, wind and water have created this wonder of nature, polishing and piercing the petrified lava. The width of this natural bridge is 60 m, the length 30 m. Close to the bridge it is possible to swim in the warm salubrious springs, ringed by stalactites of marvelous colors. The most intrepid can descend to the river to see the secretive grottos below the springs.