Welcome to Paravakar Village
Not long ago, I had an unforgettable escape to Paravakar village where my ancestors grew up. This very cozy and small village in Tavush Province of Armenia has its special place in my heart. As a child, I used to spend summer holidays at my grandparents’ house surrounded with love and care. On the one hand, that is the main reason I have such unforgettable memories and a strong connection to this place. On the other hand, whenever I look for total peace and solitude when tired of the noise and crowds of the capital, I know Paravakar is one of the best escapes only three hours drive from Yerevan…
The road to the village is magnificent. What I enjoy the most is the landscape covered with forests, which is mesmerizing with its beautiful and wide expanses.
Photo by Sonia Bagdasarian
Here are my recommendations on what is worth experiences when in Paravakar… Wake up to the morning birds chirping and breath in the freshest air to get energy and life. Before going to bed, make sure to watch the night sky full of stars with the sound of cicadas on the background. In summertime, there are so many species of birds and butterflies of different colours. You might even see an owl flying around.
Being a historical area surrounded with ancient sites, Paravakar village has a number of options for hiking. I can name just few right away:
Nor Varagavanq Monastery
The monastery is situated in the neighboring village of Varagavan. Locals call that monastery Akhumi Vanq, because the village used to be named Akhum in the Soviet times. Built in the XII-XIII centuries and hidden in the woods this architectural ensemble is a must-see to feel the incredible medieval spirit.
The ruins of Shkhmuradi Monastery (XII-XIII cc.) are located 7 kilometers south-east of Tsaghkavan village. Built deep in the forest it used to be a cultural center and a place of pilgrimage in the past.
Located near Aygehovit village, Srveghy Monastery is another beautiful site worth visiting. Made of red bricks it dates back to the XII-XIII centuries. You will need to trek up on the hill for 1.5 kilometers. The monastery can be seen from the road as well.
Make sure you witness village life as well. Stock raising and agriculture are the main source of income for local families. One of the most popular is mulberry harvesting. Every family in the area has one or more mulberry trees in the garden. The beginning of summer is the funniest period of time when mulberries are shaken off the trees. Vodka and a very popular syrup (doshab) are made of these little white berries. Mulberry vodka is what this region is famous for.
In autumn, mostly in September it is the greatest pleasure to taste the golden grapes and take part in the annual grape harvesting process. Almost everyone in the village is involved in this process. Early in the morning a group of farmers and all those who want to help head to the vineyards. Tons of fine grapes are put together in a truck later to be sold to legendary Ararat brandy factory.
Through these little things and daily routine one gets to know the local people better. These hospitable people are ready to show their daily routine, share a piece of bread and laugh with the visitors. I can’t stop admiring their ability to preserve that positive outlook of life despite the difficulties and harshness of village life, especially life on the border…
If you are keen to enrich your travel with local practices and customs, take the road to Paravakar village. Let us know of your travel experiences by leaving a comment for us.