Welcome to Around Sisian

The Shaki Waterfall lies about 4km from Sisian near the village of the same name. About 18m high, it sluices down a wide expanse of stones above the Shaki River. The water is used for Shaki’s hydroelectric power station, so the waterfall isn’t always ‘on’.

About 6km down the Vorotan River from Sisian in Aghitu (Aghudi) village is a distinctive 7th-century tower-tomb. There are dragon stones nearby from the 2nd to 3rd century BC. The road continues as the canyon deepens past Vaghatin to Vorotnavank, 12km from Sisian on the south side of the Vorotan. Vorotnavank is a striking 9th- to 11th-century fortress and church complex built by Queen Shahandukht and her son Sevada.

The petroglyphs of Ughtasar (Pilgrimage Mountain) in the mountains north of Sisian are even older than Zorats Karer. They lie at an altitude of 3300m around a lake on Mt Tsghuk, accessible between June and September – and even then only if it’s not a cold summer. Carvings of leaping, dancing animals and hunters adorn rocks and boulders everywhere around the small lake. It’s a haunting place surrounded by isolated peaks, and you can only wonder why ancient people would hike to such an inhospitable place to leave their mark on stone. The tracks are steep, rocky and hopeless without a jeep and a guide. Hotel Dina in Sisian should be able to help you do this.

The ruins of Tanahati Vank are 17km southwest of Sisian past the Tolors Reservoir. A university was established here in 1280. Called Karmir (Red) Vank by locals, Tanahat Monastery is on a high promontory by a gorge. The monks here were so pious and ascetic they refused soup, cheese and oil, eating only vegetables, hence the name Tanahat, meaning ‘deprived of soup’.

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