Ride in a Soviet-era jeep and find ancient petroglyphs

Ride in a Soviet-era jeep and find ancient petroglyphs image

Transportation to the petroglyphs is provided in the form of this Soviet-era jeep. (Photo by Karen Nersisyan, My Armenia Program)

Discover Ughtasar, a field of petroglyphs from the 5th millennium BCE, surrounding a remote lake in the highlands just north of Sisian. Under the guidance of the Basen Hotel’s owner and manager Hasmik Azoyan and skillful drivers, you will take a memorable jeep tour into the mountains to discover these ancient petroglyphs.

The Basen Hotel in Sisian serves as the starting point for this tour, as well as a city tour of Sisian and a hiking tour from Ltsen to Tatev. The hotel’s name comes from Basen, a region of Eastern Anatolia (formerly Western Armenia), near present-day Erzurum. Hasmik’s ancestors came to Sisian in 1915 and kept the memory of their homeland in the name of the hotel.

The jeep and hiking tour to Ughtasar is one of Basen’s most popular tours. After riding about 20 kilometers in a Soviet-era jeep with local drivers, you will embark on a guided hike to Ughtasar Lake, which is surrounded by thousands of massive black boulders left behind by a once-active volcano. Thousands of stunning carved petroglyphs adorn the rocks, which date as early as 7000 BCE. These carvings are visible only during the summer months because snow covers the site nearly nine months of the year.

Learn about the land as Hasmik shares her knowledge of herbs, flowers, and animals. Hasmik will explain how the landscape and the prehistoric people who lived there interacted and ultimately left their mark. Through craft workshops at Sisian Ceramics or Gevorgyan Ceramics, you may also learn how ancient designs—such as those on the petroglyphs—have inspired Armenian artists. If you choose, lunch can be included in your round-trip to the petroglyphs.

Hasmik offers a variety of tour packages originating in Sisian that explore the surrounding cultural and natural landmarks. Whichever tour you choose, the Basen Hotel’s 31 newly renovated guestrooms can serve as a hospitable home base for your travels.

The stunning landscape outside of Sisian.

Photo by Karen Nersisyan, My Armenia Program

Guide stands next to the Soviet-era jeep.

Photo by Karen Nersisyan, My Armenia Program

Visitors hike up Mount Ughtasar, or "Camel Mountain".

Photo by Karen Nersisyan, My Armenia Program

Visitors enjoy a guided hike across the mountaintop where there are over 2000 decorated rock fragments.

Photo by Karen Nersisyan, My Armenia Program

Petroglyphs with animal themes on a boulder.

Photo by Karen Nersisyan, My Armenia Program

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