Explore Armenian villages by bike

Explore Armenian villages by bike image

Two visitors hold up their bikes triumphantly after exploring new routes in Shirak. (Photo courtesy of Mamikon Varderesyan, My Armenia Program)

Gyumri—Armenia’s second largest city and capital of the Shirak region in the north—maintains a proud sense of identity, with a colorful history of collapse and revival. Many visitors explore with great pleasure the roads and paths in and around Gyumri, through diverse landscapes, charming villages, and historical monuments, steeped in both culture and adventure.

Born in Gyumri, Mamikon Varderesyan is a young artisan and experienced biker who has developed two biking paths that allow visitors the opportunity to learn more about the people and places of the distinctive Shirak region. Both routes begin and end in Gyumri’s Independence Square, named for Lenin with his statue in the center during Soviet times.

The first bike path, 50 kilometers long, takes visitors to Marmashen Monastery, one of the most prominent medieval churches; ancient settlements with enticing artifacts; moribund Soviet structures; Nadya’s Lake with a tragic story behind its name; the Tirashen archeological site, which dates to the 3rd millennium BCE; and an inscription of the Urartian King Argishti I (730-714 BCE).

The second bike path, 66 kilometers long, takes visitors to Lernut village where 150 people live on Shirak’s mountain slopes; the historic Jajur railway station at the trail’s highest point (2000 meters); the Soviet bunker that connects several underground tunnels that served as bomb shelters; the natural egg-shaped monument, known as Tsak Kar, considered sacred since pagan times; and Hatsik village, where visitors can take a painting master-class in the workshop of emerging artist Gohar Petrosyan.

A bike path near the Tirashen archaeological site.

Photo courtesy of Mamikon Varderesyan, My Armenia Program

One visitor crawls through Tsak Kar, a natural stone monument.

Photo courtesy of Mamikon Varderesyan, My Armenia Program

A church in Mayisyan village.

Photo courtesy of Mamikon Varderesyan, My Armenia Program

Marmashen Monastery, a medieval church in Shirak.

Photo courtesy of Mamikon Varderesyan, My Armenia Program

A field of wildflowers outside of Gyumri.

Photo courtesy of Mamikon Varderesyan, My Armenia Program

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