Cell service (via VivaCell-Mts and Beeline) is usually available near the Urts and Tap fortresses. The 911 emergency services operate throughout Armenia in case of any accidents. Be sure to bring bottled water!
This run is located in the Ararat region, 60 km from Yerevan. Weather permitting, the view of magnificent Mount Ararat is visible from any point on the route, making this run especially beautiful. Two interesting medieval fortresses stand side by side on the Khosrov River. There is also the monastery of Khor Virap, which is adjacent to the run and is equally worth visiting.
Features: Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Need to Know
In order to reach the start of this run, the most convenient option is to take a taxi from Yerevan to Urtsadzor village, which will cost 6,500-7,000 AMD. It is advisable to take a taxi with a working meter (be sure the driver uses it), or agree on a price beforehand.
Another way to get to the run is to take a bus from Yerevan’s Sasuntsi David Bus Station to Vedi town (500 AMD); from there, you'll then need to take a taxi to the starting point of the run (3,000-3,500 AMD). All-in-all the cost will be about 3,500-4,000 AMD. The best time of year to visit is April to November.
The run starts on a steady uphill on a dirt road, heading north then northwest to reach the Tap Fortress. The Urts and Tap Fortresses are located on the right bank of the Khosrov River, about 6 km northwest of Urtsadzor village.
The Tap—or Gevorg Marzpetuni—Fortress, was built in the first quarter of the 10th century. It has a classic quadrangular shape, but is of great architectural and fortress-building value. There are dwellings and vaulted constructions (built between the 10th-13th centuries) adjacent to the southern and eastern walls of the fortress.
Inside the fortress, there is a 13th century church - resembling a vaulted hall, built of white felsite. The name, Tap, is mentioned in the epigraph that was carved on the northern wall of the church in 1,256. There are several fragments of khachkars (cross stones) in the territory of the fortress. The monastery-chapel of Tap is recorded in history as a script center, since 1,496, where Barsegh, a writer, scripted the Psalm-book. The Tap fortress and the church were reconstructed between 2,008-2,009.
Once you are done exploring the area, continue along the trail which descends gradually to the east, crossing one dirt road before ending at another. Head south (right) on this second road to reach the trail that climbs up the hillside to a rocky promontory. Here, you'll leave the road and start climbing, gradually at first but then more steeply until you come to the top of the rocky promontory. Enjoy the scenery before heading back down.
The route then follows a wide dirt road to bring you back to your starting point.
Flora & Fauna
Flora: Most of the mountainous part of the region is occupied by the Gegham mountain range as well as by the Urts and Yeranos mountains. Here, there is a small island-shaped forest, founded in the 4th century by the Armenian king Khosrov Kotak. This part of the forest has been turned into the Khosrov State Reserve. The Ararat Valley seems like a different world, covered with alpine flowers and meadows, pure mountain springs, the Khosrov forest and delicious fruit orchards. Green valleys and lifeless rocks give this natural and manmade area a simultaneously strict and gentle, wild and greedy, generous pagan beauty.
Fauna: The province of Ararat is rich in fauna, due to the Khosrov Reserve which is located in the area. Species such as roe deer, Caucasian bears, wild boars, hares, badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, jackals, field mice, lynx, martens, dormice, and squirrels are typical to this area. There’s also a great variety of birds, reptiles, and insects in the forests.