2.1 Hiking Tour (combined)

Type of service: hybrid (hiking and off-roading combined)

Route: Garni Visitor Center – Havuts Tar Monastery – St. Stepanos Church – Glan Village -Astghik’s Waterfall – Vahagn’s Waterfall -Pokr Shen village ruins -Geghmahovit village ruins – Garni Visitor Center

Description: This is a tour to deeper parts of Khosrov Forest State Reserve passing through various historical and cultural sites. First is the ancient Havuts Tar Monastery which was founded in 11th century and was a renowned cultural and spiritual center. It is situated upon a promontory along the Azat River Valley and is a whole complex of ruined ancient buildings. The majority of Havuts Tar monastic complex was constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries. Next on the route is The St. Stepanos Monastery or Monastery of St. Stephen the Protomartyr situated in a deep canyon along the Arax river on the Iranian side of the border. The first monastery was built in the seventh century and completed in the tenth century. The monastery produced paintings and illuminated manuscripts, in areas as diverse as religion, history and philosophy. Next you pass through Glan settlement from where starts the path to first Astghik’s waterfall and then Vahagn’s waterfall, both amazingly beautiful and connected by the mythological meanings of the names. In the earliest prehistoric period Astghik had been worshipped as the Armenian deity of fertility and love, and she was been the wife or lover of Vahagn Vishapakagh (Vahagn the Dragon Reaper), the god of fire and war worshiped in Armenia. Next after the waterfalls the hike goes through Poqr Shen and Geghmahovit settlements, ending at the spot where you can be picked up by off-road vehicle or continue the tour on horses and get to Garni visitor center where you started. Duration of the tour is approximately 6.40-8.10 hours, and the length is 17.3 km. Bezoar goat, Caucasian Brown bear, white – headed griffon, variety of reptile species can be observed in this area. This tour offers you a good hiking opportunity that would be much enjoyed in combination with either horseback-riding or off-roading due to its length and complicity.

Minimum elevation: 1406 meters (4613 feet)

Average elevation: 1670 meters (5479 Feet)

Maximum elevation: 1952 Meters (6404 feet)

Maximum slope: 35.5% – 35.3%

Condition of trail: middle

Status of trail: unbuilt, unmarked, unsigned (GPS file available)

Length: 17.3 km, 10.7 mile

Difficulty level (and score): very difficult, 25

Duration and Type:* 6.40-8.10 hours, linear

*(not counting the times of rest, food-breaks and off-road vehicle transfer)