Area: 2,086 km2
Kotayk is the only province in Armenia that has no borders with foreign countries. Its capital is Hrazdan and the largest city is Abovyan. It is named after the Kotayk canton of the historic Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenia. The territory is crossed by the Hrazdan carrying its waters in deep gorges and canyons. The river gave the name to the area's main city "Hrazdan". As for the name itself, its origin goes back to the times of Kot, the Patriarch of Armenian Apostolic Church. In antiquity, the marz of Kotayk was a part of Ayrarat region of Great Armenia.
Nowhere else in Armenia is there such a variety of places of interest than in Kotayk. The territory of Kotayk hosts the most ancient monuments of Garni's pagan temple (1st century AD), the monastic complex of Geghard dug in the rock (12 Th – 13 Th century).
Kotayk is considered the best place of rest, tourism, and sports in Armenia. Since the old times, Tsaghkadzor has been attractive both as a settlement and a resort. The “Gorge of Flowers” was first inhabited in the 3rd - 5th centuries. In the early medieval it was used as a hunting ground for the Armenian Arshakuni Kings. In the 4th century, the valley passed to the reign of the Armenian influential Kamsarakan dynasty. In 1033 the follower of the Kamsarakan dynasty and the leader of the Pahlavuni dynasty Gregory the Magister ordered to erect a church in Tsaghkadzor which was named after St. Gregory the Illuminator. And so was founded Kecharis monastery complex – the true treasure of the valley.
According to the legend, a big fortress with a splendid flower garden was built in this beautiful basin by the wish of a noble girl from the Pahlavunyats dynasty. The girl demands that the most gracious flowers of Armenian world grow in her garden. And her wish comes true. But one day a furious spring wind destroys her garden and scatters the flowers all over the gorge. The basin fills with flowers and the gorge receives the name of Tsakhkadzor (Gorge of Flowers). Then the noble girl asks her father to build a monastery near that fortress for the priests to pray day and night and bring the dispersed flowers back. And so the monastery of Kecharis was built.
The monastery complex of Kecharis (XI-XIII) was one of the prominent cultural and religious centers of medieval Armenia. Eminent scientists and politicians of all times, such as Gregory the Magister, Vasak Khaghbakyan, Khachatour Kecharetsi and others have lived and worked in Kecharis. The complex consists of 4 churches, 2 chapels, and a vestry.
Today Tsakhkadzor is the center of tourism, skiing, where there is an especially significant chairlift with five stations and more than a dozen ski runs. The Tsakhkadzor Ropeway is located on a slope of Teghenis Mount. From the height of 2819m, where the speed chairlift will take you in 32 minutes, all Armenia is visible at a glance – in clear weather, it offers a breathtaking view of Mount Ararat. It is possible to change from one station to another without removing the equipment: the services of skiers and snowboarders comfortable drag lifts And recently for “mountain beachgoers” (so mountain skiers call those tourists who didn’t get up yet on skis) started separate, the fifth turn. Now both the ropeway and the skiing runs armed with the best equipment that guarantees tourists and fans of mountain skiing active and safe recreation. There are also cafes, bars, rescue services, the services of first aid, training services for novice skiers etc. All this becomes perfect in combination with the delightful nature and the clean air of sunlit Tsakhkadzor.
The climate of Tsakhkadzor is special. Winters are mild and sunny (average temperature in July is +18 С, in January – 6 С). The footpaths running through the woods lead to flower-grown clearings and cold springs such as well-known Ardzhakhpyur and Ttudzhur “Acid Water” and Mount Tegenis. There you will find all necessary conditions for rest and sports: the big sports complex with swimming pools (including the 50-meter indoor swimming pool), the indoor stadium for track and field athletics.
Here you can find many luxury hotels and resorts that always welcome their guests during the summer and winter seasons including the Marriott Tsaghkadzor Hotel, Multi Rest House Hotel, Golden Palace Hotel and Resort and Best Western Alva Hotel and Spa. The “Senator Royale” casino of Tsaghkadzor is among the largest entertainment centers in Armenia. Kotayk is also home to the mountain resort of Aghveran.
The Arzni resort, famous for its therapeutic mineral waters, is situated in the picturesque Hrazdan canyon. In recent times, the health spas and treatment centers of Arzni have earned attention as destinations for cardiovascular treatment. All this becomes perfect in combination with the delightful nature, the clean air and wonderful opportunities for sports lovers and naturalists.
Hrazdan is the capital city of Kotayk Region. The Hrazdan River crosses the city. Hrazdan is considered to be the main industrial center of Armenia. The people of Hrazdan came here from different places such as Sasun, Mush Kars Artsakh, Baku and other places. In fact, everyone brought their own habits and traditions, creating the image of little Armenia.
They say that before the building the city in that area was swamped. Nowadays at the center of the city are buildings, different companies, shops, parks, and cafés. Near the center, there is "the old Hrazdan"; which is not beautiful as the center but is still interesting to visit. There is a big and lovely park of fir-trees in Akhta Aghbyurak’s district. You can find many special benches in the park where you can sit, breathe fresh air and enjoy the view.
There are few monuments that are dedicated to the victims of Second World War. At the end of the park, there is a big solar clock with the constellation signs. Near old Hrazdan Street, you will see the National Theatre of Hrazdan; which is a beautiful place to visit. In the same area, you can see the Hrazdan’s branch of National Gallery of Armenia. The Hrazdan’s Branch is considered to be the oldest one in Gallery. In front of the gallery is located "the city park", which has a beautiful look to the forest.
One of the most beautiful places in Hrazdan is "Tsovinar" artificial lake. The people love to pass their holidays there. Near the lake you can see a unique statue; they call it "a pretty girl coming out of the water ".In Maqravan town there is situated Maqravan Monastery complex, the main Church of the complex is the Saint Astvatsatsin that is surrounded by a lot of beautiful cross-stones. Near the church, you can see the little cemetery. Unfortunately, the Complex is not working, but people believe that there is something that only is visible to them.So it is worth to see this mysterious place. If you’re fond of mysteries, this place is for you.
Kecharis is medieval monastery complex located in Tsaghkadzor town, Kotayk region. The monastery is the spiritual and cultural center of Kotayk region.Read More