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Discover 'ziling' offroad experience at TUC

Discover 'ziling' offroad experience at TUC image

The ZiL heads off on the off-road trail. (Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program)

Tourism Unique Center or TUC is a community-based tourism initiative, specializing in the nature, adventure, and culture of the northern region of Lori. Its philosophy is to provide visitors with a chance to meet local people and to experience local cultural exchange benefiting both the community and travelers. The basecamp is in the village of Dsegh, best known for its diverse and picturesque landscapes as well as being the birthplace of the great Armenian poet Hovhannes Toumanian. Dsegh has fascinated generations of visitors with its colorful vistas, mighty canyons, and majestic mountains.

For adventurers, TUC offers a one-of-a-kind experience called “zilling” because it uses a ZiL—a truck once commonly found in the Soviet Union, especially in rural areas. The roofless bed of the truck formerly carried the harvest, but now it may carry those seeking a thrilling excursion on something other than comfortable planes, trains, and fancy cars. A ZiL ride is perfect for those looking for a fun day with a completely different way of getting around.

After meeting your local guides, you will head out from the basecamp on top of your ZiL to the popular Dsegh Tsover lake (tsover means seas in Armenian). As your Zil maneuvers along the rugged terrain, you may soak in the breathtaking countryside from the top, as well as witness the marvelous view painted by Martiros Saryan, which later appeared on the Armenian 5000 drams banknote. This exhilarating adventure is a perfect excuse to tap into your youthful side once again.

Dsegh Tsover is one of the region's gems, sandwiched between the canyon and pristine forests, and thus a popular location for picnics, far from the crowds. For more of the local spirit, you and your traveling companions may enjoy playing some traditional outdoor games on the fields surrounding the lake or back at the TUC basecamp. For those who know Armenian, another option is to play some table games invented by Hovhannes Toumanian that are well-suited for both children and adults. At the end of the day, feel free to stay at TUC’s basecamp, where you may unwind, enjoy some time around a bonfire, and bring your most memorable day to a perfect close amid spectacular natural surroundings.

Meet your host

Armenia is an open-air museum, and Lori is one of its most remarkable halls. TUC (Tourism Unique Center) has a mission to connect all of Lori’s rich resources—cultural monuments, lush nature and, most importantly, people—in order to boost the development of Lori as a complete tourism destination. TUC offers comprehensive tour services where visitors may find art, culture, entertainment, adventures, local flavors, and more. Led by Arpine Hakobyan, TUC’s staff presents these fantastic opportunities with genuine passion, knowledge, and generosity. TUC engages community development through tourism, based on the principles of cooperation, respect, and direct communication. As Arpine explains, “We involve the community; we buy food from locals; we get all the goods from the village. This is our fundamental principle.” This is TUC’s responsible philosophy of presenting locals, nature, and history.

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

Photo by Areg Vardanyan, My Armenia Program

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