Area: 5455 km2
Population: 200 125 (2013)
The region (province) of Aragatsotn (literally meaning "the foot of Aragats") is located in the western part of Armenia and is surrounded by mountains from its three sides; one is Mount Aragats - the highest peak of Armenia (4,090 m) which gave the marz its name. The capital and largest city of the province is the town of Ashtarak.
Mount Aragats, considered the highest peak in the South Caucasus, has become a permanent home for mountaineers and naturalists wanting to explore its four peaks. From the top of the mountain, you can see most of the Lesser and Great Caucasus Range, even as far as Mt. Elbrus, Europe's tallest mountain at 5642m.
With its unique nature, this mountain has sub-alpine and alpine zones as well as four peaks and one of the biggest craters in the world, created by a volcano eruption in the distant past. The most suitable period for climbing Aragats is from June until August when mountain trails are dry and safe. In winter, when slopes are covered with snow, only professional climbers on skis are recommended to climb Aragats.
Aragats name is associated with Aramanyak – one of the sons of Armenian nation's forefather Hayk. According to another version, Aragats is named after ancient Armenian god Ara. Aragats probably means Ara's throne.
The region boasts many intact and dilapidated medieval monuments –Amberd Fortress, medieval monasteries, Saghmosavank and Ohanavank. Not far from the Marz's center, in the village of Oshakan, there is the tomb of St. Mesrop Mashtots, the founder of the Armenian alphabet, which became the relic of all Armenians all over the world. There is also the well-known Byurakan Observatory which was founded and headed by Victor Ambartsumian, the world's famous scientist, and astronomer.
Local and foreign tourists have shown great interest towards hiking tourism in Armenia lately. It is no surprise as this «mountainous island» is an irresistible country for those who like conquering natural heights.
Ashtarak is located on the left bank of Kasagh River; it is the capital of Aragatsotn region. The city’s name was first mentioned in the 9th century. The Medieval Monuments are still kept in Ashtarak, that’s why it is famous for a lot of historical monuments and outstanding people.
This city is not far away from Yerevan, so it is easy to get here by your own car or by taxi. The first place that you should visit in Ashtarak is the main square. There you will see the beautiful statue of Nerses Ashtarakeci. Recently, at the center of the square were added fountains which have the shape of the trees.
Near the square, you will see the statue of Armenian great poet Vardges Petrosyan. After that starts the street; which name is called "The Street of Museums". The city market is located near the bridge. There you can see the making of traditional Lavash.
Under the Ashtarak’s Bridge are lots of restaurants, resort houses, and water parks; here you can have really good time. Here the hospitable people will give you a warm welcome with traditional Armenian barbecue and Vodka. If you go there, you should visit Perch Petrosyan's house-gallery.
Near the gallery, there is " Tonratun"; where you can taste the real Armenian lavash. Here you will see the oldest houses in the city. The oldest churches in this city are Karmravor, Tsiranavor, and Spitakavor. It is really interesting to see these beautiful cities.
There is also one place that you should visit before you leave from this tastiest city. It is "Ayrudzi"; which is a Rider’s club. You can ride a horse or just to communicate with the horses and also can feed them. Be sure, this place will be unforgettable for you.
Saghmosavank is a medieval church, one of the important cultural and spiritual centers of Armenia.It is located in Aragatsotn region on the right bank of Kasakh River.Read More