Halidzor to Tatev
Halidzor to Tatev
Things to see
Journey through gorges, past rivers, and into valleys as you make your way to the Great Hermitage of Tatev, a once-renowned religious center now semi abandoned. Though this trail makes up Day 4 of the Legends Trail, it can also be hiked on its own. You can also combine this hike with the Tatev to Devil’s Bridge trail.
If you are hiking the entire Legend trail, you’ll want to take the same 4x4 track back to Old Halidzor (from Halidzor, where you stayed the previous night). From the Church of St. Minas, follow the trail through narrow streets as it descends towards the southwest part of the village and a rocky ridge. Follow a footpath along the eastern side of the ridge downhill, being mindful of loose soil and rough terrain, and reach the base of the ridge. Head west, cross a stream, and pass an abandoned old farmhouse before continuing east on a dirt path that will take you to the only footbridge that crosses the Vorotan River. From here, you can choose to explore trickier trails leading to Bardzravan or the ruins of Harants Hermitage, or continue along the Legends Trail.
From the other side of the footbridge, follow the 4x4 track along the riverbank, where you’ll notice the occasional cultivated field as well as shelters used by farmers and herders and numerous irrigation canals both active and unused. After you pass the ruins of a small stone building, the track becomes a narrow trail taking you across jagged terrain with cliffs towering above. As you make your way through a narrow riverbed, admire the deep chasm to the south above you, named Harsnadzor (“Bride’s Valley” in Armenian) for the tale of a woman who jumped from the cliffs in order to avoid capture during an invasion. Soon the gorge reaches its narrowest point, and the trail hugs the cliff face so tightly that a half-tunnel has been gouged out of the rock to allow safer passage. Keep your wits about you as you continue along steep, narrow passageways through seemingly impassable, awe-inspiring rock escarpments.
From there, the trail winds sharply up into the woods, bypassing the small nearby hydroelectric plant. Soon, you’ll see the Great Hermitage of Tatev at the base of the opposite hillside. Cross the makeshift metal footbridge at the junction of the Vorotan and the Aghandzu rivers and continue following the Vorotan upstream towards the complex. Alternatively, you can continue a bit further along the Vorotan until you reach Devil’s Bridge, a natural formation that bridges the rivers as it flows through a number of caves. Here you can go for a swim in the mineral springs or climb down into the caves and explore its pools.
From the hermitage, follow the trail signs up towards Tatev Monastery, passing various ruined structures and terraces as well as side trails leading to hidden orchards and gardens still maintained by the locals. The trail gives way to a paved road, which you’ll follow uphill for a few hundred meters before reaching the imposing Tatev Monastery complex. Here you can easily find a guesthouse for the night.
If you’re hiking the entirety of the Legends trail, we recommend taking a day to explore the monastery complex and rest after today’s hike. You can also hike or taxi to Devil’s Bridge, have a swim, and taxi to Halidzor, from which point you can return to Tatev by the Wings of Tatev cable car – which is the longest reversible aerial tramway built in only one section and holds the record for longest non-stop double track cable car in the world.
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This trail constitutes Day 4 of the 15-day Legends Trail starting in Goris and ending in Kapan but can also be hiked on its own. Although the Legends Trail doesn’t have a website, you can find further information and stay up to date with official announcements by following its Instagram and Facebook pages. If you’d like to purchase the physical guidebook in preparation for your journey, you can buy one at the HIKEArmenia office or order online. The Legends Trail was created as part of the EU-funded "EU4Tourism: Outdoor adventures on the historic trails in Syunik " project, implemented by People in Need in partnership with Armenian non-governmental organizations ARK Ecological and Trails for Change (TFC).