Notes From Hairenik

Aghveran, which is located in Armenia's Kotayk region (near the border with Aragatsotn) about a 40 minute drive from Yerevan, is one of the most picturesque areas I have ever visited in this country. The village is situated at the end of a long, narrow gorge through which a river runs.

Alongside the river are several picnic areas, and they all have shaded tables, playgrounds, spots for grilling and access to the water.  But as is the case in most of rural Armenia, if you need to use the toilet there's a bit of roughin' it involved.

For the most part the entire stretch of the river bank is forested, and the slopes are covered with trees, grasses and wild flowers.

It's been five years now that I have been going to the Aghveran area for a Sunday picnic, usually with a large, feisty group of people. In my experience there are three things that are mandatory at any Armenian summer afternoon feast: barbecue of any kind insulated by at least four leaves of lavash (today we had fish exclusively), sliced tomatoes and cucumbers that optionally can be served as a salad,  and, you guessed it, vodka. So long as those items are on the table, everyone is pleased. A guest one or two minutes into the meal might start criticizing the chef whose comments will be supported by some and vehemently opposed by others, but usually after a shot or two everyone forgets about how little salt was used in the meat marinade.

The gorgeous, peaceful afternoon in the country was another refreshing reminder about why I love Armenia so much and the reason for why I chose to live here. I really don't understand what everyone in the diaspora is waiting for.

All photos taken by Christian Garbis.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Nice entry.
I remember Arveran from my childhood..
By the way, are those grill "marals" and rest places free of charge or rented by somebody?
As always, thanks for your sharing!!!

Blogger Christian Garbis said...
The grills are free of charge. Some spots may have two perpendicular iron rails positioned a few inches from the ground across which you can set the skewers of meat once you have a proper fire for grilling going. The rest places are for rent, usually you pay 4,000 dram--around ten bucks for the entire day, give or take a thousand dram.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
How free of rubbish was the spot? Sadly, I have found such scenic sites in Armenia far from spotless...Any deep plunge pools in the river for a cool dip? Mher K.

Blogger Christian Garbis said...
This place was fairly clean as far as I could tell. They do a good job with maintaining the area. Didn't seem like the other guests were slobs, but you never know, I wasn't keeping track. Generally there aren't adequate garbage bins at such wonderful places to encourage people not to litter.

This river is not deep enough to take a dip, but you can always cool off there...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Truely serene. A cross between Camp Hiaistan and our back yard.