A Mystical Journey to Hin Khot, the Bewildering Armenian Machu Picchu

Nestled in the crags and mountainous landscapes of Syunik province, is the abandoned village of Hin Khot, a mind-blowing historical place that will take your breath away ...

​It’s most definitely not everyday that we get to live a mystical experience that looks more like a dream or a movie scene than actual reality. And when we do, we have to pinch ourselves a couple of times to truly understand that what we are seeing with our own eyes is actually there, standing before us with all its mystery, glory and unique beauty. 

Let me rewind a bit and explain myself more. 

On a sunny July morning members of the People in Need team and I, headed towards Hin Khot located in the southernmost region of Armenia. Right before getting there I heard about this place which is often described as the Armenian Machu Picchu and known to be one of the oldest villages in Armenia with a history that dates back to the 2nd century B.C.                                                                                                                

For our journey, we had followed the hiking route mapped and marked by People in Need and their partners as part of the Legends Trail project. The latter is a whopping 150 km path that stretches from Khustup to Khndzoresk connecting communities in Syunik known for their mesmerizing and singular landscapes and incredible Heritage and cultural values. 

So we have commenced our journey on this incredibly picturesque route which leaves you more and more in awe with every further step you take. Located at 1500 meters above sea level, we found ourselves surrounded by imposing rocks and impenetrable crags that leave you speechless at the sight of their majestic and impressive stature.                                                                                                                             

After what seemed to be an hour-long hike within these otherworldly landscapes, we spotted the first Hin Khot crag dwellings and here I can confirm to be completely transported to a parallel universe. What you see on sight is a completely abandoned village that has seen its last inhabitants leave in the 70’s after an earthquake hit the region. What's truly impressive about this place is the mysterious atmosphere and ambiance in which it basks and embarks you in. Even though the population has moved to a neighboring area almost 50 years ago, you can somehow still feel the spirit and the tales of these families and souls just by looking at these homes. Crag dwellings still standing with their windows and doors looking back at you as you observe them, and walls that would whisper stories and secrets to you if you lend them a respectful listening ear. 

After staying some time there, reconnecting with the past, getting inspired and letting nature and history speak to us, it was time to get back on the hiking trail to abandon this abandoned village. But as I was walking back up, leaving these spectacular sights behind me, I knew and made a pact that I will be coming back to breathe in once again the air of this magical place and step in on the soil that hosted hundreds of generations before me. 

It is hard to really describe Hin Khot, because it looks like nothing else, and is unique in every sense of the word. What I can passionately confirm is that this place is a must-see and I am confident that it will become a life-changing experience for you as it was for me.

-- Author: Grace Jerejian