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Yeghegnadzor

Population - 8200 people.

An overgrown country town built on twisting lanes that wind into the hills, Yeghegnadzor (yeh-heg-nadzor) is the peaceful administrative centre of Vayots Dzor. Yeghegnadzor ('Valley of the reeds') has a couple of museums but is not in itself otherwise of any interest except as a place to shop or change money.

The town is a mainly Soviet-era confection of wide civic spaces and tufa apartment blocks. A few small factories (eg a diamond-cutting plant) have opened, but remittances and agriculture provide the biggest incomes. There isn’t much to see in the town itself, but it does make a good base to explore the region – you could easily spend three or four days here in between trips to Yeghegis village, Noravank, the Ajeri and Arpi caves and the wineries in Areni and Spitakavor.

There are, however, a number of interesting sights outside the town, in particular Spitakavor Monastery and Tanahat Monastery (with the related, but separately housed, Museum of Gladzor University). Just visible in the distance from the main road immediately east of its junction with the Selim road is a 13th-century bridge over the Arpa. The bridge can be reached by taking the track which heads across the fields towards the river from just north of the main road's junction with the Selim road. The bridge, once upon a time on the main road to Julfa, consists of a single arch of 16m span. The bridge is unlike other medieval Armenian bridges in being a lancet arch: in other words it is an acutely pointed arch having two separate centres of equal radii. This gives it a pointed appearance with a high clearance over the river in the centre. The bridge is very picturesquely situated away from any main road and makes an ideal place for a picnic.

Getting There & Away - Marshrutkas and buses to nearby villages leave from the avtokayan in the centre of town, opposite the Hotel Gladzor. A daily bus to Jermuk (AMD700, 40 minutes) leaves at 2pm. There are marshrutkas to Vayk (20 minutes) twice hourly between 9am and 5pm. Marshrutkas to Yerevan (90 minutes to two hours, hourly 8am to 6pm) usually leave from the junction with the main highway. Space permitting, you can also flag one down here to go to Goris. As yet there is no public transport to Martuni on the shore of Lake Sevan, but hitching is not too much of a struggle. Taxis can be hired near the avtokayan for AMD100 per kilometre. Noravank is about 20km west, while Jermuk is 53km east.


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