Переглянуто 2500 раз(и), завантажено 61 раз(и)
біля Mets Gilanlar, Ararat (አርሜኒያ)
The hike is located on the shared border between the provinces of Kotayk and Ararat. After visiting the Garni temple in the village of Garni and exploring its magnificent facade, the trail will then lead you to Gilan village (8 km from Garni) in the “Khosrov Reserve”. The hike starts from Gilan village and leads to the waterfall of the Goddess Astghik. The water of the waterfall is potable and flows into a round, natural pool which you can swim in.
The next destination on the hike is the St. Stephanos (Surb Stepanos) Monastery, a place of pilgrimage for many Armenians, located on the slopes of a high gorge.
The Pagan Temple of Garni is situated on the right bank of the Azat river, in the province of Kotayk. Legend ascribes Garni’s founding to Hayk Nahapet’s (the ancestor of all Armenians) great-grandson, Gegham, who named the temple of Garni after his grandson, Garnik. Another legend says that it was also called the Temple of the Sun, dedicated to the sun god, Mihr (Armenian deity).
The fortress of Garni was built in the Hellenistic architectural style, on a high triangular promontory, during the reign of King Tiridates I (Trdat, in Armenian) in the year 76. The fortress of Garni was destroyed several times throughout the centuries, but the Armenian kings would always restore it – turning it into a summer residence, a place for the military exercises of troops and even an Episcopal Residence.
Archaeological excavations around Garni have found late Bronze Age tombs, early Urartian and Armenian cuneiform and ceramic inscriptions, attributed to King Argishti, and an urban settlement in front of the fortress, the traces of which had been covered by both medieval and modern buildings.
There is also a medieval cemetery on the northern side of the village with carved khachkars (cross stones) and inscriptions on the tombs. Currently, the temple of Garni attracts numerous tourists visiting Armenia with its well-preserved majestic architecture and carvings.
The temple is open for everyone throughout all four seasons, and at night it is dressed in the beautiful glow of colored lights.
Khosrov Forest (including the Urts Reserve and Garni Reserve) was once, about 1,700 years ago, the hunting ground of the 4th century Armenian king, Khosrov G. Kotak (Khosrov III the Small), after whom it is named. It was he who turned the southern slopes of the Gegham Mountains into a forest-reserve and it was during his reign that, according to Khorenatsi, the forest grew noticeably in size. For centuries, the reserve was mentioned in Armenian history as the hunting ground of the noblemen. Various animals from different regions, including Persia, were brought to the reserve and bred there. The reserve is located on the southern side of the Gegham Mountains, on the northwestern slopes of the Urts and Yeranos mountain chains, in the Azat and Vedi river basins. At an altitude of 1,600-2,300m, and with an area of 27,000 hectares (9,000 of which is covered with forests), the reserve has been under State protection since 1,958, in order to preserve, improve and propagate existing and new species of flora and fauna.
There is a total of 312 monuments, monasteries, churches, khachkars (cross stones), forts, and settlements in the territory of the Reserve. The Khosrov forest starts at the Araks River, in the Ararat valley and stretches up to the Azat River. The Kakavaberd Fortress, Geghard, Havuts Tar, and St. Stephanos (Surb Stepanos) monasteries, a church carved into a cave, a medieval bridge and other historical monuments can be found in the Khosrov Forest. The Azat River flows through the Khosrov forest, with its abundant tributaries forming numerous rapids and magnificent waterfalls.
As mentioned by Khorenatsi, during the reign of Khosrov G Kotak, a great afforestation was made within the reserve, in the territory from Gilan to Kakavaberd.
Gilan village is located 8km from Garni, in the Khosrov Reserve. There is no school, village administration or hospital in the village. Gilan does not technically have village status, but people live here together with their families, without any major issues. Here, 20 families work together to cultivate their land, plant new trees and enjoy the large variety of fruits and vegetables that this land provides them with, year round. All the people of the old village are highly hospitable, and often host tourists during the summer months, offering them tasty traditional Armenian dishes and a place to stay.
St. Stephanos (Surb Stepanos) Monastic Complex is a medieval Armenian monastic complex, located within the territory of the “Khosrov” state reserve, in the province of Ararat.
The monastic complex is composed of a narthex (gavit in Armenian), several churches, buildings for monks and a cemetery. The main church of the monastic complex is the St. Stephanos church, built in the early 13th century. The church has a cruciform layout and 4 sacristies. The narthex (built in the second half of the 13th century) is located on the east side of the main church. Only a few parts of its original walls have survived the centuries. The St. Stephanos monastery is situated on a high slope overlooking the nature reserve.
Waterfall of the Goddess Astghik is located 2km far from Gilan village and is surrounded by rocks; the water is potable and flows into a small natural pool, which you can swim in. The surroundings of the waterfall are mostly mossy, because the sun almost never reaches there. The waterfall has a height of 6-7 meters. In the spring months, the water flow is so strong that swimming there becomes dangerous, nevertheless, its appearance remains as attractive as ever. Swimming season starts in June.
The flora within the Khosrov Reserve is plentiful – it includes around 1,800 species of plants, which constitute more than 50% of Armenia's flora, 146 of these are registered in the Red Data Book of the Republic of Armenia.
In the areas between Gilan village and Kakavaberd there are a variety of interesting plants, trees and flowers, which vary depending on each microclimate. A semi-desert landscape dominates the lower slopes of the mountains, and forest vegetation covers the mid-altitude slopes, where juniper and oak trees grow.
Other plants include the broadleaf spindle (Euonymus europaeus), guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus), sorbus and Caucasian honeysuckle, and species of flowers such as cichorium, white chamomile, clary sage (Salvia), valeriana (Valerians), Centaurea, nettle, plantain (Plantago), white bryony, and Achillea, which are said to have healing properties. Plants like thyme (Thymus) and mint grow here, and are often used as herbs in teas and cooking.
The fauna is relatively passive on the slopes of the Gegham Mountains. Sightings of stray fauna species like – wolf, fox, hare, marten, various mice, as well as about 250 species of birds (which constitutes the 70% of bird species in Armenia) are common to the area. Some parts of the southern slopes of the mountain chain are included in the “Khosrov Forest” state reserve.
It is quite possible to hike this entire route without seeing any animals. However, the opposite is also true. A primary task of the Khosrov Reserve is the protection and breeding of species, which is strictly monitored and controlled. Usurian spotted deer, for example, was introduced to the reserve in 1,954.
The most common animals include the Armenian mouflon (wild sheep) and Bezoar goat (wild goat) and some species of amphibious reptiles that can be encountered here in great numbers in the summer months, due to the hot weather.
Other, rarer sightings include leopards, brown bears, wild boars, foxes, hares, lynxes, martens, wolves and badgers. The birdlife is especially abundant, and sightings of black kite, bearded vulture, griffon vulture, eagle, wild pigeon and jay are common. There are also many reptiles, and hikers are recommended to take extra care to avoid unwanted encounters with toxic vipers (Gyurza, in Armenian).
Safety and Connectivity
Mobile telephone coverage within the areas of Gilan village, St. Stephanos and the waterfall of the Goddess Astghik is available only in one place in the Gilan village. The 911 emergency services operate throughout Armenia in case of any accidents.
Be careful, the slippery mossy stones of the waterfall as well as the fallen rocks of the tall wall on the left of the waterfall. Be aware of snakes and be sure to bring bottled water!
Best period: April -November
Distance: 26km from Yerevan
Duration: 37 minutes
Hiking trail length: 8.7 km
Walk duration: 4 hours
Visible Trail Surface: 99%
How to Get There
In order to reach this route, the most inexpensive option is to get to the 1st block of Nor Nork and to take the number 268 minibus or another bus leaving to the village of Garni.
In order to reach Gilan village from Garni, a car should be ordered from the checkpoint near Garni. The car will take you to the starting point of the hike.
In order to get from Yerevan to Garni, it is advisable to take a taxi with a working meter (be sure the driver uses it), or agree on a price beforehand.