Stage 1 – The trail starts from the village of Chiva to Vardanes Lake complex, which is a natural monument in Vayots Dzor, Republic of Armenia. The natural monument is located 6.78 km away from the village of Chiva, near the ruins of the former Vardanes village, at an altitude of 1750 m above sea level. It is registered in the list of state natural monuments of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia. It was included in the list of state natural monuments on August 14, 2008. A streamlet flows through the gorge, which feeds the natural lake of Vardanes. The lake area is approximately 9,000 square meters. The lake is natural, but then the walls have been partially rebuilt in terms of raising the water level. The landscape is rich in large mammals such as lynx, bear, bezoar goat, Indian porcupine etc. and bird species, such as partridges, Caspian snowcocks, eagles, vultures, etc.
Stage 2 – It is from Vardanes Lake that you can see the ruins of the Nrbuyn (literally «delicate») fortress, which seems to merge with the rocks. The Nrbuyn fortress was built in the 7th-8th centuries. The Vasakians of Syunik restored it. Ivane Atabek carried and settled one of the Baghats princes in Vayots Dzor and inherited it as a homeland. Prince Mahevan, who descended from Prince Baghats, however, remained childless and shared his property with his nephew Amira.
Stage 3 – 1 km away from the lake there is a medieval Khachkar, dated from 1306. It is peculiar as it is carved on a piece of rock.
Stage 4 – 0.7 km away from Khachkar there is a millstone with a depth of about 5 m. The water that came in of the rock and then came out strongly reached the mill, the traces of which are now missing.
Stage 5 – There are 2 huge stone cups located 0.4 km away from the millstone, which a person is unable to take. According to the legend, giants have lived there who used those big stone cups, which have 300-500 liters’ capacity. Here the trail ends.
Go deep into mountains, history and legends.
Price: 35,000 AMD/ per car
Duration: 2 – 3 hours
Starting point: Areni or Chiva