Skiing trail description
The South Summit of Mount Aragats is in the Aragatsotn province of Armenia. It is the lowest summit (3,887. 8m) of Aragats. We recommend taking the trail in spring (March, April, May) as the difficulties of reaching the South Summit of Aragats are less during this time of the year. You should get to the Physics Institute (the ‘Aragats’ Scientific Station) on the slopes of Aragats by car, and then start walking uphill using the marked trail. The snow is partially melted at this time of the year, so you can see Stone Lake (Kari Lich), one of the crystal-clear mountain lakes of Armenia.
Mount Aragats is considered the highest peak in Armenia (4,090m). It is an isolated shield-like massif of about 200km in circumference. Together with its fan-shaped slopes, it covers 4,000 sq. m, and is situated in both the Aragatsotn and Shirak provinces. Aragats used to be one of the world’s largest volcanos. It has a gigantic 400m-deep crater, 3km in diameter, and 4 peaks. The highest point is the North Summit - 4,090m; the West Summit is second with 3,995.3m and is followed by the East - 3,908.2m and South Summits- 3,887.8m.
Hovhannavank Monastery is located in Ohanavan village, in the Aragatsotn province of Armenia. It is beautifully perched on a gorge, high above the right bank of the Kasagh River. The monastery overlooks Mount Ara and the Geghama Mountains in the southeast. Over different periods of time, the monastery used to maintain vast plowlands, gardens, pastures, mills, and villages. It also used to be a significant center for Armenian writing, with a rich library; some of the manuscripts created there are still preserved to this day.
Saghmosavank is located in Saghmosavan village, of Aragatsotn province, Armenia, at the edge of the deep Kasagh River gorge, and is ‘backed’ by gigantic Mount Ara from behind. On the other sides, the monastery overlooks Mount Aragats (4,095m) and Mount Ararat (5,165m). The monastery was built in the 13th century by Prince Vache I Vachutyan and his noble family. The complex is comprised of the Church of Zion, the Church of Holy Mother of God, a book depository and a narthex. The Church of Zion is the main church of the complex. It is a cross-shaped and domed church and differs from other churches built in that epoch by the layout of the narthex. The eastern part of the church features an altar and niches inside the walls. The Saghmosavank manuscript repository was built in 1255. It neighbors the ancient khachkars (cross-stones) on the western facade of the church.
The Armenian Alphabet Monument after M. Mashtots is located on the eastern slope of Mount Aragats, near Artashavan village, in Aragatsotn province, on the left side of the Yerevan-Aparan highway. The Armenian alphabet was created between 405-406, by Mesrop Mashtots, a prominent linguist, religious and political leader, and has been used for Armenian writing ever since. The monument was built in 2005 to commemorate the 1600th anniversary of the creation of the Armenian alphabet. It features 39 beautifully ornamented letters of the alphabet and statues of key Armenian figures. Each letter is 1.5m-2m high.
According to tradition, anyone who visits this monument takes a photo with the first letter of their name. By the Monument, you can see the statues of the great minds of Armenia – Mesrop Mashtots (with the letters in his hands), Grigor Lusavorich (holding the cross beyond), Anania Shirakatsi (a symbol of the earth and the universe in his left hand), Mkhitar Gosh (with “Datastanagirk”, the Book of Reprisal, in his hands), Khachatur Abovyan and Hovhannes Tumanyan.
On the slopes of Mt. Aragats, animals rest under the thick layers of snow. While descending down the route, you are likely to see traces of animals more often than yours. While skiing in this territory, you’ll most probably come across evidence of wolves, foxes, wild rabbits and dogs in rural areas. Birds are also rare in this territory.
Safety and Security
The Ucom and VivaCell-MTS networks are almost always available up to the South Summit of Mount Aragats. In case of emergency, call 911, a service available throughout Armenia.
Technical Specifications of the Ski Trail
Best period: March-May
Distance: 84km from Stone Lake (Kari Lich),
Skiing trail length: 8.3km.
Ski run: 2 hours.
Altitude from sea level: 3,250-3,888m
The best drink to have on hand is warm tea.
How to Reach the Ski Trail
To reach the above-mentioned trail, you need to get to Stone Lake (Kari Lich) or the Physics Institute in Aragatsotn province. Taxi services are quite affordable throughout Armenia. We recommend taking a cab with a taximeter.