The Syunik province is apparently one of the most diverse provinces in Armenia due to its wide range of tourist attractions, nature and, of course, historical heritage. It is located in the South of Armenia. The capital of the province and largest city is the town of Kapan. Syunik is a mountainous province, mainly covered with thick green forests. One of the most stunning mountains in Armenia, the Zangezur mountain range occupies most of the territory of Syunik. The highest peaks of the province are the Mt. Kaputjugh (3905m) and Mt. Gazanasar (3829m) mostly covered with lush green forests. Noteworthy to say that the Syunik province is one of the fewest in Armenia that has wide range of national parks and protected areas, and for this exact reason, many of the forests are protected by the government, including the Arevik National Park, the Shikahogh State Reserve, the Boghakar Sanctuary, the Goris Sanctuary, the Plane Grove Sanctuary, the Sev Lake Sanctuary, and the Zangezur Sanctuary.
The Syunik Province offers a lot of attractions starting from city tours to hiking trails, and more.
Catch some of the best attractions and sights worth to visit in Syunik:
When you think of the Syunik province the Tatev Monastery and the longest cabin car in the world comes to mind; however, you can find a lot of mesmerizing places to visit.
If you are in the Syunik province and looking for one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the region, then you are in the right place. The Shaki Waterfall is one of the hidden gems of the province. This stunning waterfall forms from the Vorotan River, and cascades down 60 feet above the Shaki River. Not only the waterfall, but the surroundings of it will make your jaw drop from its mesmerizing beauty.
When you are in the Syunik province the city of Goris is definitely needs to be added to your travel bucket list. The charming Goris is located in the southernmost edge of Armenia, and it is the second-largest city of the province.
The city of Goris is one of the oldest cities in the region, as the Urartian period history states that people were settling there since the Stone Age, which was mentioned in a cuneiform left by King Rusa I (8th century B.C.). Walking down the enchanting streets of the city you will enjoy the 19th century buildings, stone pyramids and medieval cave dwellings, or the 4th-century basilica of Surp Hripsimé, and St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, and more. These are the most perfect places where you can witness the unique culture of Armenia.
The Syunik province has another mysterious and hidden gem that amazes most of the visitors. It is the 7500 years old ancient observatory of Carahunge (Karahunj) or The Armenian Stonehenge. This prehistoric complex is also known as “Zorats Karer,” which basically translates as “speaking stones” and only in 2004 it was officially named Karahunj Observatory since the evidence state that it once served as an ancient astronomical observatory. Noteworthy to mention that this megalithic complex is more than 4500 years older than the British Stonehenge and features about 222 basalt slabs. Make sure to visit one of the most mysterious places, when you are in Syunik.
Beside the Armenian Stonehenge Syunik has another hidden gem that resembles to the infamous Machu Picchu of Peru. It is the jaw-dropping 2nd-century BC Hin Khot village is in a gorge that was actually inhabited all the way until the 1970s. The Hin Khot is a quite convenient hiking trail, since the hike goes from Khndzoresk all the way to Khustup.
One of the finest examples of the Armenia architecture is the 9th-c entury renowned Tatev Monastery. This historic monastery is included on most of the itineraries of Armenia and for a good reason. Located near the Tatev village on the edge of the Vorotan Gorge, Tatev Monastery used to be the spiritual and educational center of the region. Another interesting fact about the Armenian monasteries is that they were famous for being extremely multifunctional. Throughout the Middle Ages the Armenian Church used to be one of the strongest social institutions of the state. It was the locomotive of freedom, education, social life, and even law and constitution. It is worth mentioning that, for centuries Armenian monasteries were not only a place of worship and prayer, but also a strong educational center, and Tatev Monastery, along with the other ones, is definitely the best example proving it, since there has been established a university with the same name back in the 1373. Worth to say that scholars of the Tatev University contributed to the preservation of Armenian culture and creed during one of its most turbulent periods in its history.
Besides driving to the Tatev Monastery, you can also take a cable car there. The Guinness World Record “Wings of Tatev” is the world’s longest non-stop double track cable car that will take you 5.7 kilometers above the gorge. It is an alternative way, that helps visitors get to the Tatev Monastery from Halidzor.
Another great place to pay a visit is the Vorotnavank Monastery, this 10th century monastery is one of the mot underrated places in the Syunik Province. The monastic complex is surrounded by a high stone wall for defense against foreign invasions and once housed workshops, stores, a seminary, resort, cemetery and an alms-house.
Needless to say, that the Syunik province is a home to one of the most iconic mountains in Armenia – Mt. Khustup, which is a part of the Bargushat Mountain range. It is a dream destination for hikers, rock climbers, campers, and lovers of rich and wild nature. Mt. Khustup is 3201 meters high and is covered with alpine meadows and forests and is located near the city of Kapan.
Another must-see in the province is the village of Khndzoresk, which is probably the most famous abandoned cave village in Armenia where people were inhabited until the 1950s in half cave houses. The fascinating landmark is located in the near the town of Goris, in the mountains surrounded by lush green forests and caves. To get there, you need to cross a hanging bridge, which is 63m in height and 160m in length and is one of the noteworthy places of the village. It is another tourist attraction, especially for extreme and adventure lovers. It really is worth to visit.
One of the most underrated places in Armenia where travelers can see a rare mountain nature and ancient petroglyphs is the Ughtasar, it offers hikers diverse trails in the region as they will see rare flora and fauna as well as prehistoric petroglyphs. However, it is not easy to get there, make sure to plan your trip during the warmer months.
Another great and really underrated destination to add in your travel bucket list is the Arevik National Park. The park is in the south of Syunik and it contains a rich geological and biological ecosystem with diverse nature and wildlife. it is home to Armenian mouflon, brown bears, Bezoar goats, the rare Caucasian leopard, and other animals. Nevertheless, the area is protected by the Armenian government, you can still plan a trip to the park, which will not harm the ecosystem.
The second-largest forest reserve in Armenia is the Shikahogh State Reserve. It is home to massive oak, beech, and other trees within the forest as well as rare species of animals like bears, leopards, vipers, snowcocks, and more. Being located nearby the Khustup Mountains, it offers wonderful hiking opportunities, rock climbing, and camping in the area.
Every traveller’s goal, when they are in Syunik, is to give a visit to the Devil’s Bridge. Over millions of years, nature created this wonder with petrified lava and water. It is definitely worth a stop if you’re near the Tatev Monastery or anywhere around the city of Kapan.
Another great place to visit is the town of Meghri, which in Armenian means “Honey Town”. This is the southernmost town in Armenia, which borders with Iran and has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. There are quite interesting places to pay a visit, especially the 17th-century churches of St. Astvatsatsin and St. Hovhannes (known for its frescos), a public library dating back to 1882, which also serves as a Cultural Center and Art School for Children, ethnographic museum from the 18th century, and an 11th-century fortress. Close to the town of Meghri there is another fascinating pace to visit. ThePrime Butterfly Areastill remains underrated; however, you can still visit and see the rare and endangered species of butterflies.
The Syunik province has another mysterious place which is worthwhile to visit. It is the Tolors Reservoir in the south of Sisian at an altitude of 1650m. Tolors Dam is built of sandstone and measures 178m in length and 68m in height. it is considered to be one of the strongest hydroelectric power plants. One of the interesting fact about the reservoir is that you can see ruins of an old church right in the middle of the dam.
Noteworthy to mention that Syunik province has become one of the most favourite destinations both for locals and tourists due to its amazing combination of nature, history and more. The Syunik province has a lot to offer its visitors, so make sure to add it on your travel bucket list, when you are in Armenia.