First after   Sevan   Pass   is   Dilijan, was a major  summer  resort in Soviet times, blessed with a cool, moist climate, even in summer, and pleasant evergreen forests protected, in principle, by a large nature reserve that wraps around the town and extends along the SW bank of the Getik river. There   are  hotels, pensionats, and bed & breakfasts  of  various   descriptions,

   Continuing   E   on    the   Ijevan  road another 0.8 km, an unmarked paved road ascends steeply left under the railroad tracks near the village of Teghut and into a lovely wooded stream valley with picnic areas, khachkars, culminating in Haghartsin Monastery, one of Armenia’s most evocative.  After passing the decaying remains    of   an   ill-advised  cable car,

most notably the “Lernayin Hayastan” resort on the ridge S of town, formerly a spa for Soviet nomenklatura families, now controlled by the Defense Ministry but often available for tourists or seminars. There is an ethnographic museum and a row of early 20th c. houses now serving as a museum. Dilijan is rich in prehistoric tombs, including the Golovino Early Iron Age site 3 km on the Sevan road, and Redkin Lager Iron Age site 3 km along the Ijevan road on the Aghstev river. From the main Dilijan roundabout 3.2 km W of Dilijan on the Vanadzor (upper left) road, the N fork of a small roundabout leads under the orange railroad bridge about 2.7 km to the ornate iron gates of the Dilijan mineral water factory (less salty than Jermuk, this recently revived table water was in early 1999 trying to recapture a share of the Yerevan bottled water market). A dirt road (impassible to cars due to landslides) leads up to the right to (10 minutes on foot) Jukhtak Vank, nestled in an attractive forest grove with picnic tables. The near church, St. Grigor, was built probably in the 11th or 12th c. The dome disappeared long ago, and the foundation and walls have been brutally reinforced with concrete against the collapsing soft stone below. On the wooded slope somewhere opposite is Matosavank monastery. The small church, dedicated to S. Astvatsatsin of Pghndzahank and dated 1247, was built under Avag Zakarian, son of Ivane, after he had pledged submission to the Mongols and become Georgian/Armenian military leader for Mangu Khan, grandson of the great Genghis. Continuing W on the potholed but adequate former traffic artery paralleling the Aghstev river and railroad line, one soon enters Lori Marz bound for Vanadzor and Gyumri. Taking the road E from Dilijan, one reaches in 6.7 km the turn-off right (sign-posted in Armenian) for Parz Lich (“Clear Lake”). Cross the bridge over the Aghstev, bearing W, then take the left fork, which winds through about 8 km of forest to end at a modest green lake, banks slightly muddy (beware ringworm) but excellent for a picnic and forest hikes in a quiet, non-typical setting.


note funerary shrines with khachkars. Reaching the Haghartsin monastic complex proper, first building on the left is the large vaulted dining room of 1248, one of only two such in Armenia (the other at Haghpat), beyond which is a ruined service building with working oven. The gavit (end of 12th c.) was built at the behest of Ivane Zakarian against the small domed 10th c. church of S. Grigor. The small S. Stepanos church of 1244 is behind.  S. Astvatatsin church on the right, built or rebuilt in 1281, has high on the outside of the E wall a donation relief sculture showing the Zakarian brothers. Though the churches are locked, a local caretaker has the keys. Five km N of Teghut were found and taken to the museum two Aramaic inscriptions of Artashes I (189-160 BC).