Notes From Hairenik
April 28, 2013

Last week as my friend Loris and I were walking down Tsitsernakaberd hill from the Genocide memorial we decided to enter the Hrazdan gorge and go for a stroll down there, perhaps get a bite to eat at one of the more modest restaurant "complexes." I had never walked about on foot in the gorge, so it was a perfect opportunity--the weather was mild, and the sun was still shining being late afternoon.

We found a footbridge that crossed the river and made our way along an unpaved path. Before long we stumbled upon the kids' railroad, which was installed at least 40 years ago. It's a hidden gem of Yerevan, not very many people know about it. I have only heard of it, but never actually seen it until that day. We were at the end of the line, so we decided to follow the tracks to the station.

I did not realize just how lovely the nature is down in the gorge, with some tremendously tall trees and breathtaking scenery. We did see some other walkers, and a few couples making out behind the trees. It was refreshing to get away from the smog and dust that awaited us above, it was as if we were in a secret haven, fully protected by the nature of a thriving forest. We stumbled upon a swimming pool of sorts--apparently the water pouring into it from a pipe is clean and people do bathe there.

The kids' train seemed fantastic, only judging by the looks of it. For a nominal fee children aged two years and older can go for a ride, but they would need constant adult supervision it seems while seated on the bench seats; there didn't seem to be any seat belts. Regardless, I can't wait to take Areg down there, he's only seen trains in his books and Baby Einstein videos. To get there, you would need to enter the gorge from Proshyan Street, the roadway being located just adjacent to Nairi Hospital.

The Hrazdan gorge is certainly gorgeous, and much of it seems to be intact despite the monstrous structures they've erected down there, and the area is relatively clean, free of strewn cellophane bags and other trash.  It's definitely worth visiting in the spring and summer months.

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This is indeed a hidden beautiful spot of Yerevan. I was also introduced to it last spring. Apparently the pool had been built by a group of Yerevantsis in Soviet times or early independence and some 'Babiks' come and bathe there regularly. The other wonderful thing about the spot is that it is easily accessible on foot from downtown Yerevan (West end of Aram and Buzand streets). A ten minute walk will take you there through a pedestrian tunnel (not easily found on maps - the car tunnel is blocked to traffic).