Stepanavan is located in the northern part of Armenia and is considered a resort town due to its marvellous nature: it is located on the shores of Dzoraget River among the forests of the Lori plateau and Bazum mountains.
Stepanavan is one of the important towns of the Lori Region. It is located 139 km north of the capital Yerevan and 24 km north of Vanadzor, in the centre of Yerevan-Tbilisi highway. The population of the town is 13,086.
The area of the present-day Stepanavan was first settled during the 4th millennium BC. The ruins of an ancient fortress, found on the western edge of the town, date back to the 3rd millennium BC.
The area became part of the Urartu Kingdom between the 8th and 6th centuries BC. With the establishment of the Kingdom of Armenia in 331 BC, the region became part of the Tashir canton of Gugark; the 13th province of Greater Armenia.
Stepanavan was founded in 1810 as Jalaloghli, literally meaning son of Jalal. The name is derived from the Armenian noble family of Hasan-Jalalyan. The inscription on the khachkar-monument in the cemetery in Stepanavan testifies that the settlement was founded in 1810 by prince Davit Hasan-Jalalyan. In 1923, Jalaloghli was renamed Stepanavan, meaning town of Stepan in Armenian, in honour of the Bolshevik leader Stepan Shaumian.
The city is surrounded by thick forests and alpine meadows, the climate of the area is relatively humid. The most popular place in Stepanavan is the Dendropark Botanical Garden. It is located 12km away from the city, at an altitude of 1450m above sea level. The park is a natural forest with many ornamental trees and plants, lime trails and various wild plants. The plants were mostly brought from Yerevan Botanical Garden, from Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, and other eastern countries.
Dendropark is located near the village of Gyulagarak, Lori Region. The park was founded by Polish engineer and famous forester Edmund Leonowicz in 1931. Edmund Leonowicz worked as a director of the arboretum till 1984, the next director was his son. In 1998 the area of the forests was appointed as a specially protected zone. The total area is 35 ha, 17,5 ha of which occupies the natural forest, 15 ha - ornamental trees.
Another famous place in Stepanavan is Lori Fortress which is 4.5 km away from Stepanavan. The fortress of Lori is built on a high plateau between Dzoraget and its tributary Miskhana, whose deep gorges make the castle inaccessible on three sides. The view of the gorge from the fortress is truly breathtaking and unforgettable.