Marking & Mapping Trails to Promote Adventure Tourism in ArmeniaJul 30, 2019
In the Syunik region of southern Armenia, you can find the same trail markers that we have here in the Czech Republic. That’s because we are bringing our local knowledge there. Along the 200 km long trail we are also encouraging local people to provide their services to tourists.
The Tatev Monastery and the longest cable car line in the world (5752 m), recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, are the most famous spots in the Syunik region. However, most of the tourists end their journey here and do not discover the rest of the beauty that the region has to offer. There are also beautiful mountains, the Vahanavank Monastery from the 10-11th century, the Khndzoresk Swinging Bridge and the magic caves where people lived nearly 100 years ago.
“The Syunik region is one of the poorest regions with not a developed local economy, but it is quite a touristic area….This is why we selected this region to build a bit more and to support the communities to develop more services for tourists,” says Varduhi Dadunts, Country Director of People in Need Armenia. It is called Legends trail, because of many legends connected to places included in the trail.
One famous legend in the region is about the Devil’s Bridge near the Tatev Monastery. It is a natural bridge on the River Vorotan. Some say that it earned its name because of the large numbers of drownings that occurred nearby. Others believe that it is called this because less water flows under the bridge than flows out the other side and this strange effect is attributed to the devil. We will publish a booklet about some of these famous legends.
People in Need, together with partners and volunteers, mark about 200 km of trails. Experts from the Czech Republic taught volunteers how and where to paint the markers. They are widely used in the Czech Republic by the Czech Tourist Club.
The main trail starts near the Khndzoresk Swinging Bridge and ends by Khustup Mountain in Kapan. It connects these two areas. People from the villages along the hiking trail can use the increased visibility as an opportunity for tourism. “Locals will provide possible services for tourists and earn bit more money. Thanks to the European Union, we are able to finance the best projects submitted by people living along the trail,” says Varduhi Dadunts. Thousands of people will benefit from this project.
One of them is Irina Darbinyan, who built an eco-camp in the village of Karahunj in Goris. It is called Malbery Garden because it is the shade of malbery trees. Irina will provide accommodation and activities for tourists, such as malbery picking or making malbery spirits.
In Kapan we will support the first land art in Armenia. The Magic Forest Initiative aims to create an open-air museum in Tandzaver village named the “Magical Forest”. It was inspired by the Oma forest in Spain. The open air museum will be composed of different environmental art pieces. This is a novelty in Armenia.
Other grantees will build guesthouses and small restaurants, create traditional crafts and serve food and beverages. They will also act as guides and rent out equipment for hiking, camping, fishing, bicycle and rock climbing, zip lining, horseback riding and more.
We will promote the Legends Trail to attract more tourists. For example, the Czech travel Youtuber Krystof Paleta visited Syunik. He plans to publish his videos about the trail on the Cestology channel.
In addition to increasing economic and employment opportunities, the project also aims to empower civil society in Syunik and take an active role in poverty reduction, planning and sustainable development at the local level.
The project EU4Tourism: Outdoor Adventures on the Historic Trails in Syunik is funded by the European Union.
Are you planning to visit the Syunik region?
The trail will officially open in August 2019. We will share the map and other necessary information here. Currently, you can visit Legends Trail Facebook page and send your questions.