The floating plateaus, soaring mountain peaks and jarringly deep gorges of the Syunik Marz (region in Armenian) make up one of the most dramatic landscapes in the Caucasus. Occupying the entire southern tip of Armenia, Syunik, also known as Zangezur (after the mountain range that cuts through it), is a paradise of trails through unforgiving wilderness – from the mountain meadows in the north, to the forests of the south – offering alpinists amazing climbing routes, challenging hikes and breath-taking rappels off towering cliffs. Thundering through the gorges, the raging Vorotan River offers some of the toughest white water rafting in Europe, before entering the depths of the Devil’s Canyon, a cave system filled with hot water springs.
The region is also one of Armenia’s most significant historic epicenters, tracing its history to the dawn of civilization, when ancient settlers are thought to have first mapped the constellations of the zodiac at the monolithic 6,000-7,000 year-old observatory, Karahunj. The incredible natural beauty contained within this jagged topography is matched by some of the country's most impressive historical monuments; from stunningly perched monasteries to ominous castles and cities carved directly into vertical cliffs.
The longest cable car in the world, the Wings of Tatev, offers the chance to soar for 5,750m over gorges 320m below, in order to reach Tatev Monastery. Clinging atop the precipice of a sheer cliff above a spectacular canyon, the 9th century monastery was once a major center for education, housing over 1,000 monks and students.