You can pretty often hear that there is nothing exciting in many places in Armenia especially in Dilijan and the only activity available is to get slept well and return. Perhaps, that was the reason I chose the city of Dilijan.
The Northern bus station, the cost of the minibus is 1000 drams, the distance from Yerevan is 99 km, the time of the ride is 1 hour 30 min. The minibus departed when all the chairs found their passengers. But on the way to Sevan a man stopped the bus. The driver said, “Are you OK with the tabouret” The man nodded and joined us.
The first stop was at the Composers’ Creative House after Edward Mirzoyan. It is not hard to reach it because as soon as you enter Dilijan direction signs lead you straight to it. Even if you are not a musician, this place is worth to visit as you can find apple trees planted by world-known composers. Martiros Saryan, the talented artist, liked this place and used to come here to admire the nature. As I was told by the workers, here, you could find Arno Babajanian playing backgammon or Maya Plisetskaya gathering mushrooms. You won’t believe it, but Shostakovich has written the music score for “Hamlet” movie exactly here.
The time’s short, but I am walking around Dilijan. From the composers’ house, I walk 6,5 km to Aghasi Khanjyan’s summer house. Not really, I could not make all of it by feet, so I took a ride for the remaining 2 km.
For me, one of the most beautiful places in Dilijan is Aghasi Khanjyan’s summer house, a magnificent building, however, its conditions get worse year by year. The picturesque ceiling, walls and wooden interior are gone. Desolate conditions had their negative impact over the years.
On the territory of the summer house is situated the “King of the Forest” tree. King’s head has a crown, and his arms are wide open. The storm gets mild, the sea is calm again, it turns as plain as the mirror, and you can barely hear the sound of combs by the shore… Yes, the location of Poseidon’s political asylum is revealed. They look similar, don’t they?
3 things you need to do in Dilijan
- Eat corn. Paying only 500 drams, you enjoy Armenia’s tastiest corn.
- Take a photo near the statue of “Mimino” movie characters. Almost all remember «— Валик-джан. У нас в Дилижане, в кухне, открываешь простой кран — вода течёт, второе место занимает в мире»expression. To my regret, I couldn’t drink water, in this case breaking the queue would have been quite risky.
- Take a master-class of backgammon from the local elderly men.
Moving forward, the most interesting and memorable episode of the day was the visit to highbred deer. To reach “Caucasian Red Deer Breeding Center” of “Dilijan” National Park, you pay 4000 drams for a round taxi ride from the central bus stop. In case of going on foot it takes you 2 hours.
Here you can find 4 highbred Caucasian deer, Delee, the youngest of them was born a couple of months ago. The entrance is free, do not forget to take apples with you, they simply adore it.
Cafe #2 is a beautiful place, located just in front of the central bus station. Sitting outside you will find yourself above the city park’s pool. All the waiters are teenagers. I think, part of the income is transferred to the local schools and serves for the needs of the educational system. It’s quite affordable, tasty, beautiful, you should certainly try the “Very Chocolate” cake.
It was the time to return to Yerevan, and I was about to do hitchhiking. With a wide smile on my face, I stopped the first random car, right at the entrance of the cafe. A nice young couple. The guy was a member of “The Art of Survival” club. During the whole ride to Yerevan, we’ve discussed the importance of the club where they teach a set of skills which will help one to survive under any condition.
Only in Yerevan, I felt that after walking 10.5 km during the day I got exhausted which on the other hand, I couldn’t compare with the feeling of discoveries.
Translator Norayr Manvelyan