Vayots Dzor region is home to one of the most famous caves in Armenia, Birds’ Cave (more commonly known as Areni 1 Cave). The cave is located 12 km from Yeghegnadzor, on the left bank of Areni River.

Unlike Magil Cave, Birds’ Cave is easier to explore. The cave is a complex of small caves connected to each other. It consists of 3 halls and has an area of ​​about 500 m². Most of the bird cave is still unexplored.

In September 2008, as a result of the excavations carried out in the Birds’ Cave, the oldest leather shoe in the world, more than 5500 years old, was discovered. The head of the archaeological team Ron Pinhasy who discovered it, an archaeologist from the University of Cork in Ireland, believes that the grass found in the shoe was stuffed to keep the sole in its shape.

Later, during the excavations, evidence of winemaking from the Eneolithic era was found here. As a result of the research, they found dried grapes, dishes, clothes, women’s skulls, etc.

Bird’s Cave is considered the first wine factory in the world.

As with Magil Cave, the main threat to Birds’ Cave is human activity. Visitors have caused a lot of damage by painting on the walls inside the cave and breaking or taking away parts of the stone work.

The article was compiled based on observations and materials collected by the ArmLand club.

Author of photos: Artyom Martirosyan