Sisian is another beautiful city located in Syunik province in the south-east of Armenia. Syunik connects Armenia with the Republic of Artsakh and Iran. The city of Sisian is surrounded on the west by the Zangezur Mountains and on the south by the Bargushat Mountains. Sisian is located on the bank of the Vorotan River, 1600 meters above sea level. Winters here are long and snowy and summers are mild and short.
Mount Ughtasar (3563 m) is overlooking Sisian from the north and Mount Mets Ishkhanasar (3552 m) is located 13 km east of the town.
The area of the modern city has been known as a settlement since ancient times. In the Middle Ages, it was known as Sisakan and Sisavan. According to historian Movses Khorenatsi, the names Sisakan and Sisian are related to one of the ancestors of the Syunik Armenian ruling dynasty, Sisak, who inherited the province of Syunik from his father.
The territory of present-day Sisian was part of Tsghuk canton, within historic Syunik province which was the 9th province of Great Armenia. According to historic data, during the 8th century BC, the area was known as a notable centre of paganism.
Many sights of the city belong to the Paleolithic and Bronze Age. The Ukhtasar petroglyphs (north of Sisian), are the oldest petroglyphs in the world, dating back to the 12th millennium BC. They mainly depict hunting scenes of goats, aurochs, deer, boars etc.
Zorats Karer (Karahunj) Megalithic complex belongs to the 3rd millennium B.C. It used to be a famous observatory and sanctuary. They mainly depict goat hunting, deer and boar hunting. The complex is often referred to as Armenian Stonehenge.
The surrounding territory of the town is home to many ancient fortresses and monuments. The 7th-century St Gregory Church of Sisavan, also known as Surp Hovhannes (670-689) is considered to be one of the most important historic landmarks of the town. Shaki Waterfall is 6 km from Sisian. It is the highest waterfall in Armenia. Locals call Shaki the seventh miracle of Syunik province.
The legend says that when King Tamerlan conquered Syunik, he ordered his soldiers to find and bring to him the most beautiful girl of the town. The soldiers found a girl named Shaki who tried to run away and came to the Vorotan Canyon. Having no way to escape she preferred to throw herself into the canyon. From the place where the girl threw herself down a waterfall sprang which the people named Shaki.