Vayots Dzor marz can easily be considered as the most picturesque province of Armenia. It is especially known for its majestic nature and unique cultural and historical places.
Being in Armenia and not visiting Vayost Dzor will definitely be a big mistake! It is one of the richest provinces of Armenia.
By saying rich we mean natural beauty. There is so much to see and experience here. Here is a guide and advisory about Vayots dzor marz (province).
Basic Information About Vayots Dzor
Vayotz Dzor is a province in Armenia which is situated in southeastern side of the country. The word province in Armenian is called Marz. So, the full name of this province in Armenian is Vayots Dzori Marz.
Vayots Dzor borders Nakhijevan exclave of Azerbaijan from the west, and the Shahumyan Region of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic from the east.
The province Vayotst Dzor was inhabited from unmemorable times. The evidence of this fact is the things that were discovered during the excavations such as buckles, bracelets, rings etc. All this items belong to prehistoric period.
There were also found numerous carvings on the rocks with hunting scenes. One of the most important openings for all humanity was the discovery made by international archeological expedition in 2008.
In the same cave, where the shoe was found, there was another greatest opening. During the expedition, there was also opened possibly the oldest place of wine production, which was also one more historical discovery not only for Armenians but also for all humanity.
Vayots Dzor Population, Climate and Nature
Marz Vayots Dzor has a rugged surface. The area is quite mountainous with deep and wide valleys. In the centre of Marz Vayots Dzor stretches Yerevan-Artashat-Yeghegnadzor-Vayk-Meghri-Iran highway.
The population of Vayots Dzor is 53230 and is the most sparsely populated province of Armenia. The capital and also the largest city this province is Yeghegnadzor. Vayots Dzor covers an area of 2308 km2.
The height of this marz is from 850 to 3522 above sea level. That’s why the landscape of the province varies a lot in its different places. The climate is rather dry there. In hot summers when it’s being unbearable in Yerevan, Vayots Dzor is a perfect place to escape from hot city and enjoy a cool weather and heavenly beautiful nature.
Due to the unique climate, the flora of Vayots Dzor is also very rich. There are about 1650 species of plants, 1500 of which are herbs. There are also 150 species of trees which are considered rare and endemic and are carefully preserved.
Vayots Dzor is a very rich and fertile area. The tastiest fruits of Armenia, such as, apricot, cherry, pear, peach, apple, grape, plum, grow exactly here.
How to get to Vayots Dzor?
The centre of Vayots Dzor, Yeghegnadzor is 123 km far from Yerevan. It’s about 90 minutes’ drive. You can also take a taxi, which will cost about 6000-10000 dram, depending on which place of the province you are planning to go.
You can also travel there by marshrutkas, which are taking off from Yerevan Bus Center (Avtokayan). However,Voyotsz Dzor is a rather large province, and if you don’t want to miss anything there, several hours may be not enough. So, you can take tours, which are planned regularly. Taking a tour will be much effective and adventurous.
Things to See in Vayots Dzor
Things to See in Vayots Dzor #1: Noravank Monastery
Noravank is a monastery complex situated near the city Yeghegnadzor. It was built in 13th century. This complex belongs to one of the masterpieces of Armenian architecture. Noravank is highly appreciated not only for its unique architecture, but also for the beautiful surrounding nature, which makes this place much greater.
Noravank was created by famous architect Momik. It used to be a residence for Armenian bishops from Syunik in 13-14th century. Noravank survived many Mongol invasions and is considered one of the most outstanding sightseeings of Armenia.
There are also number of unique Armenian cultural treasures, created by Momik, called khachkars. There are several churches in this complex. Some of them didn’t survive the earthquake, so you will be able to see only their remaining.
The most famous church of Noravank is St Astvatsatsin church, which is known for its special architecture. This is an impressive three story building. The narrow stairs lead to the second floor. Entering this church, you feel a great relief and serenity. Noravank is definitely a worth visiting place, make sure you haven’t missed it!
Things to See in Vayots Dzor #2: Selim Caravansaray
Selim Caravansaray is one of the oldest and best preserved caravansarys of Armenia. It was built by Prince Cesar Orbelian in 1332.
The caravansaray used to offer hospitality to the travelers along the world. It is a perfect example of medieval Armenian architecture. Selim Caravansaray was built in the south side of Selim Pass. It was situated on an international trade route of Vayots Dzor, Sevan Basin and Points North.
Due to its geographical position, caravansaray also played a great role in cultural, economic and military affairs. The architecture of caravansaray is rather simple and modest, as it was planned for practical use. Now caravansaray is open for visitors. This is a great opportunity to explore and feel the spirit of ancient times.
Things to See in Vayots Dzor #3: Smbataberd
Smbataberd was a fortress surrounded by gorges in both sides. The fortress was possibly built before the 5th century. Smbataber is another rare historical treasure. The complex was built for defensive purpose following the medieval fortress constructing style.
The whole length of the complex is about 1km. As the fortress is surrounded by mountains, they serve as a natural dam for it. So, it was a rather difficult task enemy to reach and invade the fortress. The professional architectural approach appeared to be successful as the fortress has survived for many centuries, even more, it has survived till our days.
Things to See in Vayots Dzor #4: Gndevank
Gndevak is a monastery of 10th century on the bank of Arpo River. This unique monastery is located on the top of the hill. Gndevank ws built on 936 by Armenian Princess Sphia of Syunik.
As the location of Gndevank is rather mountainous, it may be quite difficult to reach there by car. So, it’s more preferable to go there on foot. You will have to walk for about 1km, but don’t worry, Gndevank is worth it.
After coping with all these difficulties connected with the road, the visitors will be awarded with Gndevank’s undisputed beauty. It seems that Gndevank is completely isolated from the real world. It’s like a fairy tale, full of mysteries from past centuries.
Things to See in Vayots Dzor #5: Jermuk
Jermuk is the most famous city in Vayotdz Dzor. It is a spa city mainly known for its healing water resources. The mineral waters of Jermuk are used both for ordinary and curing purposes. It will take about 2 hours to get to Jermuk.
There are a lot of resorts in this city. Annually, Jermuk hosts thousands of people not only from Armenia, but also tourists. Visiting city Jermuk, you must also visit Jermuk waterfall, one of the most marvelous places of Armenia.
The waterfall is often called “Marmaid’s hair”. If you look at the waterfall attentively, you will probably notice that it really looks like long and beautiful hair.