Hiking trail 2.2*
Garni Visitor Center – Havuts Tar Monastery –Vahagni’s and Astghik’s Waterfalls – Pokr Shen village ruins – Geghmahovit early medieval church – Garni Visitor Center
Length: 27,7 km
Duration hours: 7.30-8 hours (not counting the times of rest , food-breaks and vehicle transfer)
Difficulty level: Difficult
Minimum elevation: 1291 meters (4255 feet)
Average elevation: 1549 meters (5121 feet)
Maximum elevation: 1945 meters (6381 feet)
Maximum slope: 32,4%-35,3%
Description: This trail passes through Garni and Kakavaberd districts and includes wonderful cultural-historical and nature monuments. It can be passed on foot or by horses and partially by car.
The trip starts by an off-road vehicle or a horse moving towards Havuts Tar monastic complex which was a remarkable cultural and religious center of medieval Armenia. Havuts Tar was a well-known center for manuscript creation and the oldest known manuscript created here dates from 1214 AD. The next stop of this trip is by the St. Stepanos church – the main church of Aghjots monastic complex which is located on 1750 m above sea level in about 6 kms south-east from Garni village. It was built in the beginning of 13th century and it was one of the important spiritual centers of medieval Armenia. The church has a cross-shaped floor plan, 4 depository sections. Next to the northern wall of St. Stephanos there is a vaulted church called Poghos-Petros. There is a remarkable detail on both sides of the entrance of this church: the bas-relief sculptures of apostles Philip and Petr (Poghos and Petros). The sculptures are made of almost natural size and they are one of the unique examples of medieval Armenian sculptural art. St. Stepanos church was destroyed from earthquake in 1679. Here in middle ages were created pictures and illustrated manuscripts related to religion, history and philosophy. Next on this route is Glan village from where starts the trail to Vahagni’s waterfall, and then Astghik’s waterfall. The visit to these waterfalls is a perfect opportunity to rest in hot summer days. The trail has some difficult passages but the magical impressions from surrounding nature and refreshing energy of waterfalls will help you gain your power back and continue the hike. These two waterfalls are connected to each other by their mythological names: in Pagan times Astghik was the Goddess of love and fertility, the lover or wife of Vahagn the Dragonfighter – God of war and fire. After Astghik’s waterfall, the trail goes to Pokr Shen and Geghmahovit early medieval church.
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 complexity.
* Hiking – Guide is required
You can find the trail route here.