Khot to Halidzor
Khot to Halidzor
Things to see
Pass through not one, but three old abandoned villages on Day 3 of the Legends trail, and imagine what life was like perched atop the cliffs of Armenia’s Syunik Province. This trail can also be hiked on its own.
From Khot, head south then south-east onto a dirt track, which you’ll see after you pass the memorial. After passing the remnants of some Soviet-era farm buildings scattered along the clifftop, you’ll notice a zig-zagging road descending into the gorge below that locals often use by foot or on horseback. From here, the marked trail follows footpaths that take you past the remaining old buildings of Vorotan Canyon’s old villages and into Old Khot. Abandoned sometime in the 1970s, the village comprises staggered stone buildings that sometimes overlap each other on the steep hillside, forming the roofs and terraces of other dwellings. Here there is no clean drinking water, so make sure you either bring a bottle or purify water from the nearby Khot River.
From Old Khot, head west past the river and continue towards historic Old Shinuhayr village, weaving through some impressive rock formations and passing under a waterfall along the way. Here you’ll see the Kusants Hermitage, which was built in the 1670s and became a key place in the spiritual and cultural life of Syunik, providing virgin women a safe haven to practice their faith. From Old Shinuhayr, you can either hike up to the modern village of Shinuhayr or continue to the next destination, Old Halidzor. Watch out for overgrowth in the summer and flooding in the spring along this route – it can get tricky to navigate!
As you leave Old Shinuhayr, follow a rocky road down and alongside the gorge. About half-way down, you’ll notice that the 4x4 track descends downward to the bottom of the gorge, but you should take the trail that goes uphill before the first bend so that you stick to the route. You’ll pass a flat area at the hilltop where you can admire some old khachkars. From here, head towards the lower, eastern part of Old Halidzor where the trail joins another 4x4 track. Walk uphill for a short while on this track toward the upper part of the village. From this junction, you can either continue on the Legends Trail through the Old Halidzor ruins or take another 4x4 track to Halidzor, where you can spend the night at one of several hotels.
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This trail constitutes Day 3 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).