The Ararat Province offers exciting hiking places like the Khosrov reservation, Garni Gorge, as well as historical monuments like the Havuts Tar Monastery and the House-Museum of Paruyr Sevak, and finally landmarks like Mountain Bagasun - a site of Navasard Games (Pagan pageant).
It is in the Ararat Province where you can get the closest views of the Mount Ararat from Armenia.
The Ararat province is situated in the southwest of the Republic of Armenia. In the north, the province borders the capital Yerevan, and the provinces Armavir and Kotayk. In the east, it borders the Gegharqunik Province. In the southeast - the Vayots Dzor Province. In the south, Ararat borders Turkey.
The territory of Ararat has been a part of Vostan State (Ararat Ashkharh of Great Haik). In the Middle Ages, this province was known as the province of capitals. Here, the historical capitals of Armenia – Artashat and Dvin were built. The Khosrov reservation occupies a vast territory in the east of the province (it is at an altitude of 1600-2300 m above sea level).
The biggest city and administrative center of the province is Artashat, which is situated near the Yerevan-Goris-Stepanakert highway. Ararat, Masis and Vedi are the other cities of the Ararat Province.
The Major Cities
The Yerevan-Yeraskh-Kharabagh highway and Yerevan-Yeraskh railway run through the territory of the province. You can take buses going from Yerevan to Artashat and Ararat at the bus station near th Sasuntsi David Train Station. The bus going to Masis leaves from the bus station behind Rosiya trade center. The bus fare is 150 AMD.
Where to Go and What to See
Cultural and Historical Sites
The ruins of the ancient city of Dvin are lying in the Ararat Province. Dvin is situated on a hill where a settlement that was later developed into a fortress has existed since the third millennium B.C. In the reign of Khosrov II (330-338), Dvin became the capital. The cathedral of Dvin that's also in ruins has survived best. It's a must-see, if you want to have some idea about the ancient Armenian culture.
The 17th century monastery and fortress of Khor Virap is an hour trip from Yerevan. It is adjacent to Pokr Vedi village, on top of a hill. It was known as the Gregory the Illuminator's site of pilgrimage. In ancient times, the historical Artashat city was located here. According to Agatanghelos and other historians, Gregory the Illuminator was tortured in Khor Virap.
In the north, at the border with Kotayk, you can hike in some parts of the Khosrov reservation - a huge forest planted by the order of Khosrov King in the 3d century AD; here, in the gorge you can see what is called "Symphony of Basalt" - overhanging hexagonal stalactites, under which you can walk up to the Havuts Tar and Aghjots monasteries.
In the village Zangakatun, there is the house-museum of the great Armenian poet Paruyr Sevak.
The Ararat Province is an attractive place for tourists, where they can enjoy the majestic view of the Ararat Mountain.