A Mystical Journey to Hin Khot, The Bewildering Armenian Machu Picchu
It’s not every day 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 understand that what we are seeing with our own eyes is actually there, standing before us with all its glory and mystery.
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 our arrival I heard a lot about this marvel. This gem 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 landscapes and incredible heritage and cultural values.
We commenced our journey on this incredibly picturesque route which continues to amaze you with every step. Located at 1500 meters above sea level, we were surrounded by imposing rocks and impenetrable crags that leave you speechless at the sight of their majestic, impressive stature.
After what seemed to be an hour-long hike through these otherworldly landscapes, we spotted the first Hin Khot crag dwellings. Here I can confirm to be completely transported to a parallel universe. The setting 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. Even though the population moved to a neighboring area almost 50 years ago, you can still feel the spirit and the tales of these souls just by looking at these homes.
After reconnecting with the past and letting history speak to us, it was time to get back on the hiking trail. But as I was walking back up, leaving these spectacular sights behind me, I knew that I would 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 truly 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.
-- Author: Grace Jerejian