Dilijan city is one of the most important resorts in Armenia. Due to the incredible beauty, the town is usually called Armenian Switzerland or Little Switzerland by the people, living here.
Dilijan is widely known not only as a resort, where you can spend your vocation and admire its wealth of greenery, but also a place full of many historical, cultural monuments, unique landscapes, mineral waters, entertainments, luxurious hotels and so on.
Finding out what Dilijan is and what you can do here will be of great help to you for your next visit to Armenia!
Basic information on Dilijan
Dilijan is in the Tavush Province of Armenia. It is situated within the Dilijan National Park. The city lies on the banks of Aghstev River and is at a height of 1,500 meters above sea level. The Lesser Caucasus Mountains from the north and the Semyonovka mountain, passing from the south, surround the valley. The mountainous areas are covered with thick forests.
The total area of Dilijan is about 13 km2. Majority of the population of the city are ethnic Armenians. Now there are about 17,600 people living in Dilijan.
The etymology of the city’s name is also very interesting. It is related to an ancient legend. According to it, the town is named after a shepherd, whose name was Dili. The shepherd was in love with his master’s daughter, but her father was against it and ordered to kill the shepherd.
For many long and dark days, the sorrowful mother was looking for her only son desperately crying, “Dili jan, Dili jan.” (‘Jan’ is an endearment term, added to the name of a friend or family member and is used nearly by all the Armenians). According to the legend the area was later known for his name – Dilijan.
Specific weather conditions
The climate of Dilijan is cool during summer and cold with snowfalls in winter.
Dilijan has mild climate and fresh air. The hottest months are July and August. The coldest ones are January and February. May and June are the wettest months in this resort. Other months get comparatively less precipitation.
The best period with the most pleasant temperatures to visit Dilijan is from May to October.
How to get to Dilijan
If you want to get to Dilijan by public transport, you can take a van (marshrutka) from the Medical University (Bzhishkakan Hamalsaran) on the corner of Abovyan and Koriun to the upper Avtokayaran (bus station for intercity buses).
From there, you can take a marshrutka, heading to Ijevan that will stop in Dilijan on the way. You can get to Dilijan also by a taxi from Yerevan, which will cost approximately 10,000 drams ($33).
It will be more interesting to go to Dilijan on a day tour, as many companies offer such tours from Yerevan. These tours usually include Dilijan, Haghartsin and Goshavank. They can be cheaper than taking a taxi.
Walking is quite easy within the town . If you’d like to go a bit further, the tourist information office has a few bicycles for rent. If you need to get to some of the regional monasteries, your best bet is negotiating a package deal with the taxis. As most of the drivers probably will not speak English, you can have the tourist information office help you translate.
The options for leaving the resort are the same as those for getting in – minibus, taxi, tour or bus.
Why is Dilijan so famous?
Dilijan is famous for many things not only in Armenia, but also abroad. Dilijan is a famous town-resort with favorable oxygen regimen, unique landscape features and curative mineral water.
The mountainous areas are all covered with thick forests, which occupy a territory of more than 34,000 hectares. Reaching up the highest peaks of the mountains, the forests turn into Alpine meadows and this scene becomes unforgettable for every person who sees it.
Dilijan is especially famous for a great number of old monasteries, among them Haghartsin Monastery, Goshavank Monastery, Matosavank Monastery and others.
One of the most visited places is Dilijan National Park. Here is out separate article about it.
Dilijan is also famous for its mineral water, which is being processed and bottled both in Dilijan and Yerevan.
The town is famous for its hand-made rugs and carpets. Dilijan has its own style of carpet design. Many samples are shown at the Dilijan museum of traditional art.
The resort is among the favorite destinations for local and foreign tourists. There is a number of high-class hotels and sanatoriums, which give the visitors a chance to stay and enjoy the beauty of the city as well as its historical sites.
Many summer festivals and cultural events are held in the central amphitheater of Dilijan.
Dilijan has become more famous around the world as the International UWC School of Dilijan opened in 2014. This is a part of the global educational movement United World Colleges. The UWC Dilijan college is the 14th member of that movement. It is actually one of sixteen colleges around the world, and is the first international boarding school in Armenia.
The main goal of the UWC movement and of the school is to “make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”.
The Armenian government makes steps to turn Dilijan into a developed financial center for Armenia and the region.
What to do in Dilijan
Thing #1: Visit historical and cultural monuments
If you are in Dilijan, first you should visit historical and cultural monuments. As there is a great number of them and you won’t be able to visit them all, manage your time visiting several ones with great historical value.
As we mentioned above, Haghartsin Monastery, Goshavank Monastery, Jukhtak Vank Monastery and Matosavank Monastery are the most famous ones and are located at the edge of the city or near it.
In these monasteries, you can manage to see the most impressive and unique khachkars (cross-stones) in Armenia.
Thing #2: Visit museums and memorials
There is a huge number of museums in Dilijan and you can visit these during your free time. Dilijan museum of traditional art is one of them: originally a residential house, dating back to the second half of the 19th century, it turned into traditional art museum in 1979.
The aim of the “Old Dilijan” museum complex, formed in 1979, is to present the history of the city, its lifestyle, and the interests of the people who live there.
The open-air theatre is also known as the Rotonda and was built in 1900. It is located at the center of the town. Many prominent artists have performed in this theatre.
There is a famous Memorial to the World War II, which was built in 1975 to commemorate the local martyrs during the World War II.
In Dilijan there are also a Children’s Art School, a Museum of Folk Art, Dilijan museum of geology etc.
Thing #3: See a football match
Dilijan city has an all-seater municipal stadium with a capacity of 2,200 spectators. The Dilijan City Stadium is the only stadium in the town and used to be the home ground of Impulse FC Dilijan of the Armenian Premier League.
After the promotion of Impulse FC to the top division of Armenian football league in 2009, the stadium was partly renovated to meet the UEFA standards.
The stadium was entirely renovated in 2011.
After the dissolution of Impulse FC in 2013, the stadium became a regular training venue for the local youth clubs of Tavush Province.
Thing #4: Admiring the beauty of lakes and rivers
There are many minor lakes in this resort, the greatest of which is Lake Parz. ”Parz” means clean, pure in Armenian and so is this lake. This lake is one of Dilijan’s most attractive natural sites. It is situated in the northern part of the town. This clear lake will surely be a miraculous vision for you.
A minor beautiful lake – Lake Tzlka, is located to the east of the Lake Parz.
Aghstev River and its tributaries pass through the town and the surrounding forest. The river’s origins are from the northwestern part of the Pambak mountain range. Many tributaries flow into Aghstev such as Bldsan, Ghshtoghan, Haghartsin and Getik rivers.
Thing #5: Visit restaurants and hotels
Tufenkian Restaurant, Haghartsin restaurant-hotel-bar complex, Getap Restaurant are the most well-known ones in Dilijan, especially when you’re feeling hungry after a fully entertained day.
If you are looking for a comfortable hotel to stay at, then Daravand Guest House, Dili Villa Guest house, Cinematographers’ Union House will be a good choice.
Dilijan is a city of diversities, so you won’t get bored even a minute if you manage your time there properly!