Vayots Dzor Region

Vayots dzor region is distinguished by ravines, many canyons and mountains which are difficult to pass. It is also famous for its caves, one of which is Magil: one of the largest caves of Armenia. At Stone age the idea has been accepted that the cave must be difficult to achieve and the entrance must be narrow in order to defend the enemy. The entrance of Magil is so narrow that only one person can go there. The cave entrance is closed for visitors now aand you can visit it only with a special expert. The cave inhabitants are the thousands of bats. 
There was opened another cave named Mozrov in Vayots dzor during the road works.

Vayots dzor regions main water source for irrigation and for electricity is the River Arpa. The waterfalls of Herher and Jermuk are formed on this river. Jermuks big waterfall is called “Mermaids hair”. It has 72 m height. This is one of the miracles in Jermuk. In ancient times there was a castle of a knight above the waterfall. He has a daughter. Manies want to marry her, but the girl refused everybody, because her heart belonged to a shepherds son, who was courageous, brave and handsome. The girl was throwing a rope down the canyon, due to which the boy could climb up to her. But soon the knight guessed it and cursed her daughter. He said that if she met the shepherds son again, she would become a mermaid and never get out of the water. Next time the girl threw her long hair for her lover. The fathers curse come real. So the beautiful girl became mermaid and her hair became an amazing waterfall, which was called “Mermaid hair”.

Near Jermuk, on Arpa river was built Kechut water reservoir which flows through Lake Sevan to increase the water level.
Jermuk district is rich with rare mineral and sweet sources. 
The population in Vayots dzor is few in number. The three cities of this region are Jermuk, Eghegnadzor and Vayk. Jermuk has first class resort fame. Every year thousands of people recover here. Its also known as the maker and the deliverer of “Jermuk” mineral water.  

One of the old and famous villages in Vayots dzor is Areni. In the eastern part of the village is located S.Astvatsatsin church, which was built by famous painter, sculptor and architect Momik in 14th century. The picture of Saint Virgin with little Christ in her arms is on the upper part of the churches western entrance. Tarsaich knights castle ruins are located near the church. 

On the east of village Vernashen is situated S.Khach monastery, which is the famous pilgrimage of Vayots dzor. In the south east of the church is buried a piece of wood from Jesus crucifixion. 
Tanade monastery is located in the south-east from Vernashen. Historicans mention this monastery from 8th century. The main church of the monastery is S.Stepanos. It was built in 13 century. The church is famous for its valuable protocols and animal sculptures. There is Varaga S.Nshan chapel attached to the north of the church. One of the wonderful flat sculptures is hunting scene which is on the upper part of the entrance. It is supposed that here was one of the most famous universities of Armenia in that time. That was Gladzor university.

In the north of the village Vernashen is Spitakavor S. Astvatsatsin medieval monastery. The ruins are still standing near the monastery. The church has a great deal of sculptures. Under the walls of the monastery is the tomb of Armenian famous general Garegin Njhdeh. In spring, when countless beautiful flowers are blossoming around the monastery, the monastery itself is like another flower and that is why it is called also “The Monastery of Flower”. 

Tsaghats kar monastery complex is situated in the north of the village Yegheghis on the high mountain. The two big cross stones are very impressive. 
In the north of the village Yeghegis on the high mountain is situated Zorats St. Astvatsatsin church. The church was surrounded by the wall. It is supposed that the church was built by the army which is going to the battle.
Shatinavank in Shatin village was built in 10th century. St. Sion basilica is in the center of the monastery. Many monuscripts were portrayed here. The fortress is on an incredible mountain with rapid slops. It was built by knight Prosh “Proshs forthress”. The buildings are under the soil, but the walls are still standing.
Gndevank is located on the left coast of Arpa river. It was founded in 10th century. A small part of Christs image is remained on one of the walls. Inside there are statues which are symbolising four evangelists. There are cross stones and gravestones in the yard.

In Amaghu village on the mountain is situated Noravank. The water which is coming under neath the stage had healing qualities. Famous sculptor, painter and architect Momik worked here. The main church is St. Karapet, the porch is on the west and knight Smbats tomb is on the north. On the south-east of these buildings is Burtel knights two-storied tomb-church, which is called St. Astvatsatsin and is the largest building of the complex. There is a sculpture of Jesus who was sitting on the knees of Holy Virgin above the door of the church. The image of Father God is above the window. There are many cross stones in the territory of the complex and among them are Momiks cross stones. The cross stone which is in memory of Momik is also in Noravank. Momik fall in love with one of Suniks knights daughter and the knight ordered him to build a monastery. When he was finishing the construction the knight made one of his servants to throw him from the dome.

On the southern slope of Selim Pass is situated Selim caravanserai, which is looking like rural residential house. On the both sides of the entrance of medieval hotel are the animals images: a bull, a lion with human face and with crown on his head, and the snake is attacking him.
In 2008 the worlds oldest leather shoe was found in Areni cave, which is 5500 years old.

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