Things to See in Lori Province

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Things to See in Lori Province

Searching for uplifting emotions, inspiration, and adrenaline? Lori province in Armenia is waiting for you! 

Rafting in Armenia

The Armenian highland full of towering mountains and stunning nature is home to every traveler seeking adventures and extreme. And if you are looking for ways to make your vacation cheerful and unique, try rafting in Armenia - a sport that includes sailing on the river on rafts, which are inflatable boats carrying from 4 to 20 people. 

Rafting is one of the most fascinating and cheering ways to travel on water. The activity, however, can be a bit risky as all extreme sports. That’s why beginners are encouraged to try it in calm waters, with professional supervision and equipment. If you follow all the safety rules, rafting will become your favorite thing to do with family and friends in Armenia. 

The perfect destination for a rafting experience is Lori. The province is home to the river Debed - the safest river to raft for non-professionals. You will have a 12 km ride through the mountainous areas of Lori, with so many stunning landscapes and cheering energy that you will most probably return for another raft with your friends just a few days later. 

Monasteries to See in Lori

Mainly populated by Armenians, Lori Province had been part of Georgia for many years. Despite this fact, Lori was one of the few areas under Tatar-Mongolian rule where the religious architecture was not destroyed. That is why the local monasteries are well preserved and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Haghpat and Sanahin are the most famous monastery complexes, which were built in the 10th century and recognized as the spiritual, cultural, and educational centers of the region.

Haghpat consists of several churches and adjacent buildings, with St Nshan as the principal church of the complex. The church is recognized for its ancient Armenian medieval architecture and popular khachkars (cross-stones).

Sanahin also consists of several churches and buildings, which represent the cultural heritage of Armenia. St Astvatsatsin and St Amenaprkich are the principal monasteries of the complex and examples of medieval architecture in Armenia.

While in Lori, you should also visit the Akhtala Monastery Complex, built in the 10th century and located in the village of Akhtala. Protected by natural barriers, the complex stands on the edge of a high ravine. Akhtala is different from other monasteries in the region, combining elements of Armenian and Georgian architecture. 

The complex is not only of a religious but also military value. It has a fortress, numerous gates, and underground tunnels. At the complex, you can find the ruins of residential buildings, refectories for monks, and various types of khachkars (cross-stones). The church walls in the monastery complex are decorated with vivid and colorful frescoes preserved up to this day. 

The Picturesque Beauty of Lori Fortress

Around 4 km away from Stepanavan, you can find the ruins of the powerful medieval city-fortress of Lori, founded by Davit Anhoghin. The tragic history of the fortress is pretty similar to many other medieval cities of the Armenian highlands. 

Back in 1238, the Tatar-Mongolian tribes occupied and crashed the city, which was not, however, the only siege - the fortress was occupied several times after, causing the city to be abandoned by the locals. Later in the 18th century, the city lost its military value and became an ordinary fortress, with only a village of people living around it. 

Till now, the professionals carry regular excavations near the fortress, which makes it a popular destination for tourists interested in the historical and cultural heritage of Armenia. 

An Ecotourism Destination

One can love Armenia for various reasons. The country knows how to make people amazed and inspired by its beauty. Many famous people fell in love with Armenia over the years, calling it a destination full of unimaginable wonders. 

One of those people was the Polish engineer-forester Edmund Leonovicz, who came to Stepanavan in 1930 and stayed here. That is how Sotjut - an enchantingly beautiful botanical garden was founded 12 km away from Stepanavan. 

Stepanavan Dendropark is a 35 hectares forest, of which 17.5 are natural, and 15 are decorative trees and plants. The Dendropark collection of flora grows with various types of plants from all over the globe every day.

With as huge a collection of plants as in Dendropark, the botanical complex attracts thousands of scientists and ecotourists from different corners of the world. It is a truly mesmerizing place for botanical and zoological excursions, family vacations, and long walks. And the most exciting fact about the complex is that its entrance is free of charge, and you can even buy the unique plants you want to take with you home. 

Armenia is a country of nature, and once you visit it, it will be hard to leave. Armenia is a country of contrasts, with untamed mountains and picturesque meadows, sky-high waterfalls and loud rivers, crystal clean air and fertile soil, ancient monasteries, and high-rise modern buildings, which make this place anything but ordinary. Visit and see for yourself!