Dilijan National Park is a very unique and incredible site of wildlife and is one of the four protected national parks in the Republic of Armenia. The place is famous for its lovely surroundings. Due to the densely forested valleys and mountains with alpine meadows, people, living here, call Dilijan National Park “the Armenian Switzerland”!
Dilijan National Park stands out by the wealth of its biodiversity, as well as separate ecosystems, economic, educational, environmental, recreational and other assets. When travelling in Armenia, Dilijan National Park must surely be among the places, visited by you, as it is one of the most beautiful recreation areas in Armenia.
Dilijan National Park is known both among local people and foreigners for its wealth of greenery, unique forest fauna, medicinal mineral water springs and original cultural and historical monuments!
Spending a night or two in Dilijan, exploring the Tavush Marz of Armenia is well worth, than trying to relax in a city place, as many tourists prefer to do. There are a number of accommodations in Dilijan, from the luxury of the Tufenkian Hotel to hotels with more basic conditions or even homes.
In this article, we are going to present you Dilijan National Park, its special sights, monuments that will surely interest you.
Dilijan National Park: Basic Information
Dilijan National Park Location
Dilijan National Park is located in the northeastern part of the Tavush Marz of Armenia. It is on the mountainside of Pambak, Aregouni, Miapor ranges, halfway between Aghestev and Getik rivers watersheds.
The River Aghstev and its main tributaries, the Rivers Hovajur, Haghartsin, Shtoghanajur, Bldan and Getik, run through the Dilijan National Park.
How to get to there?
You can get to Dilijan National Park by taxi or public transport (minibus or van). You can take a van (more popular as ”marshrutka”) on the corner of Abovyan and Koryun to the upper Avtokayaran. From there, you can take a marshrutka, heading to Ijevan that will stop in Dilijan on the way.
Also, there are many tourist organizations that offer day tours from Yerevan which include Dilijan, Haghartsin and Goshavank. They can be cheaper than taking a taxi and thus are more comfortable for everyone who wants to spend unforgettable time in Dilijan!
Climate of Dilijan National Park
Dilijan is a town with mild climate and fresh air. July and August are the hottest months in Dilijan and the coldest ones are January and February. May and June are the wettest months but other months get comparatively less precipitation.
The best period for visiting Dilijan National Park is from May to October. These are the months with the most pleasant temperatures.
So, to enjoy your journey to the national park, we recommend you go there on these months.
Flora and Fauna of Dilijan National Park
Dilijan National Park is very rich of flora and fauna. Also, there are many unique species of plants and animals that you can meet only in Dilijan.
The flora of Dilijan National Park includes 902 species of vascular plants, for example, Lycopodium (1 species), Horse-tails (1 species), Ferns (12 species), Gymnosperms (7 species) and Angiosperms (881 species). About 40 rare species of plants occur in this territory, 29 of which are registered in the Red Book of Endangered Species of Armenia.
The vegetation of the national park mainly consists of deciduous species such as oak, oriental beech, common and oriental hornbeam. Different species of lime, maple and ash grow in the middle forest zone. Pine often makes dense forests in the basin of the River Hovajur.
The forests in the Dilijan National Park are rich of fruit trees and bushes, such as oriental apple, walnut, cornel, plum, blackthorn, pear, gooseberry, various species of blackcurrant and hawthorn. Many species in the national park are well known as medicinal plants. There are also many decorative plants.
The fauna of the national park is also very rich. There are about 800 species of beetles, as well as numerous species of reptiles, amphibians and different species of fish.
Birds are also abundant, represented by 150 species, including black grouse, golden eagle, bearded eagle, Caspian snowcock and others. Over 40 species of mammals are registered in the national park, such as red deer, brown bear, fox, lynx, wolf, wild boar, wild cat, roe and squirrel.
You can see that Dilijan National Park is an incredible place for the conservation of forest landscapes, recreation and health protection purposes, as well as economic activities, due to its favorable conditions and the rich flora and fauna!
Dilijan National Park: Establishment History
In 1958, on the basis of the former Dilijan and Kuybishev forest enterprises, the State National Reserve was established. In 2002, on the basis of that reserve, Dilijan National Park was established.
The territory of the newly established Dilijan National Park has stayed unchanged.
The status of Dilijan Reserve was changed to Dilijan National Park for several reasons, for example, mainly because of the inevitability of commercial activity in the area, presence of numerous settlements (including Dilijan town with its mineral water resorts) and Yerevan-Ijevan railway line, crossing whole territory of the reserve.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Armenia is the sole public agency which has authority for park management. Currently, the general plan of the national park, including the clarification of the borders and mapping of economic, recreational, buffer zones of the park, is under development.
Cultural monuments tourists can see in and around of the park
Finally, we will tell you about several cultural monuments you should definitely go and see in Dilijan National Park and its surrounding territories!
Monument to see #1: Haghartsin Monastery
Haghartsin Monastery is about 13 km far from Dilijan: 8km, following the main Dilijan-Ijevan highway and then 5 km off this road, right after turning to the monastery.
There is also a road in order to walk from Haghartsin Monastery to Goshavank. Haghartsin is one of Armenia’s most popular monasteries which is nestled in lush forested mountains and is about a half hour drive from Dilijan. The monastery is in good condition and has a resident priest who sometimes gives tours.
There are a few different churches, a huge dining hall, khachkars (cross-stones) and a massive hollow tree in this monastery. You can feel the whole magnificent beauty of this sight, only if you go and see it with your eyes!
Monument to see #2: Lake Parz (Parz Lich)
Lake Parz (“Parz lich” in Armenian) is 9 km north-east from Dilijan, in the north-west of Areguni Mountain Chain. This clear lake will surely be a miraculous vision for you. ”Parz” means clean, pure in Armenian and so this lake is. Water temperature reaches 15.5 °C in summertime.
There is also a restaurant here, overlooking Lake Parz. As one of the Armenian poets, Gevorg Emin, once said: “Go to Lake Parz, I urge you to go. One last time I tell you to go, as long as the magic is there!”.
There are also other minor lakes such as Tzrkalich (Leech Lake). So, hurry to Lake Parz to wonderfully spend your time!
Monument to see #3: Goshavank Monastery
Goshavank Monastery is 22 km east from Dilijan: 16km, following the main Dilijan-Ijevan highway and then 6 km off this road, right after the turning to the monastery.
Goshavank monastery is surrounded by a traditional Armenian village. A groundskeeper opens the main church, building up for visitors and can give a tour, if you want. Goshavank is the only church in Armenia where entrance to one of the chambers is not free. You can certainly enjoy the rest of the complex without it.
There are excellently carved details and khachkars (cross-stones) in Goshavank Monastery but the “lacework” khachkar is one of the most impressive ones in the country.
Monument to see #4: Aghavnavank Monastery
Aghavnavank Monastery is on the outskirts of Aghavnavank village, near Dilijan National Park. This monastery complex was built in the 12-13th centuries.
The church is a small structure and there is a dome in its center. The monastery is built with yellowish polished stone. Hood of the dome and roof of the monastery were covered with polished slabs but only few of them are preserved.
Aghavnavank Monastery is one of the most marvelous historical monuments in Armenia and must surely be visited by the tourists, travelling in Armenia.
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One more notable thing about Dilijan National Park and Dilijan, on the whole, is that you can also explore up to the Georgian border from here.
So, when travelling to Armenia, don’t hesitate and spend your vacation in Dilijan National Park, making your holiday a special one in your lifetime!