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How to spend an unforgettable winter in Dilijan: Top 5 things to do

Dilijan, often dubbed as “the little Switzerland of Armenia”, captures with its pristine beauty. Located in the north, picturesque Tavush region, this small yet incredibly charming town has indeed a lot to satisfy the most demanding taste in all four seasons of the year.  However, it has a special magic in winter. The snow-clad mountains blended with the old town buildings and domes of medieval churches create a fairy-tale ambience, while cozy cafes, high-class restaurants and hotels in Dilijan offer a variety of options for unforgettable leisure.

As part of Armenia, one of the oldest countries in the world, Dilijan and its neighborhood boast rich historical and cultural heritage that is publicly accessible in winter as well. And that’s not all. Besides being a famous resort for locals and visitors, Dilijan is becoming one of the country’s financial and educational hubs.

Already enticed to visit Dilijan? Here are a few suggestions that you can consider if you travel to Armenia over December-February.

 

   1.    Get the feel of the town strolling along the Old Dilijan Complex

A quick glimpse back to the history of the town. In early 19th century, Dilijan was a thriving cultural and commercial hub, with unique cuisine and traditions. Besides, it had a vibrant multicultural scene, as its fascinating landscapes attracted well-off vacationers from Tbilisi, Baku and other cities of the region.  It was in 2004 that thanks to Tufenkian Dilijan’s historical district - Sharambeyan Street - was restored and the old architecture was re-created.

Old Dilijan Complex is home to Yesayan Museum, a typical 19th century Dilijan house, which re-creates the spirit of the early 20th century - from the household textiles to handmade musical instruments. While idly walking and exploring the old town buildings, you can take a souvenir home from specialized workshops and studios which sell jewelry, clothing, carpets, ceramics and woodcarvings, arts and crafts.

 

  2.    Explore the financial and educational centers in Dilijan

Dilijan has traditionally been considered a summer and winter resort for local and foreign vacationers. However, over the past decade the town has become a significant financial and educational hub, attracting students not only from across Armenia but abroad. It’s home to the Central Bank of Armenia’s Training and Research Center, as well as UWC Dilijan College and TUMO Center for Creative Technologies.

If you feel like visiting UWC Dilijan College, making part of an international network of colleges,  and TUMO– a one-of-a-kind creativity and technology center for the youth - you need to book a tour beforehand.

 

   3.    Immerse in rich history and culture

Once you’re in Dilijan, head for a church-seeing tour in the town’s vicinity. Here you will find several gems of medieval Armenian architecture - Haghartsin (10th -13th centuries) and Goshavank (12th -13th centuries) monastery complexes.

Being prominent educational and religious centers in the past, both monastery complexes attract visitors with their authentic spiritual ambience and unique architecture, especially those of medieval khachkars (Armenian cross-stones) inside. By the way, the symbolism and craftsmanship of khachkars are inscribed on the Representative List of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

   

 

   4.    Savor authentic Armenian cuisine

If you feel like fueling yourself with delicious food after a long stroll in the town, Old Dilijan’s Haykanoush Restaurant is just the right place for you to visit. Here you’ll have a lot of national dishes on your plate – starting from khorovats (barbecue), kyabab, kyufta, tolma, spas (a yoghurt soup), harissa, up to local desserts gata, Armenian-style baklava etc. And, on top of it, you’ll have the widest possible variety of lahmajuns – the chef of the restaurant offers as many as 11 varieties of this mouth-watering oriental dish!

However, the top-class cuisine is not the only thing to admire in the restaurant. The whole atmosphere is created to take you back to the 19th century Dilijan. The warm and hospitable ambience is also ensured with wooden beams and chandeliers hung on the ceiling and famous hand-woven Tufenkian carpets covering the wooden floors. Indeed, Haykanoush Restaurant will appeal not only to your taste, but also visual senses.

 

 

   5.    Admire pristine nature and get an adrenaline rush at Dilijan National Park

Whether you’re a solo traveler or visit Armenia with a family or friends, you’ll find the Dilijan National Park with the Lake Parz (translated as “Clear Lake”) an enticing site. On a chill winter afternoon, just grab a cup of warm Armenian thyme tea and drive a few kilometers away from the Old Dilijan Complex. Here you’ll find yourself in a winter fairy tale. Just meditate on the lush forests, snow-capped peaks of mountains and, of course, the mystic sky with your favorite music on (or, just listening to the healing silence of the nature). However, if you choose to go for some winter fun, you can take a horseback riding tour, or soar on a zipline operating over the Lake Parz. Sounds fascinating, isn’t it?

 

  As you can see Dilijan in winter is no less charming than in other seasons. Developed hospitality infrastructure, abundance of historical and cultural sights as well as magnificent nature will make you want to stay here overnight to prolong the enjoyment.

 

Text by Amatuni Copywriting

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