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Medieval Crossroads

Medieval Crossroads

4h
10.8 km
1173m
903m
Easy

Things to see

Hakobavank Monastery
Gandzasar Monastery
Meander through shady forest and lush pastures on this easy section of the Janapar Trail in Artsakh, which connects Hakobavank to Gandzasar Monastery. Both monasteries were important centers of religious authority during the Middle Ages.

From the center of Kolatak village, the trail starts north about 2km climbing steeply along the main road to Hakobavank Monastery, where there is a nice spring to fill your water bottle. Khachaghakaberd Fortress (try saying that 5 times) can be seen prominently across the valley from the arched arcade of the monastery.

Below the monastery, a blue and white blazed foot trail quickly descends east before turning abruptly left on a ridge and leveling out. You'll cross a small creek, bits of pasture and scrubby forest following braided cow paths before entering a shady old growth forest. You’ll pop out of the forest and enter a small hay field. Depending on the height of the grass, the trail may not be well defined across the field, FYI!

Head west across the field for about 200 meters to an opening in the forest on the opposite side. You'll cross another small creek, then quickly exit the forest to merge with a jeep road. The road winds about 1.5km through more fields and forest to a footbridge over a small stream. The road then veers to the right and climbs about 200 meters to a larger main road. Turn right onto the road and continue for about 1km looking for a pipe and blazes on the left. A footpath goes off steeply over a hill and orchard on the left. You'll be able to see the Khachen River and highway to Vank across the valley.

The trail contours the edge of the valley winding about 2km through orchards, pasture and forest until finally exiting to the right down a jeep road to a small bridge crossing of the river. The road pops out behind Hotel Eclectic, then meets the main street through Vank where you'll take a left toward Gandzasar. A nice village store and spring are located across from the hotel.

Just after the hotel and store, you'll keep right at the intersection to stay on the main road going up to the monastery that sits prominently above the town. Look for a footpath off to the right which will climb to the monastery along the ridge and avoid the extra road switchbacks. The 2.5km climb is steep but you'll be rewarded by majestic views of the Khachen Valley. There is a public spring, snack vendor and toilet located at the monastery.

How to get there

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Get a taste of Armenian hospitality

Eclectic Hotel