Vayots Dzor or the “Valley of Woes”, positioned on the banks of Arpa river is one of the most picturesque, ancient, mythical, unique and eco-touristic provinces of the Republic of Armenia.
Bordering the famed Ararat valley, Gegharkunik and Syunik Marzes, Vayots Dzor is surrounded by the Vardenis as well as Arpa and Vayk mountain ranges.
It is home to spectacular waterfall ridges. The borders of the province are separated by adjacent regions by natural meadows and mysterious canyons.
Large and small passes, gorges and flower fields give Vayots Dzor its charm and natural wonder. Most villages in the region end with the name Dzor which means Valley in Armenian: Agarakadzor, Aghavnadzor, Gladzor.
Yeghegnadzor city is the regional capital, has been home to various Noble houses and has historically accommodated Armenian families migrating from Persia. Another very popular retreat is the resort-spa town of Jermuk, a well-known tourist destination, because of its natural hot springs, clean air, waterfalls, walking trails and mineral water pools.
Vayots Dzor is the land bridge connecting the south of Armenia to the central and northern provinces.
Astonishingly, the world’s oldest; 6100-year-old winery was discovered during the archaeological excavations conducted between 2007 and 2011 in the region. According to National Geographic Magazine and the study published in the Journal of Archeological Science, the earliest known winery was found in Vayots Dzor in the village of Areni. Quoting National Geographic News, article published on January 12, 2011, by James Owen:
“As if making the oldest known leather shoe wasn’t enough, a prehistoric people in what’s now Armenia also built the world’s oldest known winery, a new study says.”
Photo courtesy of Gregory Areshian
Furthermore, with a mystical past and preserved national legacy, the history of Vayots Dzor dates back to the Paleolithic Era and the Stone Age. Carvings on cliffs depicting scenes of hunting and animals have been discovered.
Attracting settlements and inhabitants since prehistoric times, mainly because of its rugged terrain and relatively inaccessible geological structure, providing security to its inhabitants and evading frequent invasions.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, the noble Houses of Proshian and Orbelian families have held the leadership of the area.
Home to many ancient landmarks and tourist attractions in Armenia, including that of the the 8th century Tanahat Monastery, the 10th century Smbataberd Fortress, Yeghegis sites of 5-13th A.D. Mogh 2nd Millennium B.C., Proshaberd fortress 13th A.D., Smbataberd Fortress 10-13th century A.D., the Fortress Berdakar 5th century A.D., the Fortress Ketchout 10-14th century A.D., as well as Gladzor, home of the 13th and 14th century University of Gladzor.
Adventure trips, explorations and eco-visits to Vayots Dzor landmarks from Yerevan are exciting and gratifying. It is recommended to spend a few days and make arrangement for local accommodations to have ample time to travel and discover the eco-diversity, history and experience the enthralling sights and resonances of Vayots Dzor.
For local contact in Armenia readers may refer to Mrs. Anahit Zalyan Bales, an expat Armenian – Thai community member, formerly a resident of Chiang Mai and currently a Travel Agent in Armenia: Komitas 7, Yerevan, Armenia Facebook: @armtour.am – Call +37410248222, +37497 36-02-22, +37498 36-22-22.
The above article is published by the Consulate of the Republic of Armenia to the Kingdom of Thailand, with the objective to promote the history, culture and eco-tourism of Vayots Dzor in Armenia.
Department of Consular Affairs
Consulate of the Republic of Armenia
Kingdom of Thailand
Last modified: August 30, 2018