Hidden Colors of Meghradzor
Hidden Colors of Meghradzor
Meghradzor is a small, picturesque village located in Armenia’s Kotayk region about an hour north of Yerevan. It’s easy to find. You’ll pass the scenic towns of Tsaghkadzor and Hrazdan and carry on until you reach the “I Love Meghradzor” sign. And we think you will! The village abounds with beautiful nature spots, and recently, rainbows of street art. If your curiosity isn’t piqued yet, listen to this: in Armenian, Meghradzor translates to “valley of honey.” Are you ready? Let’s dive into its hidden colors…
Hiking and Trekking
Hiking is one of the best ways to explore Meghradzor's natural beauty. Flanked by the Marmarik river, the town sits close to the Tsaghkunyats and Pambak Mountain ranges. Popular nearby peaks include Tezh Mountain (3101 m) and Artavaz (2929 m). On a sunny day, you can get a stunning view of Mt. Aragats, Mt. Ararat, Lake Sevan and the Hankavan Reservoir from the summit of Artavaz!
If you’re not ready to climb a peak, there are plenty of forests and marked trails in the surrounding area – including the Meghradzor Trail and the Khachats Trail – that are suitable for beginners and experienced hikers alike.
As you climb upward alongside the Meghradzor river, you’ll notice several waterfalls and one impressive cascade that drops over 20 meters into a picturesque pool below (in hot weather, you can definitely wade in and cool off.) The area around the waterfall is also home to picnic areas, making it an ideal destination for a day trip. If you’re lucky enough to visit these spots in the spring, you’ll be surrounded by multicolored wildflowers!
The Meghradzor area is also popular for winter sports enthusiasts. The village is close to the Tsaghkadzor Ski Resort, which offers a range of skiing and snowboarding opportunities for visitors of all skill levels. The resort features equipment rentals, several ski lifts, and over 10 kilometers of ski runs, making it an ideal destination for a winter vacation. For more experienced skiers with their own equipment, Artavaz also boasts a popular trail.
After a winter adventure, we recommend traveling to nearby Hankavan for an indulgent mineral bath. The natural hot springs are channeled into private pools with roofs open to the sky. You can rent them by the hour and soak away any stress or soreness. As an added bonus, along the way to Hankavan, you’ll pass the beautiful Marmarik reservoir.
Some call Meghradzor the street art center of Armenia, but it wasn’t always that way. In recent years, mostly due to the efforts of the cultural NGO Patmi (which means “tell a story” in Armenian), the village has attracted both local and international artists who have transformed the walls of buildings into colorful, thought-provoking murals.
The street art in Meghradzor showcases a diverse range of styles and themes, from political and social commentary to abstract and surreal imagery. Many of the pieces draw inspiration from Armenian culture and history, featuring famous figures or traditional symbols. We suggest the “Price of Gold,” “Nazan Tatik,” ““The Cyclops,” “Heroic Mother,” “Valley of Honey,” and “The Girl Who Haunts the Milky Spring.” Murals are popping up all the time, so there are probably some we don’t even know about! Wander through Meghradzor’s streets and see what you find.
Christian and Cultural Heritage
Armenia is rich with ancient monasteries. While there are only two in Meghradzor proper, you can find many more in the surrounding region. The newer St. Astvatsatsin church is located in the center of the village. You’ll also find “khachkars,” traditional outdoor steles of crosses carved from stone. The 12th century Tezharuyk Monastery, located just a ten minute walk to the hills above Meghradzor, is a gem in the forest with views of the river below. Meghradzor was formerly known as Tezharuyk.
Modern Meghradzor was founded in 1830 by immigrants from Aratsap, a Western Armenian town now located in Turkey. Story has it, the first sixty or so residents were attracted to the region because they thought that cotton trees grew there. They didn’t, but the people stayed. During the Soviet era, Meghradzor became a center for agriculture and industry.
On the road to the Meghradzor trail mentioned above, you’ll pass several abandoned Soviet-era factories as a testament to this. There is even a 19th century disused gold mine north of the village. Due to its abundant trees and greenery, the region around Meghradzor is now known for health and recreation. You may notice many camps, sanitoriums and resorts which abound with guests in the summer months.
Make sure to also stop by the Museum of Wood Art, a hidden gem housed in Meghradzor’s Ethno Gastro House. It features hand-crafted artisan products from local wood, including wine holders, candle stands and furniture. While you’re there, you can grab a bite to eat. Try khorovats (barbeque), tolma (stuffed grape leaves), lavash (traditional Armenian bread) and tnakan gini (homemade wine).
Finally, if you visit when the weather is warm, seek out some of Meghradzor’s local beekeepers and their hives. You’ll probably find them camped out in fields of wildflowers. Don’t forget to purchase a jar of honey to take home with you. After all, that’s where Meghradzor gets its name!
Published on June 29, 2023