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Yeghegnadzor is a town in Southern Armenia. This small city is located in a good spot to explore the surrounding sites for a few days, and in a fantastic area for hiking and spelunking. The city itself is right by the main North-South highway and has comfortable accommodations and is a very typical town in Armenia for those who want an experience outside of Yerevan. Things to see in the area include the Areni wine country, the spectacular canyon and monastery in Noravank, the impressive Smbatabert Fortress/Tsakhats Kar Monastery area, the old silk road caravanserai of Selim, sitting on top of the world, lot of other monuments and a number of caves and cavern systems. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Yeghegnadzor
- Areni Wine Country. Just a couple of villages from Yeghegnadzor is Areni, famous for its wine from grapes of the same name. Nice setting and village, with a couple of the wineries in the area offering tastings.
- Noravank Monastery. Hands down the most popular site in the area, this monastery of stunning beauty is in an equally stunning canyon setting. The brick-red cliffs opposite the beige stones of the monastery offer an unforgettable contrast, as does the climb up the stone steps jutting out of one of the churches, to a second story church on top of the one on the first story. The carvings are also very worthwhile, and the monastery has excellent facilities (and maybe food) for visitors as well.
- Selim Caravanserai. If you want to see where silk road traders laid their weary heads a thousand years ago, head up the winding road to Selim Caravanserai. You can see the entrance/bar area, and the large cavernous room the guests would share with each other, and their animals. The room has convenient troughs for the animals to eat and drink from!
- Tsakhats Kar Monastery. Up in the mountains is the Monastery of Tsakhats Kar. A nice hike from the village below, or an offroad drive for those with a serious 4x4. Time seems to have forgotten this place, but you need not. It's across from Smbataberd (see below), and together they make a great outing.
- Smbataberd Fortress. A serious natural fortification with a serious fortress on top. This narrow sheer cape is capped with one of Armenia's biggest fortresses. The views of the valley's are impressive and the sheer drop a bit scary. Impossible to imagine this fortress ever being taken by force.
- Mozrov and Arjeri Caves. These rough caves, found very close to one another, were mapped during Soviet times, but there are no markers, no lights, no facilities, no decent road to them. Not many people know them well either, so finding a guide may be tough, but definitely necessary. Mozrov is only 700m long, but has the nicer formations. Arjeri cave, meaning bears cave, is a very extensive cave system, with some good formations, small pools of water, and both have bats.
- Spitakavor Monastery and Boloraberd Fortress. These two sites are quite close to each other, and a great day hike from Yeghegnadzor. A local guide, topographic maps or a GPS might be handy, but these very off-road sites (also accessible by car, preferably 4x4) are rarely visited.
- Gladzor University Ruins and Tanahati Monastery. Another good day hike from Yeghegnadzor, these adjacent sites are easy to find by following the road up past Vernishen village.
- Yeghegis Village sites. This village, beautifully sited in the canyon below Smbataberd (which may be better accessed from the opposite side of the canyon) has the very unusual triangular shaped Zorats Church, where the congregation is meant to stand outdoors. It also has another nice small church and much rougher one, and ancient Jewish cemetery across the river below, and don't be surprised to stumble upon women baking lavash in the traditional underground tonir over!
Smaller sites if you have the time or are in the area.
- Jrovank - a small cave with water seeping through and a little chapel set up inside.
- Magili Cave - another cave system, in the canyon leading to Noravank. Deep system, but few formations.
- Areni Church - overlooking the village, this nearly thousand year old small church has been immaculately restored.
- Khotakenats Vank Monastery - an interesting little monastery in Khachik Village, overlooking Nakhichevan.
- Martiros rock-cut church - a small and simple church carved into the stone mountain above Martiros Village.
- Arkazi S. Khach Church - very near Tanahati Monastery, plain church said to have a piece of the true cross buried in its walls.
- Moz archaeological site
- Horadis Church
Popular events in Yeghegnadzor in the near future
- Canyon Loop Tour. Hire a taxi (or drive) for the whole day in a loop, following the river canyons surrounding Yeghegnadzor. Go up the Yeghegis River past Getap, bearing right at Shatin Village (monastery above), and head to Yeghegis (3 churches, ancient Jewish cemetery), continue up to Arates Monastery, then head back down along the Herher River to Herher Village (with the cool S. Sion monastery and fun little Chiki Vank Monastery) before continuing down to the Arpa river and heading north to Yeghegnadzor.
There are many barbecue restaurants, many of them with primarily outdoor seating along the highway near Yeghegnadzor, along the Arpa River. In Yeghegnadzor there is a small new restaurant/cafe which opened in 2006 in a central location, with indoor or patio seating.
Wherever you can eat, you can drink in these parts. Drinking means wine, vodka or beer, or homemade liqueurs.
- Wine. This being Armenia's wine country, you can buy wine in huge jugs on the side of the road, or bottles from a winery. You can also buy young wine, which is not very fermented yet, called majar.
- Yeghegnadzor Buried Cheese. This traditional cheese is made nowhere else in the world. Goats milk and herbs are mixed and sealed in a clay pot and buried in the mountains for 6 months, at which point it is salty and sharp. Cheese connoisseurs love this, and you can buy some to take with you.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Yeghegnadzor on Wikivoyage.