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κοντά στην περιοχή Odzun, Lorri (አርሜኒያ)
This route, located in the Lori province, starts at the Odzun Church in Odzun village. From there, it continues by foot to the medieval Horomayr Monastery, which is 1,000m above sea level. Then, the Kobayr Monastery, which consists of several medieval churches. This complex was one of the significant educational and cultural centers of Armenia. The visitors passing this route enjoy not only the monastery’s beauty and significance, but also the ravishing nature of this area of Lori.
While passing the route, a few more chapels and water sources can be seen as well, some of which are mentioned in the route. The way back is through Kobayr. The path is easily discernable and in the distance, settlements, villages, foggy forests, canyons, gorges, and waterfalls can be seen. This is the richest province of Armenia for travel tours, with many routes undergoing preparation to be open to visitors.
Odzun Saint Astvatsatsin Church (“Holy Mother of God Church”) is a domed basilica church in Odzun village. The current building was constructed in the 5th century in the place of its predecessor, a one-nave basilica church built by Gregory the Illuminator and Tiridates III in the 4th century. The church was covered in logs, with tiles and slabs added to the three-nave basilica in the 5th century, and domed pillars, a cupola, and stone arches introduced in the 6th century. Many Armenian records exist in the inner and exterior walls of the church. The church has had the names of Saint Astvatsatsin, Surb Nshan (Holy Sign), Saint Hovhannes (Saint John), and Khachgund. Its last name, Khachgund, was in memory of a priest buried in the churchyard. In its old age, it has undergone many renovations. Near the church, there is a magnificent monument devoted to the introduction of Christianity in Armenia.
There are two symmetrical bell towers on the eastern facade of the church, which were constructed in the 19th century. They do not distort the church’s general beauty.
The churchyard is near the church with its big basalt tombstones and cross-stones (khachkars) from the 13th -20th centuries.
The church, being built from felsite, shows various shades in the sunlight. It is famous for its harmonious proportions and ornamentation. There are high reliefs on the frames of the windows and on the facade of the church. The angel portrayed on the right side of one of the windows is particularly interesting; in a complicated position, he seems to recline with his hands on the frame of the window.
There is a funeral monument from the 5th -6th century next to the monastery; it has double arches on its’ stairs and pillars covered with high reliefs.
Horomayr Monastery is a medieval architectural complex located 1 km from Odzun village. Its first known mention was in the 7th century. It consists of two groups of buildings, one situated on the Debed canyon’s slope, and the other on the plateau. On the slope is the main church, Surb Nshan (Holy Sign), a one-nave arched basalt church built by the Princes Zakare and Ivane Zakarians in 1187. The high relief of the child Jesus and St. Virgin is on the unique facade stone of the northern entrance of the church. The bell tower of the roof was built in 1290. Next to Surb Nshan is the second one-nave church of the monastery, which includes a small 13th century chapel. The chantry (1301), with its square layout and apsis, is on the northern side of the complex, near the ruins of the St. Apostle (Surb Araqyal) chapel. At the cemetery of the monastery, you will see cross stones and headstones from the 13th century. On the plateau, there are two one-nave arched churches (1206), with a narthex situated between them.
Kobayr Monastery is a medieval Armenian monastery located near Kobayr village. The monastery was built upland, on the edge of the gorge of the Debed river. It was one of the medieval period’s famous spiritual, cultural and educational centers of Northern Armenia.
The monastery was founded in 1711 by the daughter of Kyurike II, from the Kyurikyan branch of the Bagratid dynasty. The expansion of the Kobayr Monastery started in the end of the 12th century and continued into the early 13th century, when the monastery was passed onto the Zakarid dynasty. During that period, the main church, the chapel-sacristy, the open hall, refectory, bell tower-cemetery, chapels and defensive constructions were built. All of them are in a dilapidated condition today.
The monastery was connected to the activity of the famous writer (matenagir) David Qobayretsy (12th century). The church was turned into a Chalcedonian church in the beginning of the 13th century. According to the references of Vardan Areveltsi and Mekhitar of Ayrivank (Armenian: Mxitar Ayrivaneci) there was a convent in Kobayr. The iconography of Kobayr’s murals is related to the Byzantine ornamentation system, but shows a dominant influence from local traditions.
Armenia, despite its relatively small territory, is famous for its variety of flora, which is the result of complex, favorable geographical conditions. More than 100 species can be found in 1 square km - one of the highest concentrations in the world.
The Lori-Pambak area has an altitude between 490-3,196m and is distinguished by its variety of landscapes. The lowest point of Lori is the lower stream of the Debed river, and the highest point is the Achkasar peak of the Javakheti mountain range. The forests of Lori are rich with many species of trees (approximately 60 species of trees, and 90+ species of bushes). The main type of tree is the oriental beech, which is rather demanding on moisture and soil. Oriental oak, Georgian oak, Georgian maple, Caucasian Tilia, hornbeam, etc. grow along there too.
The Lori province also has incredibly diverse fauna. Rodents are particularly common here, of which the field mouse/common vole, five-toed jerboa, and hamster are widespread. There are also martens, ground squirrels, grey wolves, and foxes. Birds like ducks, grey partridges, redbreasts, sparrows, quails, wood larks, swallows, magpies, eagles and falcons can be found here. There are few reptiles. Because of ranching development, many wolves penetrate residential areas, threatening cattle. The fauna of the province have become rather poor as a result of human activity. There are species of animals that have disappeared or are on the verge of extinction.
Safety and Security
Mobile connection is almost always available while traversing the route between Odzun, Horomayr, and Kobayr. The path is completely visible. 911 services operate throughout Armenia in case of any accidents. Take bottled water with you!
Best period: April - September
Distance: 163km from Yerevan
Duration: 2 hours 43 minutes
Hiking trail length: 9.7 km
Walk duration: 4 hours (Please consider this walking duration and not GPS trail data)
Altitude above Sea Level: 803-1,119 m
The availability of visible path – 100 %
How to Reach the Route
To get to the starting point of this route, you may take a taxi from Yerevan to Odzun village. It is advisable to use a taxi with a working meter (make sure the driver uses it) or agree on a price beforehand.