Vayots Dzor image

Home of the Areni-1 Cave Complex, the site of the oldest known evidence of winemaking, Vayots Dzor marz is known for its wineries and vineyards. (Photo by Hrant Sahakyan, My Armenia Program)

Vayots Dzor is one of Armenia’s southernmost regions. Situated for millennia at the crossroads of many cultures, this region contains remnants of ancient, medieval and modern societies across its cultural and natural landscape.

Steep gorges, flowing rivers and pockets of lush flora, all characteristic of a dry steppe environment, fostered years of agricultural cultivation in the region and the growth of specific grape varietals for wine production. In recent years, researchers have unearthed new discoveries about Vayots Dzor’s ancient past. In 2007, archaeologists began unearthing evidence, beginning from at least 6,000 years ago, that the Areni-1 Cave Complex was home to one of the earliest wine production centers in the world. Some of Armenia’s best-known wines and winemakers carry on this tradition in the region today.

Vayots Dzor is also host to a remarkable array of animals. Bezoar goats, Caucasian bears, wild boars, eagles, vultures, and even the elusive Caucasian leopard call the hills of Vayots Dzor home. In nature preserves like the Gnishik Community-Managed Protected Area, Vayots Dzor’s local communities and international organizations like the World Wildlife Fund work together to maintain Armenia’s biodiversity by monitoring hundreds of plant and animal species.

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