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) after which was named the region. The capital and largest city of the province is the town of Ashtarak.
The name of Aragats associates with Aramanyak - the son of Hayk. According to another version, Aragats was named after God Ara; Ara + gah(trone) means Ara's throne. Mount Aragats, being 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.
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 climb Aragats.
In the Aragatsotn region, the climate is very diverse due to spikes and valleys. For instance, at the highest peak of Aragats, almost all year round is winter, and in the valley, the summer lasts until October.
The region boasts many intact and dilapidated medieval monuments –Amberd Fortress, medieval monasteries, Saghmosavank and Ohanavank. Not far from the Aragatsotn region'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.
Recently, local and foreign tourists show great interest towards hiking tourism in Armenia. It is no surprise as this «mountainous island» is an irresistible country for those who like conquering natural heights.
According to the official census, the population of Aragatsotn consists of 132,925 people. Besides Armenians, there also live Yazidis and Kurds.
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. Near the statue, starts a street which 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, there are lots of restaurants, resort houses, and water parks. Here you can have a 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 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