Yew Grove to Gandzakar Church Trail
ElevationAscent: 3,563' 1,086 m
Descent: -4,384' -1,336 m
High: 7,011' 2,137 m
Low: 2,882' 878 m
GradeAvg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 107% (47°)
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“This running trail begins in the village of Aghavnavank, Tavush province and ends at the church of Gandzakar village.”— State Tourism Committee Republic of Armenia
On the first day, you'll start by running along the narrow streets of the village, up to Yew Grove in the Dilijan National Park. Picturesque forest pathways will lead you to Aghavnavank Church, which is surrounded by a rare species of trees.
Aghavnavank is a dilapidated Armenian monastery complex originally built in the 12-13th centuries. The church is set in a forest clearing and is surrounded by the few virgin groves of yew trees that grow there. The church is a small central domed structure with chapels, built with yellow, pockmarked stone. The dome, with its peaked hood, stands on arches which bridge the pilasters. The dome and the church roof were covered with hewn flagstones, a few of which have been preserved. The cornice shaped stones have fallen with time, and the church is no longer in use. One of the trees near the church is considered a "dream tree" where you can make a wish by tying handkerchiefs on the branches of the tree.
From the church, the ascent begins at Aghavnavank, and continues up to 2,150 m. After this long climb, you might meet people living in tents on the mountains during the summer. The camping spot where you can pitch your tent is marked on the trail; you can also find water here. During the run as well as in the evening, you'll be treated to views of the verdant lush Tavush province and the high and rocky mountain range of Ljevan. You can sit and watch birds soaring in the sky, and spend the night watching the stars.
On day two, you'll continue your run down to the newly built church of Gandzakar village, which is the end of the trail. The remainder of the run is a steady and easy downhill.
Fauna: The fauna of Tavush is varied and visitors may spot deer, Caucasian bear, wild boar, rabbit, badger, fox, hedgehog, jackal, voles, lynx, marten, myoxus glis, or even a squirrel. There are also various birds and reptiles.
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