Welcome to Kapan
During the 18th century Kapan was a base for Davit Bek, an Armenian freedom fighter who took on Muslim invaders encroaching Armenia’s southern border. The village grew rapidly during the Soviet era when Russian geologists, seeing the potential for mineral extraction, arrived with blueprints for a massive mining complex. There is so much unrefined metal underground that compasses won’t work in some parts of town.
Mighty Mt Khustup (3210m) is visible high above the town. The approach to the peak is via the village of Verin Vachagan, about 3km southwest of Kapan. It’s approximately 7km to the base of the peak, where a small church has been built. You can get fine views from here; another three hours of hiking is required to reach the peak.
The main site in the immediate area is the remains of 9th-century Vahanavank, about 7km from Kapan just off the Kajaran road. The monastery was once the religious centre for Syunik’s kings. An attempt to restore the monastery in 1978 was later abandoned and what remains is a roofless structure of red limestone.