Area: 4,506 km2
Population: 141,771 (2011)
Syunik region is located in the southern part of Armenia. It is bordered by Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan, Iran, and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Syunik was one of the provinces of the ancient Kingdom of Armenia. Historically the region was known as Syunia, Sisakan and Zangezur.
In fact, Syunik is considered to be the richest industrial region of Armenia. The largest river is the Vorotan, the highest mountain is Kaputjukh (3,904).
The capital of Syunik is Kapan, also known as Ghapan. The most beloved of Armenian hikers Mount Khustup rises above Kapan and beautifies the panorama of the city.
At the end of the 19th century, Old Khndzoresk was the biggest village in Eastern Armenia. At the beginning of the 20th century, the community had 8300 inhabitants, seven schools and 27 shops. The village had 4 churches: St. Hripsime, St. Taghevos (a cave church), Anapati church (translated as "of the desert") and the Old Church.
In 1735 the village was visited by Catholicos (Head of Armenian Apostolic Church) Abraham Kretatsi who gave a thorough description of the community in his chronicles. Khndzoresk is famous for taking part in the liberation movement of David Bek. The fortress of Khndzoresk also served as a military base for Mkhitar Sparapet in 1728-1730.
However, Khndzoresk is mainly famous for its canyon with picturesque rock formations and ancient cave settlement. The artificial caves, some of which are currently used as stables and warehouses, used to be inhabited until the 1950s. At the bottom of the gorge, the church of St.Hripsime of the 17th century is located.
The "Rocking Bridge" of Khndzoresk is a popular tourist destination. The construction of the bridge lasted two years (2011-2012). Its length is 160m, the height is 63m and the weight is 14 tons. The bridge connects the two parts of Old Khndzoresk. It takes 5 minutes to cross the bridge, but to enjoy the wonderful scenery you may need to walk slowly. The "Swinging Bridge" was built by Jora Aleksanian who dedicated it to his parents.
The undeniable treasure of Syunik is Tatev Monastery, which was built in 895. The Monastery of Tatev was the cultural centre of Armenia for a long time and now it is one of the must-see places in Armenia. In 1995 the monastery of Tatev was included in the tentative list of the World Heritage Sites of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The history of Tatev monastery dates back to the 9th century. Undoubtedly, this monastery is one of the oldest and the most famous complexes in Armenian. The main church of the monastery was built in 895 by BishopHovhannes with the support of Syunik princes Grigor Suphan and Dzagik. In 930 the inside walls of the church were carved with beautiful frescoes.
The complex includes three churches; the Poghos Petros Cathedral, St Astvatsatsin, and St. Grigor, the mausoleum of Grigor Tatevatsi, the “Gavazan” monument and other historical buildings. The mysterious “Gavazan” monument was built in 906.
The combination of the rich nature of Syunik and the incredible view of Tatev Monastery impresses greatly and stays in memory forever.
“Wings of Tatev” is the longest ropeway in the world (5, 7 km) and is called the treasure of Syunik. “Wings of Tatev” was included in the Guinness Book of records. The unforgettable air journey over the Vorotan river on the “Wings of Tatev” lasts for 12 minutes, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the indescribable beauty of the surroundings.
The climate of the Syunik region is diverse. But mostly the area is warm. The temperature in January ranges from +0.9 °C to -9.8 °C. The town of Meghri of the Syunik region is the warmest one in Armenia.
The population of the region
According to the census of 2011, 141 771 people live in Syunik. In the capital Kapan: 45 500 people.
Kapan is the capital of Syunik region. It is located in the south-eastern part of Armenia, near Khustuph Mountain and the Voghji River. The city was mentioned first in the 5th decade, and from 10th decade became the capital of Syunik Region. Kapan’s name means canyon or mountain pass.
The Mountain Khustup stands to the south of the city of Kapan. The view of the city together with the mountain is very picturesque.
Kapan and the surrounding areas are home to many historical monuments. Here you can visit the Baghaberd Fortress which dates back to the 4th century and is as well known as the castle of Davit Bek. Baghaberd served as a fortress between the 4th-12th centuries. It is located on the top of a hill not far from the town of Kapan. The fortress is at the height of 1,438 metres.
The legend says that Baghaberd was connected with a rope road to another fortress rising on the right side of the opposite cliff, and the entrance of the castle was protected by a huge door. Another treasure of Kapan is the Castle of Halidzor which was built in the 17th century and was famous as a strong and unassailable fortress.
The Shikahogh National Reserve is also in the area of Kapan. It was founded in 1958 to protect the forests and animals of the region. Many species of flora and fauna are registered in the RA Red Book. The area of the reserve is about 12137 hectares. There are many mountain streams and mineral springs in the territory of the reserve. You can find a very beautiful medieval bridge in the territory of the Shikahogh Reserve.
Not far from Kapan is the church of Yeritsavanq which belongs to the 5-11th centuries. The Monastery of Vahanavank is only 5 kilometres west of Kapan. It belongs to the 10th-11th centuries and is situated at the top of Tigranasar mountain. The surroundings of the monastery are very picturesque.
In Kapan, you can visit the Memorial of Baghburj dedicated to the victims of Sumgait and Baku, the victims of the Armenian Genocide and the WW2. There is the fraternal cemetery of Kapan Armenians killed in the Artsakh Liberation War. Marvellous nature, rocky mountains, fresh air, historical monuments, castles and other places of interest, these are the things you can find in Kapan.
Goris is considered to be the most visited destination of the tourists because one of the wonders of Armenia is here. The one and only Tatev Monastery complex is situated here. It is not a secret that Tatev is a fascinating place that attracts everyone.Read More