“If there were forests, mountains and mineral waters in the Paradise, the Paradise would look like Dilijan”
Have you ever heard of the “Armenian Switzerland”? If your answer is yes, then you probably know what to expect, if no, then get ready for something really exciting. With its natural evergreen forests, mountains and meadows, Dilijan is one of the best resort cities of Armenia and has truly earned its reputation of “Armenian Switzerland”. It is rich with natural wildlife, forests, mineral waters and has always been a loved by artists, scientist, nature-lovers and mountaineers and hikers are the newest addition to this list.
What does Dilijan mean? There are many legends connected to the name Dilijan. Locals translate it as “sweetly speaking”. For the first time this name is mentioned by famous French traveler Jean Chardin in the 17th century.
Geographically Dilijan is located about 90 km northeast of Yerevan, in the Tavush province of Armenia, and only about 30 km away from the sky-clean waters of Sevan Lake. Today, Dilijan has a population of about 17 000 people and each one of them will be glad to see you around and to give you a smile as locals are very friendly and hospitable (just like everybody else in Armenia).
For some historical insight we should note, that people have been living in this area since the second millennium BC. It has been one of the favorite summer resorts, forest and hunting places of royal family members. With many cultural, educational, religious centers established in this area, it was gaining more popularity in Middle ages. Later, in the 19th century Dilijan started to gain fame of a resort center with many balneological, climatic resorts, sanatoriums as well as became a center of culture, trade and cuisine.
If you are wondering where to go and what to see in Dilijan and around it, keep reading.
- Visit the unique 19th century Dilijan-style architecture visit to Sharambeyan Street. It has preserved the face of “Dilijan old town”, where everything comes together to a harmony of picture with the nature around it. Wooden carved balconies will deliver the spirit of the historical city. When there, don’t forget to visit craftsmen’s workshops, were artisans are hand making their crafts, a gallery and a museum. Also visit Dilijan museum of traditional art (this is the oldest building in Dilijan) and many art studios.
- While in the city, don’t miss The Rotondo – a 19th century domed construction, which served as a summer resort complex and The Amphitheater.
- Explore Aghjkaberd (Mainden's Fortress) and Mantash fortress, situated 25 km away from Dilijan, and learn the beautiful legend of these two.
- To get to know the Caucasus and its people better, pay a visit to “Mimino” sculpture from the famous Soviet movie, which stands as a symbol of friendship between Armenia, Georgia and Russia.
- Did you know that Dilijan is located within Dilijan national park? Forests here occupy a territory of 34000 ha; taking into account the territory of the forests in Armenia this number is impressing for a town. By the way, some of the trees found there are protected by UNESCO. So if you are looking for hiking trials, then you know what to do.
- Have a picnic at the Parz Lake or Gosh (Tzrka) Lake near Dilijan.
- Take trips to Haghartsin, Goshavank, Jukhtak vank, Matosavank, Aghavnavank monasteries to dive into the culture, history and spiritual heritage of this area.