Vayots Dzor : Reconnecting with Nature

With the goal of getting closer to Nature than ever before, we’ve headed down to Vayots Dzor, the Southern part of the country.

Even though this is the least populated province of them all, the fauna and flora here are amongst the richest in the country. The land is fertile, blessed with the appropriate conditions for mouth watering produce. Once you bite into a fruit coming from the Vayots Dzor land you’ll understand what I am talking about.

The region here is famous for its winemaking and fine grapes, but Vayots Dzor has many more things to offer.

Some of these clearly jump to your eyes right away, such as the marvellous sights you pass by while driving, some you have to uncover yourself by searching and observing, and some you just wait patiently to come to you in the form of a fleeting moment as an authentic form of bonding with Nature.

You cannot put a label on the Vayots Dzor landscape, or categorize it. You name it, the province has it all: valleys, high mountains, plains, plateaus and everything in between…

An ecotourism destination

During the recent years international organisations have been taking notice of the unique attributes of this province becoming aware of its full potential. Along with the habitants who are determined to show to the world the beauty of their region, ecological projects and activities are being launched here.

A good example of this is the small village of Artavan, which has become an ecotourism destination. Stepping into this picturesque place is like getting into a safe haven, where all is natural, authentic and promising. 3 of the 50 families here, have already decided to turn their home into a B&B, welcoming guests to discover their beloved village with all the warmth and hospitality that Armenians are famous for. Here, they naturally grow their produce and you can also spot beehives in some backyards.

Everything smells, looks and tastes authentic here. Biting into a naturally grown fruit while looking at the mountains on the other end, you realise what we all know but often forget, the simple things are what really matter in this world!

Being so strongly connected with Nature doesn’t mean by any means being cut off from technology and progress. In fact, solar panels are installed on the roofs here, and as one of the villagers proudly confirmed, ever since this change happened, their households became energy self-sufficient, even producing a surplus of electric current.

However staying at these houses is not your only option here. If you’re intending on maximising your bonding experience with mother Nature, you can opt for eco camping. The location is strategically chosen to provide you with a view that will make it difficult to part from once it’s time for you to go back. Here everything is planned to a T to make you feel relaxed and stress free.

You can gather around a cosy bonfire at night and watch the stars. However, be sure that you will be kept super busy once the day starts. You can go horse riding, jeeping or hiking towards lake Hayeli (Mirror lake). On your way, make sure to spot the market of the Arloopa application, stop when you see them and take your phone out to scan. This will take your hiking experience to a whole new level, and immerse you into a Virtual Reality guided tour of the surroundings.

Once you get to the ‘’hayeli’’, you will be left in awe, trust me! You look at it and you see the map of the world, the way the green vegetations have grown on the water, a true wonder of Nature!

A haven for wildlife

As mentioned earlier, Vayots Dzor is also known for all the animals that call this region their home. A big number of these are known to be on the brink of extinction, however, here they are well preserved and protected. Bezoar goats, wild boars, eagles, vultures, and leopards all live peacefully here. One of the villagers was telling us that he has gotten accustomed to the visit of a bear in the month of May. This furry visitor comes to his garden and gets some apples and turns back and goes away every afternoon. When you hear him talk you understand how this has become an ordinary part of his day: if you don’t hurt him or make him feel threatened he won’t feel the need to hurt you in return. Man and Animal live in perfect harmony with each other here.

For a wildlife observation session you can head to the village of Shatin.This place is an animal lovers dream, with cabins to observe bears and telescopes to get a close glimpse at a pack of bezoar goats on the other side of the mountain trying to get some food before the sun sets off.

A center to guide you

You can easily get overwhelmed with all the exciting things to do here! That’s why I would recommend you to head to Arpa Protected Landscape info center before you kick off your day. A beautiful wooden house Located in Yeghegnadzor the capital of this province. There you will find all the help and assistance you need to plan your day. You can even stay at one of the two cozy and brand new caravans parked next to the wooden construction. All in all, this place doesn’t feel like an info center, but more like a scene of a movie…

As you return from Vayots Dzor, you will understand that Man is naturally a part of Nature. We tend to forge this fact as we get on with our busy lives in the cities. We try to disconnect from Nature, emancipate from it or even try to dominate it, forgetting that after all we belong to it. Thank you Vayots Dzor for reminding us of this!

Author: Grace Jerejan 

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