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Nature Trail #1

Visitor Center – Barzdrakash St. Grigor monastery – the “Beautiful Cross-stone” (Sirun Khach) – Visitor Center


The trail is a walking trail, it is 8 km long and can be crossed in 4 hours; its difficulty is moderate. The trail begins from the front point of the Visitor Center, then going past the famed writer H. Tumanyan's House-Museum and the ancient St. Grigor Lusavorich monastery from 7th century, reaches the end of the village and winding through flat meadows bring us to the edge of the Plateau. From here it offers sweeping views deep into the Debed River Canyon, while far in the back one can see the junction of two rivers - Debed and Marts. Further down the trail eventually hits the edge of the Canyon.

Stretching for some 2 km, the trail descends into lush hilly woods on both sides of the Martz River Valley. Further down, running through a wooded road of hornbeam, maple, Georgian oak and walnuts, the rocky trail takes you to a small chapel of St. Harutyun (built in 1234 by archimandrite Hovhannes and his brother Sargis), also called by the locals the "Crow's Ark" because of a famous folktale. When taking a break for a lunch, local construction workers catch a glimpse of a crow continuously cawing over their heads. After a while, when the cook tried to pour meal out of a pot into bowls, all of a sudden the crow plunged into the pot and spoiled the food. Only then did the cook spot a venomous snake that was creeping into their pot.

Not far from the chapel is colloquially named Gikor's spring featured in H. Tumanyan's novel where he took his last drink from the village spring on his way to Tbilisi with his father.

The next historical witness encountered along the trail is the Barzdrakash St. Grigor monastery, a magnificent structure built in the 10th-13thcenturies although it reached our present days in its half ruined state. Nearby the monastery are the remains of an oil mill built in 1266 by archimandrite Gevorg.

From the monastery, the trail continues uphill along the left banks of the Martz River and opens a scenic view of the “Beautiful Cross-stone” (Sirun Khach) from 13th century situated on the rim of the canyon. Along the entire length of the trail – in woods and meadows, you will encounter a variety of colorful birds such as Great Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Jay, Blackbird and Song Thrush, Lesser Whitethroat, raptors and other species of birds.

  • 01-St-Grigor monastery
  • 02-St-Grigor monastery
  • 03-St-Grigor monasterya
  • 04-Trail
  • 05-Trail
  • 06-Trail
  • 07-Trail
  • 08-Trail
  • 09-Trail
  • 10-St-Grigor monastery
  • 11-Cross-stone






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