Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Cell phone service is available at all times during the run, and the 911 emergency service operates throughout Armenia in case of any accidents.
Be aware of rapid changes in weather, especially in spring, as lightning storms are common. Running on the mountain in stormy and rainy weather is not recommended. Be sure to bring bottled water!
In order to get to the start of this trail, the most convenient option is to take a taxi from Yerevan to Bjni village. This will cost around 5,000 AMD. It is recommended to take a taxi with a working meter (be sure the driver uses it), or agree on a price beforehand. Bjni village is located about 50 km (1 hour) away from Yerevan. The best time to visit the area is from April to November.
The route ascends the mountain slopes, amidst spruces and the smell of fresh grass and catmint, awarding runners with breathtaking views of the Geghama Mountain Range and Mt. Ararat, until coming to the ancient Mayravank Church.
Mayravank was founded by Hovnan Mayravanetsi (Mayragometsi) in the 7th century, and the St. Astvatsatsin Church of Mayravank was built in 12th century. The church is listed in restoration and protextion documents approved by the government, but now lies in disrepair, with many of its original stones and ornaments strewn around the church and its grounds.
Nearby is the town of Tsaghkadzor, a popular ski resort and tourist destination. After you are done exploring the area, the route returns via the same path. Runners can continue on to visit Bjni village, which is famous for its mineral waters and historical-cultural monuments.
Flora & Fauna
Flora: The Kotayk province, which ranges in altitudes between 900-3,600 meters above sea level, is flanked by the Geghama Mountain Range to the east and the Tsaghkunyats Mountain Range to the north. The flora of the province is varied and rich, with many flowers, bushes, and forests. Some of these flowers are used for their medicinal properties, and others are used by bees to produce delicious honey. The flora is especially spectacular in the summer months. Some flowers that grow here include cichorium, salvia, valeriana, nettle, plantago, white bryonia, and achillea.
Fauna: There are many species of animals in the Kotayk province, especially in the area of Tsaghkadzor and on the lower slopes. Mammals that can be encountered include grey bears, wolves, foxes, badgers, and a variety of mice and rabbits. In the hot summer months, many types of reptiles can be seen, including vipera, many species of whip snakes, golden mabuya, and Schneider's skink.
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