Hermonavank – Jewish Cemetery – Zoratsvank Church
Time: 8 hours. Distance: 15 km (12 km on road, 3 km hiking).
This hike follows the road 6 km toward the village of Yeghegis. Half way to Yeghegis, on the right side of the road, you can hike up to Hermonavank which has a commanding view of the Yeghegis valley. King Simbat established this Monastery as a seminary in the 13th century. Once you descend from Hermonavank, you can proceed (again along the main road) to the 13th century Jewish cemetery just outside the village of Yeghegis. You can have lunch by the river. Last but not least, you can hike up to Zoratsvank church, visiting two more churches on the way.LucyTour is happy to arrange a car for those on a tight schedule or who wish to bypass the road-walking portion of the trip. We are also happy to arrange a car pickup at the end of the hike for those who wish to avoid the 6km walk back to the hotel. We recommend wearing a good pair of hiking shoes or boots and long pants to protect from thorns and nettles.
A short, moderately challenging climb to the ruins of the13th century monastery, the Hermonavank trail-head is located 3 km from LucyTour, across the road from the Siranuysh Childrens Campground.The trail is clear and well built with switchbacks until it reaches the monastery itself, which is overgrown with brush.Plan a 30-40 minute climb to reach the monastery, which is 0.4 km and 160 vertical meters from the road.When you reach the church, note the variety of intact and fragmented khachkars.
Duration: 1,5 hour (from the trail-head)
Technical challenge: 1/5 some climbing over rock walls at the monastery.
Physical Challenge: 2/5.
* Warning: In summer months, be wary of stinging nettles present around and inside the monastery.
Starting Point: LucyTour, N 39*52.776, E 045*25.946; 1712 meters elevation
Ending Point: N 39* 52.513, E 45* 24.038; 1797 meters elevation
An extraordinary archaeological find only discovered in 1996 and renovated in 2009 as an archaeological site by the Bishop Abraham Mkrtchyan of Vayots Dzor Marz. The Jewish cemetery contains dozens of gravestones with Hebrew and Aramaic inscriptions testifying to the presence of a long-forgotten Jewish community in Yeghegis in the 13th and 14th century.
The cemetery is a preserved archaeological site located 200 meters from the road, 6 km from LucyTour and 3 km from Hermonavank. A trail leads from the cemetery along the banks of the Yeghegis river through the forest to several grassy clearings with fire pits and natural freshwater springs.* This is an excellent spot for a picnic lunch. The river also contains many still pools that are good for swimming.
Technical challenge: 0/5
Physical challenge: 0/5
Cemetery Location: N 39*52.135, E 45*21.747
*Locals often drink the water directly from the springs, but we highly recommend filtering, boiling or purifying it to make sure.
Zorats Church and Village
A unique church, the only open-air chapel in Armenia, the Zoratsvank church was built so that local armies could pray en masse before heading into battle. To reach the church you will pass through the village of Yeghegis and look for a sign pointing your way along the main road. The church is 600 meters from the turnoff, located at the Eastern end of the village.
Along the way, note the St. Karapet church, a small chapel regularly used by villagers today. St Karapet was built by the architect priest, Mommik who also built one of the churches in Noravank monastery as well as Tatev monastery and the Areni church and many other structures in this region.
Technical challenge: 0/5
Physical challenge: 1/5
Village Entrance: N 39*52,299, E 45*21.529
Church Location: N 39*52,310, E 45*21,924