Saghmosavank to Hovhanavank Monastery

The trail starts from Hovhannavank Monastery located in Ohanavan village (Aragatsotn province), heading to Saghmosavank Monastery through Kasakh river gorge. You will be hiking through beautiful mountainous scenery with views of Mount Hatis (2,524 m) to the east, Ararat (5,165m) to the west, Ara (2,605 m) to the south, and Aragats (4,095m) to the north.  

You might come across with reptiles all during this trail, therefore, you will have to beware.

The trail is appropriate only for hiking. The best time to pass through this trail falls between April to November.

How to get there?

The trail starts from Hovhannavank Monastery, about 27 km (40 minutes) from Yerevan, via Ashtarak Highway/AH81/E117/M1 connection roads. The end of this trail is at Saghmosavank Monastery, for about 34 km (45 minutes) from Yerevan via Ashtarak Highway/AH81/E117/M1 and AH81/E117/M3 connection roads.  

Trail characteristics

7.5 km/ 4.66 mi

3.5 hours (hiking)

min: 1326 m, max: 1633m, ascent: 257m, descent: 538m

Hiking

5 marking signs (posts)

What to do?

The trail is appropriate only for hiking. 

What to see around?

Within and in the vicinity of the trail you will come across with cultural monuments & attractions listed below:

  • Hovhannavank Monastery (5-13th centuries) – the Monastery rests on the right edge of the Kasakh river gorge in Ohanavan village. It was dedicated to John the Baptist, and was a part of the historic Ararat province of Greater Armenia. Legend credits its’ founding to Gregory the Illuminator (3rd – 4th centuries). According to Arakel of Tabriz (17th century), the monastery was named Hovhannavank after Hovhann, whom Ghazar Parpetsi appointed as leader of the Monastery. The main church of the Monastery was built between 1,216-1,221 by the order of Vache Vachutyan, whose son later added the narthex in 1,250. The church, is surrounded by cemeteries, and used to have wide arable lands, gardens, pastures, mills and villages. It was also a remarkable center of education, with a rich repository of manuscripts (some of which have been preserved up to this day).
  • Saghmosavank Monastery (13th century) - the Monastery stands on the edge of the deep Kasakh river gorge and consists of St. Sion and St. Astvatsatsin (St. Holy Mother of God) churches, a narthex and a scriptorium. St. Sion is the main church of the complex; it is a domed church with several aisles and a four-pillared narthex on its west side. The scriptorium-church is located on the southeast of St. Sion. It differs from other scriptoriums of its time due to its unique layout; the walls have niches and the Church has an altar on its east side. A cemetery, full of remarkable cross stones and monuments is located on the north end of the monastery. 

Where to stay?

To be updated shortly

Nearby destinations

There are several destinations and hiking trails in the region; it worth you spend several days in the region.

  • Mt. Ara (Ara Ler) – 2577 meters
  • Monument of Armenian Alphabet
  • Byuakan town & Byurakan Space Observatory 

Flora & Fauna

Yellow flowers, mostly ‘ascension’ flowers are spread throughout the trail. There are also yellow dandelions, chamomiles, blue forget-me-nots, colorful violets, flowering thorn plants, edible mushrooms, and herbs all around the trail. There are also apricot, peach, and apple tree orchards adjacent to the trail. The flora is lush on either side of the hike in the spring and summer.

In Aragatsotn province, the meadows, cornfields, and slopes up to the summits are abundant with reptiles; the dilapidated monuments are full of snakes (like vipers and green adders) and lizards. In the mountain forests brown bears might be seen, as well as their tracks and dens. The sightings of hares, wolves and foxes are also common. Birds like wood and field larks, owls, quails, woodchat shrikes, griffon vultures and others inhabit the forests.

Elevation profile

Photo album 

GPS track

Follow the GPS track of this trail via the below map; however, keep in mind to consult with local guides before heading to the trail.

Credits

Trail marked by AHA Armenia

Photo credit: Suren Khazarchian

Information generated by: Hikers.am

Leave No Trace

  • Plan ahead & be prepared
  • Dispose the waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect the wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors

Roads conditions

It is winter time! Check out road conditions before heading to the road! Beware of the snow & ice layer!

Vanadzor - Alaverdi section of the M6 Interstate highway stretching from Yerevan to Georgian border is temporarily closed. You can use Vanadzor-Stepanavan-Odzun-Alaverdi bypassing road.

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