The Kotayk region is a place of great natural beauty, especially the Azat River gorge and the Garni gorge, which features the Symphony of Stones made of natural basalt columns. The region is rich in forested mountains and mineral springs, such as the Hankavan, Arzni, and Arzakan resorts. The mountain resort town Tsakhkadzor is particularly famous for its alpine ski slopes, ropeway, hotels, and guesthouses, where you may relax year-round. Hiking enthusiasts may wish to visit Mount Hatis, especially in early summer when it is covered with mountain flowers.
Local dishes include salads and pan fries made from edible plants collected from the mountains, tanapur with khnotsi butter and wheat, emmer wheat pilaf, homemade arishta, lentils, bean and pea soups, pokhindz and milk porridge, tolma, kyufta, barbecue, khashlama and bozbash. Thyme, mint, rosehip, and hawthorn teas are popular in the region. Common folk sweets include gata, halva with honey and pokhindz, sujukh, and various dried fruits.
The well-known Temple of Garni, dating to the first century CE, is the region’s only extant monument from the pagan period, which ended ca. 300 CE. The Geghard and Kecharis monasteries are among the most popular historical and architectural monuments from the medieval period. The Kotayk region also features Nor Geghi, renowned in the history of human development as an early Stone Age settlement from 350,000 years ago.