One of the largest cities in Armenia, Vanadzor lies in the valley of the Pambak River north of Yerevan. It serves as a cultural hub for Lori Province and has long been a resort centre due to its clean air and mineral springs. In addition to archaeological sites, theatres and museums, it encompasses the former home of the Armenian Soviet writer Stepan Zoryan.
Things to do in Vanadzor
More than 1,700 works by Armenian artists are on display at the Vanadzor Fine Arts Museum, which was established in 1974 as part of the National Gallery of Armenia. Learn about the development of the Armenian painting school while admiring pieces by Armine Kalents, Grigor Khanjyan and Eranuhi Aslamazyan, then explore the room dedicated to artists from Lori Province.
In the city’s south is the Vanadzor Botanical Garden, which was laid out in 1936 and is planted with more than 1,000 different species. You can stretch your legs on one of the walking trails and admire the native and exotic species that thrive here at an elevation of around 1,400 metres above sea level. The on-site garden restaurant serves drinks and meals throughout the day.
Overlooking the Chemical Factory Worker’s Park in Vanadzor’s west is the Lori-Pambak Geological Museum, which (despite its name) explores the rich cultural heritage of the region. In addition to ethnographical artefacts such as jewellery, household utensils and ceramics, it showcases the metallurgy that has been practised in Lori Province since ancient times.
Getting around Vanadzor
Vanadzor is around two hours’ drive from Yerevan and just over an hour from Shirak International Airport, which has flights to destinations across Russia and Georgia. Regular trains connect from Yerevan to the Vanadzor railway station and buses travel throughout the city.