Lake Parz is a small lake in the eastern Tavush region, north from the city of Dilijan, a popular tourist destination in Armenia. Surrounded by forests, it gives the image of a hidden treasure, a wonder yet to be discovered.
As the name Lake Parz suggests, it’s a rather peaceful and serene place, where one can recharge batteries after a tiring week in the busy and noisy city.
The lake is situated at 1400m above sea level, occupying a surface 300 m long, 100 m wide and 10m maximum depth, covering an area of 2 hectares.
The climate of the area is alpine, with the warmest weather in the summer months and the coolest in winter.
The best time of the year to visit the lake is between June and August when the sun shines warm and one can better enjoy all the activities offered.
Things to do when visiting Lake Parz
Among these activities are boating, crafting, four-wheeled motorcycles. Camping and fishing is also a pleasant way to spend time in the area.
As the lake is situated only 7km from Dilijan, you can either drive or simply walk through the forest.
Take a minivan (marshrutni) from the Medical University (Bjshkakan Hamalsaran) on the corner of Abovyan and Koriun to the upper Avtokayaran. From there you can take a marshrutni headed to Ijevan that will stop in Dilijan on the way. There are also direct marshrutnis, 09:00-18:00, roughly hourly (1,000 drams).
Another option of getting around include hiking – from the Parz lake to the village of Gosh, achievable in one day. The track passes through the thick and rich forest.
Occasionally, you can observe khachkars. After a while, you reach to a meadow from where you can enjoy the view of the Ijevan Mountain Range. From the meadow, the road leads you up to the village of Gosh. After visiting the monastery of Goshavank, you continue your way in the forest and arrive at lake Gosh, where you can take a much-deserved rest.
After a full day of traveling, visitors can enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant overseeing the lake. It has the appearance of a typical country house, with wooden chairs and tables, making the visitor feel as if dining outright in nature.
Lake Parz is surrounded by a number of historical and architectural masterpieces which makes it more than worth wandering around.
Haghartsin is one of the most remarkable monastic complexes in Armenia. It was built between the 10th and 13th centuries, mainly under the patronage of the Bagratuni royal dynasty. The legend says that at its consecration, an eagle was flying around its dome as if playing, from where its name derived – “Hagh” means a game while “Artsin”, a form of “Artsiv”, means eagle in Armenian.
The complex includes St. Astvadzadzin (“Holy Mother of God”) Church and its Gavit, St. Gregory and its Gavit, St. Stepanos Church, a refectory and the Bagratuni sepulcher.
The refectory was built by architect Minas in 1248; today it includes large wooden tables and chairs to host reception after baptisms or marriages officiated at the monastery. The sepulcher is where some of the Bagratuni royalty are buried.
The monastery of Haghartsin, together with that of Goshavank, are to be included on the UNESCO’s World Heritage.
Goshavank is a monastic complex built on the place of an older monastery known as Nor Getik, destroyed by an earthquake at the end of the 12th century. Statesman, scientist and author of the first criminal code Mkhitar Gosh actively participated in its building, along with architect Mkhitar the Carpenter and his disciple Hovhannes.
Mkhitar Gosh founded a school there. Later on, the monastery was renamed Goshavank in his honor and the village next to it was named Gosh.
Unlike other monasteries, Goshavank does not have outer walls and is surrounded by village houses. All of the buildings are attached to each other, except St. Hripsimeh Chapel, on the opposite hillside.
Besides the churches and chapels, the complex also includes a bell tower with a book depository, a gallery and a school building, with the latter standing in ruins. There also are numerous khachkars, from which those created by the carver Pavgos stand out with their lacy ornaments, especially one created in 1291, with the caver’s name carved in the bottom left star.
Other sacred places near the Parz Lake to be visited include Jukhtak Monastery and Matosavank.
Though it cannot be compared with the Sevan lake, Parz Lake is an excellent option if you prefer a peaceful and serene atmosphere, where you can sync with nature.
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