Dilijan, which is located about 100 km from Yerevan, is also called “Armenian Switzerland” or “little Switzerland”. The city is considered a health resort and is located in the Tavush region, which differs from other regions of Armenia in its dense forests. It is considered one of the most visited places and the most important tourist centers in Armenia, adjacent to the specially protected natural territory of the Dilijan National Park.
The first written evidence about the city of Dilijan was found in the memoirs of the French traveler Jean Chardin during his stay in Transcaucasia in 1664-1670, after whom the city was called Dilijean.
Sharambeyan Street is one of the must-see places in the city of Dilijan, which is distinguished by its architecture. Jukhtak Monastery, Lake Parz, Haghartsin, Goshavank, Lake Gosh are also located near the city of Dilijan.
Dilijan is also demanded by tourists because it is a city with very beautiful walking routes. Mountain routes are located around the city of Dilijan, such as the trail to Mount Dimats, Sartsapat, from Lake Parz to Lake Gosh, etc.
Since 2013, Dilijan has also been considered the financial center of Armenia. One of the prominent international educational centers in the region is also located here – Dilijan International School and the Central Bank of Armenia
There are several stories about the origin of the name Dilijan. The most common superstition is that there once lived a shepherd named Dili. The latter fell in love with the daughter of a local prince.
The prince, having learned about this, orders to take him into the forest and kill him. And the shepherd’s mother, trying to find her only son, kept calling out while walking through the forest: “Dili jan… Dili jan.” Also, according to another etymology, “dili jan” means “hungry tongue.”
However, according to the work of Mesrop Smbatyanets in 1895, the name “Dilijan” comes from the name of the man Dilijan, who moved with his family to the area of the current city of Dilijan in the 16th century.
Previously, the territory of Dilijan was located in the Varazhnunik district of the Ayrarat district of Greater Hayk. It was considered the summer residence of the rulers and was more equipped for life during the reign of Bagrat.
Kirakos Gandzaketsi mentions in his diaries a settlement near the present city of Dilijan, which was called Bujur Dili or Pujur Dili.
The city was also mentioned in 1829, when Alexander Griboedov spent the night in Dilijan on his way to Yerevan.
In the 19th century, a public school and library were opened for the first time in Dilijan.
On the eve of the Battle of Gharakilisa in 1918, Dilijan was the main stronghold of the Armenian troops under the command of General Tovmas Nazarbekyan.
The first of the 10 best tourist places is the Haghartsin monastery complex. The monastery complex is located 18 km from Dilijan. Located among deciduous forests, at an inaccessible height. It consists of three churches, two vestibules, a refectory and houses of worship. The oldest church in the monastery is the Church of St. Gregory, a unique structure from the 10th century.
Add this place to your list because being in Dilijan and not visiting Haghartsin Monastery means you haven’t been to Dilijan!
Lake Parz is located in the Dilijan National Park, approximately 15 km northeast of the city of Dilijan, at an altitude of 1330 m. Several beautiful hiking trails begin from Lake Parz, the most famous and popular of which is the trail leading from Lake Parz to Lake Gosh . The trail completely passes through the forests of Dilijan National Park. The length of the hike is 10 km.
On the right side of the road leading to Lake Parz you can visit the only Caucasian Red Deer Breeding Center in the Republic of Armenia. The red deer, absent from the highlands of Armenia for many years, returned to Armenia in 2018. Every year, dozens of young deer are bred, cared for and released free here. As you drive by, don’t forget to stop by and meet these cutest creatures. The center’s employees hand out special food that you can feed to the deer directly from your hands!
Mount Dimats has become one of the most popular destinations in Armenia. You can drive from the center of Dilijan to Haghartsin village, where jeeping in the mountains begins. Along the way, you can see the seasonal waterfall Shagot (Eagle Wings), which height is 46 m, and a cave, at the bottom of which you can see snow all year round. You can end a wonderful day with tea at the very top of the mountain, enjoying the sunset of the Ijevan ridge.
The Goshavank monastery complex is located 15 km from Dilijan, in the Gosh village, at an altitude of 1200 m. Goshavank was once one of the main medieval universities with a book depository. Here they studied Armenian, Greek, Latin, some other foreign languages, as well as music.
The monastery is located on the right side of the Dilijan-Vanadzor road. To get to the monastery, you need to turn right from the main road. You will have to walk the rest of the way. The monastery is less than 3 km away.
The Dilijan Local Lore Museum and Art Gallery gives a comprehensive understanding of the history of the Dilijan region, the historical development of the local population, its way of life, monuments of material culture, and historical and geographical conditions.
The two-story art gallery displays a large number of works by Armenian and foreign artists. Of particular interest to visitors is the collection of paintings and sculptures in the style of socialist realism.
This is a monument to the heroes of the famous Soviet film “Mimino”, filmed by Georgy Danelia in 1977. And although the filming took place in other places (in Kakheti in Georgia, in Moscow and in Berlin), the monument stands in Armenia, in the homeland of the actors Mher Mktrchian, Rudik-jan, in Dilijan. Mktrchan himself was born in Gyumri.
By the way, this is not just a monument, but also a spring. Here you can taste the water, about which Rudik-jan once said in the film: “In Dilijan, when you open the tap, the water flows – it ranks second in the world!”
You have already noticed that in addition to the picturesque nature, old, cozy houses of the 19th century give Dilijan a special charm. Two-story houses with red tiled roofs, wooden verandas and balconies, which are skillfully decorated with fine carvings, organically fit into the local mountain-forested landscape and give the city its own unique flavor. Sharambeyan Street, named after the honored Artist – Hovhannes Sharambeyan, is exactly this colorful, harmonious and original.
In 2004, the Tufenkian Old Dilijan complex appeared in the historical area of Sharambeyan Street, the concept of which involves the reconstruction of ancient houses and the restoration of the historical appearance and traditions of the ancient area.
Currently, the Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex includes a museum, hotels, bakeries, cafes, craft shops and workshops. It has everything that in the tourist imagination can be called an old town – from the general consistency of the architectural style to such details as the charming signs above the workshops and souvenir shops.
On the road to Haghartsin, a mysterious path rises on the right side, which leads to an equally mysterious place. “Lost” is an ideal place for active entertainment and real forest therapy! It is no coincidence that this place is called a “lost place”; it is located deep in the forest, where there is not even a phone connection. The best place to disconnect from the world and escape from the bustle of the city, get out of your comfort zone and enjoy your special comfort in houses right on the trees!
There is an unusual pub with a cozy fireplace and delicious alcoholic drinks. You can ride ATVs, book a motorcycle tour, take a walk in the forest or just lie in a hammock.
Thank you for reading to the end!
The article was compiled based on observations and materials collected by the ArmLand club.