Aragats on Horseback
Season: April - November
Aragats is Armenia's tallest Mountain (altitude 4090 meters), and experiences all seven of Armenia's Spring seasons. From March into August its verdant meadows are covered with emerald green and a carpet of red, yellow and blue wild flowers appear in layers about every 2 weeks at the next elevation. In May the butterfly season begins, and continues on into August as the upper altitudes grow warmer.
The Horseback Safari begins from the Horse Riding Club at Ashtarak, where expert guides provide training in riding English saddle, and carefully match riders with horses before setting out on mountain explorations. The staff at the Horse Club include members of the Armenian Mountain Sports Union, an NGO that dedicates a portion of its income to Eco projects in Armenia (cleaning and maintaining wilderness areas and education programs to promote ecological awareness), and they tailor make safari's for groups of beginners, intermediate or advanced riders. In the unlikely event of an emergency, a back up vehicle and staff follows the group at a lower elevation, and can reach it in no less than three hours from the most distant location. A modern addition to this ancient mode of travel is radio communication between the safari guide and home base. Safari's either return to the Horse Club after a day's riding, or include overnight camping in wilderness areas.
Depending on the season and the group's experience, horseback safari's include an overnight camping trip to Tsaghkavank which has a volcanic cave with a 9th c. church and Mt. Arayi (altitude 2566 meters), or "Ara the Beautiful", which one legend has it is the face of Ara after he spurned the affections of the wrathful Semiramis and was imbedded into the top of the mountain; and a five day horseback trip that follows the Amberd River canyon by Byurakan, the 4th c. Arshakid Mausoleum at Dzorap and the 13th c. Tegher Monastery before climbing to the 9th-14th cc fortress of Amberd.
From Amberd the trail continues up to Kari Lich (altitude 3200 meters), one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Armenia, which mountaineers consider more splendid and pristine then Lake Sevan. It is easy to spot the outline of Ararat in the deep violet rim of dusk, and stargazing always provides a fireworks display of shooting stars. Constellations are easy to spot, many of which--though known by their Greek names-- were in fact inscribed in rock in Armenia 3000 years before, among the first celestial deities in the ancient world. On foot the group continues to the top of Aragats (altitude 4090 meters), then makes its way back by horse to Amberd and the Horse Club base.
This Itinerary can be guided by the EcoTourism Association, contact Zhanna at 32/22 Shinararneri st., 375038 Yerevan, Armenia. Phone: (3741) (3741) 27 87 28 / 39 75 52 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their services include guide/translator, transportation to/from Yerevan to base, backup vehicle and staff, all camping equipment and meals.
Lodging: Lodging is available at one of the numerous Penssionates on Aragats Mountain. The Horse Club at Ashtarak provides lodging in comfortable rooms with shared bath.
(currently down, but try in case)
Protected Areas of Armenia
of Sevan National Park
of Endangered Species in Armenia
- September 2000
- July 1998
Field Trip on Armenia's Wetlands (1998)
Birds of Armenia (Luba and Levon)
Institute [+ (3741) 28-15-02 ]
EcoTour (site down, but try in case)
Eco Tour Groups in Armenia
write TourArmenia -