Vayots Dzor Province
Vayots Dzor is one of the most mountainous provinces of Armenia. The province abounds with waterfalls, narrow gorges, small lakes and boisterous rivers. The Vayots Dzor Province is known for unbelievably tasty fruits and vegetables.
The oldest leather shoe in the world has been found in Vayots Dzor - it is about 5,500 years old, older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids.
The Vayots Dzor Province is in the southern part of Armenia. The Vayots Dzor province borders the following provinces
- Syunik in the east
- Ararat in the west
- Gegharqunik in the north
In the south, Vayots Dzor has a border with Nakhichevan (territory of the present day Azerbaijan).
Archeological excavations show that Vayots Dzor has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. During the Middle Ages, Vayots Dzor was a principality of the Kingdom of Syunik. Vayots Dzor used to serve as a health resort for the Syunik kings.
Pastures and slopes, mysterious mountains, lush vineyards, and various landmarks, like Jermuk Waterfall and Magil Nail cave, are peculiar to the Vayots Dzor Province.
The flora and fauna of Vayots Dzor is diverse and rich. The more heavily forested areas are the city Jermuk, the slopes of the mountain Herher and the stretch lying between the villages Hermon and Vardahovit.
The Vayots Dzor province is well-known for the healing mineral springs. The Jermuk mineral water is produced in Vayots Dzor.
Where to Go
The Vayots Dzor Province boasts fine historical monuments and other sites. If you go there from Gegharqunik, you can see some caravansaries, the Shatin monastery and a medieval bridge a bit off the interstate highway. Then, further on the intstate road, you can see the St. Zorats Church and then the famous Hermon Monastery. Making detours on your way you can visit the ruins of the Yeghegik ancient settlement, as well as the fortress Smbataberd and the monastery Tsakhats Kar.
If you go to Yeghegnadzor city either from Yerevan or from Gegharqunik, you can explore the sites around Yeghegnadzor. Particularly interesting for a tourist visiting Armenia will be the Noravank Monastery taht is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Selim caravansary that is on the ancient Silk Road, the Areni wineries in Areni town, and the nearby the site where the oldest shoe in the world was recently found.
In addition, you can visit the museum of Armenian-Russian Friendship in the village Malishka, the Gladzor Museum, the Gladzor Monastery and then going further on the interstate highway and turning left onto the instate road you will get to the famous Gndevank Monastery.
Yeghegnadzor, Jermuk and Vayq - the Major Cities
The attractive city Yeghegnadzor is the province center. It is situated on the bank of Arpa River, about 123 km from Yerevan.
- The Jermuk SPA resort is 175 km from Yerevan and 53 km from the province center. Jermuk is situated at an elevation of about 2070 m above sea level. It is widely known as a resort-city. Jermuk served as a SPA resort for medieval ruling dynasties. The ruins of an ancient castle, built during the Artashesyan Dynasty period (189 BC), have been preserved in the city. Since the medieval times the mineral waters of Jermuk have been used for medical purposes.
- Vayq town is about 132 km from Yerevan and 16 km from the province center.
How to Get to Vayots Dzor
All the buses going to the south of Armenia from Yerevan go through the Vayots Dzor Province and the Yeghegnadzor city. For instance, you can take a minibus going from Yerevan to the Jermuk city. The minibus #558 leaves from Yerevan Central Bus Station. The fare is 2000 AMD (~ 6 USD). The trip will take you about 4-6 hours to get to Jermuk from Yerevan and an hour shorter to get to Yeghegnadzor.