Lori region fascinates everyone with its nature and abundance of historical and cultural places. And when you combine those two, you get a wonderful route in Debed Gorge. The route starts from Kobair village and ends in Odzun. The total length of the route is 11 km. The trail you will be walking on has been recently improved and signs along the entire trail will point you in the right direction. The trek is of medium difficulty and if you walk at an average pace, the entire route can be completed in 4-5 hours.



The route starts from Kobair village. A small path from the main road will take you up. After climbing about 40-50m, the Kobair monastery opens in front of you. It’s instantly mesmerizing everyone. The history of the monastery is connected with two ruling dynasties: the Bagratunis and the Zakaryans. The monastery was built in 1171 by the princes of the Kyurikyan branch of the Bagratunis.

The monastery consists of three churches, a bell tower-tomb, a refectory, chapels, and the remains of the wall. The name Kobair is composed of the Georgian “kob” and Armenian “ayr” roots and means a cave. The numerous caves surrounding Kobair confirm such an explanation of the name. The monastery complex of Kobair is especially famous for its frescoes.

The view from the height is stunning: below is Debed, in front of you are the dense forests of Lori with all their charm. After learning about the history of Kobair and admiring the magnificence of the half-ruined monastery, you can move on.



Horomayr is waiting for you ahead. The first mentions of Horomayr come from the 7th century. It consists of two groups of buildings, located on the left slope of Debed river and on the plateau. The monastery consists of many structures, including the churches built by the Zakaryan brothers. There is not much historical information about Horomayr, but the walls speak for the people.

It is only 1 km from Horomayr to the end point Odzun. The trail will take you to Odzun village. Before reaching the monastery, you will see the ruins of the village church called Tsaghkevank. A little more and you will be near the monastery. The monastery can be seen from almost every point of the village.

If you are lucky and meet the local priest Ter Vrtanes, he will tell you all the traditions and stories related to the monastery with great love. According to tradition, here in the first century the apostle Thomas consecrated bishops and priests. The name of the church came from the word to anoint. The same tradition says that the apostle Thomas brought with him the diaper of Christ, which is located under the mother altar of the Holy Virgin.

In the 4th century on the site of an ancient monastery Grigor Lusavorich built a church, which is a domed basilica structure. Later, Hovhannes Odznetsi rebuilt it and turned it into a three-nave basilica church.

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

Author of photos: Artyom Martirosyan