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Bike to soviet youth camps through mountains

Bike to soviet youth camps through mountains image

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

To fully discover Vanadzor, you’ll need to leave the city and venture into the natural surroundings that are truly part of its charm. Nestled amid Lori’s lush green nature, Vanadzor was famous for its health resorts and youth camps where Armenians spent their vacations and summer holidays. Today, you can enjoy the beauty of Lori on two wheels and discover distinctive sites with knowledgeable local guides.

Vanadzor was known as a “camp town,” hosting at least five youth camps in the Soviet era. With the team at Discover Vanadzor on Two Wheels, explore these former camps via mountain bikes. Along a 3 km (1.8 mile) route, traverse a mountain-slope trail and travel uphill through the charming, forested landscape that is distinctive to the Lori region. In the distance, you’ll spot a still-functioning youth camp called Tsitsernak and have ample opportunities to stop along the path to appreciate the splendid views of Vanadzor from above.

Just before the path’s terminus is a 12-acre botanical garden, which features a rich collection of flowers, bushes, and trees and is the perfect place to relax and soak in some nature. Finally, you will reach your destination—the famous Artek Pioneer Camp, modelled after a prestigious facility of the same name in Crimea, which catered to members of the Soviet elite. Imagine hundreds of youthful “pioneers” waking up to the sound of trumpets for another day of adventures. Sadly, Artek’s magnificent buildings are now in disrepair—their future yet unknown—but they still offer opportunities to explore and contemplate a relatively recent bygone era. Sip some coffee or tea while you learn from your guide about this fascinating part of Vanadzor’s history. On your return trip, don’t miss the panoramic viewpoint of Vanadzor that offers a perfect chance to reflect upon your memorable journey. In the end, you'll see why your guides believe bicycling is the best way to experience Vanadzor—both its absorbing history and its enchanting natural landscapes.

Meet your hosts

Meet Emma and Vaghinak, the youthful cycling enthusiasts who founded the Boo Mountain Bike Park Project in 2016. Attracted by Vanadzor’s combination of city life and adjacent mountainous landscapes, and encouraged by their experiences abroad, they left behind Yerevan’s cosmopolitanism to develop mountain biking trails in and out of town. Their love for their new home is clear: “clean air, low traffic, and marvelous nature were the main factors to create just the right level of comfort.” Emma and Vaghinak have become examples for local youth to stay and to help develop their hometown.

On this mountain bike route, you will travel uphill to a botanical garden and adventure camps. Այս լեռնահեծանվային արահետը, որ ձգվում է բլուրն ի վեր, ձեզ կտանի դեպի բուսաբանական այգի և մանկապատանեկան ճամբար։

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia ProgramԼուսանկարը` Արեգ Վարդանյանի, «Իմ Հայաստան» ծրագիր

Visitors stop along the mountain trail for a picture. Այցելուները կանգ են առնում լուսանկարվելու համար։

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia ProgramԼուսանկարը` Արեգ Վարդանյանի, «Իմ Հայաստան» ծրագիր

Your hosts Emma and Vaghinak Ձեր հյուրընկալներ Էմման և Վաղինակը

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia ProgramԼուսանկարը՝ Արեգ Վարդանյանի, «Իմ Հայաստան» ծրագիր

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