Stepanavan Dendropark or Sochut is an ideal place to relax; An arboretum named after Edmund Leonowicz.
Numerous tourist attractions are located all over Armenia.
These include monasteries, architectural and natural monuments, towns and villages.
Among them, there is one place for those, who want to spend their time, surrounded by nature, as well as find interesting information on plants from different parts of the world.
For these people, we say “Welcome to Stepanavan Dendropark”.
What is Stepanavan Dendropark?
Stepanavan Dendropark, officially called Sochut Dendropark, is an arboretum located near the Gyulagarak village in Lori Province of Armenia, about 12 km far from the city of Stepanavan. The park was founded in 1931 by Polish engineer and forester Edmund Leonowicz.
Sochut is considered to be the first place in Transcaucasus, where a natural forest landscape was reshaped into a Forest Park.
Most specimens were acquired from other botanic gardens as part of international exchange programs. Participants of such programs include Botanic Gardens in Tbilisi (Georgia), Kiev (Ukraine), Nikitski, (Crimea, Ukraine), and Moscow (Russia).
Specimens were also obtained from Europe and Far East, particularly from Germany, France, Portugal, China, as well as from the United States.
Only 500 species survived and are now introduced in Stepanavan Dendropark. Each tree has a placard indicating its name and country of origin.
The Sochut collection of plants from all over Eurasia is fascinating.
How to Get to Stepanavan Dendropark
Nowadays, Sochut is of great interest to general public, professional scientists and eco-tourists. It gives scientists an opportunity to study adaptive characteristics of different plants. The arboretum frequently hosts public excursions and botanical or zoological tours.
To get to Sochut you first need to get to the nearby city of Stepanavan. There are two possible roads to get there. One is over a mountain from the city of Vanadzor, another one is through the pass at Dzoraget Village along the Debed River Canyon.
You can choose to take a minibus, van or taxi from Yerevan or the city of Vanadzor, as well as rent a car. Hiking or biking are also possible, if you like it.
The town of Stepanavan is the nearest city to Sochut. It is located 139 km north of capital Yerevan and 24 km north of the provincial center Vanadzor. Yerevan-Tbilisi highway, very important for the economy of the country, passes through this town.
The town is small with a population of only 13000 people. Due to its location on the shores of Dzoraget River among the forest of Lori plateau and Bazum Mountains, Stepanavan is considered a resort town.
Weather and Climate in Stepanavan Dendropark
First of all, take into consideration the fact, that Stepanavan Dendropark is located at a height of 1450 meters above sea level.
The region has snowy winters, with snowy weather from December up to March. The climate plays an important role in the research work of Stepanavan Dendropark, as it allows the scientists to study how the plants, brought from other regions, develop and grow in the new climate.
Where to Stay, during Your Visit to Sochut?
Most people choose to spend several days near Sochut, famous for its fresh air good for health, especially for those, who have chronic respiratory diseases. For this purpose, there are hotels and rest houses in this area.
One of the biggest hotels near Stepanavan Dendropark is Sochut Resort, established in 1955. It is located in the nearby village of Gyulagarak, in the midst of evergreen fir and pine forest.
All rooms are provided with telephones, cable TV, fridges, and bathrooms. The prices include three meals a day, Wi-Fi internet, table tennis, football and volleyball grounds, playground and cinema. The resort also has a bar, billiard, sauna, laundry, parking lots and 24-hour room service.
Lori Resort House
“Lori” rest house is located in Stepanavan, not far from Lori Fortress. A ride to Stepanavan Dendropark from here will take some 20 minutes.
Another hotel, called again “Lori” is among the most popular ones.
It has a conference hall, billiard and café, and offers to taste Armenian national dishes on the territory of the hotel. Breakfast is included in the price.
Hotels “S.H.”, “Lori Berd” and “Anahit”
The hotel has heating, a garden, parking lots, laundry, porter, conference hall, room service and baby care service.
“Lori Berd” rest house has nice cottages, located right at the edge of the forest.
Another possible option is “Anahit” rest house for lovers of quiet Stepanavan lifestyle. It has a swimming pool, sauna, restaurant with Armenian and Georgian national food.
Why Stepanavan Dendropark?
You might ask a question: Why should a person spend his time visiting Sochut? Well, there might be different reasons to go there. First, many people in Armenia, as well as some guests of the country, love Stepanavan Dendropark for its peaceful, quiet and serene atmosphere.
Feeling yourself a part of the nature, hearing the soul of the woods and drowning in the green sea of plants, this is what can help a person, so tired of this busy world, relax and let all the worries and troubles go.
Second, the air of Sochut is healthy, and many people come here from large cities to escape the polluted air and to fix their respiratory system. Many Armenian families come here with their small kids, as the air here is a good method of prevention of respiratory diseases.
Hotels offer discounts for children and may even let them stay for free.
Third, Stepanavan Dendropark is a great place, if you are scientifically interested in plants and want to know more about them not from books, but by seeing them with your own eyes. The remarkable collection of plants in Sochut will definitely interest you.
In one sentence, visit Stepanavan Dendropark to feel the nature!
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