ARMENIA BOTANY TOUR
15 MAY – 20 JULY
Armenia, being situated in the one of the world’s hotspots for biodiversity is notable for an incredibly rich and diverse world of plants. Here, on the area, that forms only 16% of the territory of Caucasus, grow more than a half of the representatives of Caucasian flora – about 3600 vascular plant species! Almost all the habitat types typical for the region may be found in Armenia. Semi deserts, juniper and arid open forests, steppes, forests, meadows, sub alpine high herbaceous communities and alpine carpets, also miniature deserts, wetlands and various wide-spread plant communities of rocks and screens change each other on a distance of just about a few tens km…
Transfer and accommodation in hotel. Relax.
The second day is dedicated to two of the archaeological sites of the city of Yerevan: Arin Berd and Karmir Blur. Visiting the Museum – Erebuni Historical and Archaeological Reserve which is located at the Urartean fortress of Erebuni in Yerevan, the capital of Armenian. Teishebani is an ancient fortress of the kingdom of Urartu. It corresponds to the current place of Karmir Blur near Erevan. It was built by King Russa II in the first quarter of the 7th century BC and is located in a few kilometres to the south-east. Overnight at the hotel.
After breakfast driving to the north through Aparan towards Spitak Pass. A half of an hour stop to see irises (Iris pumila) and a number of other bright meadow species in bloom. Our main destination for the day is a beautiful Dendropark “Sochut”. The place for its establishment was chosen not only for the location and climate suitable for introduction of many representatives of global flora, but also to protect the largest natural pine forest in Armenia formed with Pinus kochiana. The day program will include also some walk in mixed deciduous woodland and beach forest near Haghartsin Monastery. See, too, from the road in Dilijan town a “drunken forest” of pine, the result of a seismogenic landslide. Overnight in Dilijan.
Visit to Monastery of Sevan and Noraduz khachkars (cross-stones). Sevan Botanical Garden founded in 1946 as a part of the Institute of Botany of the National Academy of Sciences. This small Dendropark (5,5 hectares) is a subject of particular interest because of being located high up on the altitude about 2000 m above sea level, in very rough climatic conditions, where survival of some of the representatives of the living collection seems to be unbelievable. A couple of stops for botanizing will be done further on a Selim Pass to see some meadow plants and very interesting shrub communities formed with Spiraea creanata, Viburnum lantana, Berberis orientalis and other species… A very pretty Iris lineolata (Red Data listed) population may be seen near Sisian. Overnight in Sissian.
After breakfast go to Tatev Monastery which will give a chance to discover the diversity of the dendroflora, including a number of wild forms for well-known fruit and berry plants such as plum (Prunus divaricata), cornel–tree (Cornus mas), blackberry (Rubus armeniaca) and other. Here is the one of only two locations in Armenia for rare fern Adiantum capillus-veneris. A very picturesque oak forests formed with Quercus iberica, and also Carpinus orientale, C. betulus, Pirus caucasica, and other trees alongside the way from Tatev to Kapan. Fantastic beauty of the Southern Armenia will be continued with Shikahogh Reserve and our the most southern spot – the relict Plane Grove – unique ecosystem which is formed with oriental plane-tree Platanus orientalis, listed in the Red Data books of Armenia and former USSR. Overnight in Kapan.
An hour of walking and botanising in the Noravank canyon will give an impression on the diverse dendroflora with a number of Red Data listed plants, such as both almond species that grow in Armenia: Amygdalus fenzliana and A.nairica, pistaceo tree Pistacia mutica, Celtis glabrata and some others. Herbaceous flora here is also rather diverse and interesting. Overnight in Yerevan.
Investigation of tree and shrub communities in Geghard gorge formed with a number of fruit and berry forms, including almond (Amygdalus fenzliana), plum (Prunus divaricata), wild apple (Malus orientalis) tree and other. Huge walnut trees (Juglans regia) can be seen at Garni temple and everywhere in the village. There are a few hundred forms of the walnut tree in Armenia. Overnight in Yerevan.
Sightseeing tour around the city: the Republic Square, Opera Theatre, Cascade, Lover’s Park, Park of Victory, the Matenadaran, the institute of Ancient Manuscripts (includes more than 17,000 ancient manuscripts, as well as archives and diplomatic documents from the 14th to the 19th centuries). After the lunch visit the Yerevan Botanical Garden (1935). Here we can see species of trees and shrubs not only from all the regions of Armenia, but also from Caucasus, North America, China, Korea and the Far East. One section of the Botanical Gardens represents the species of flowers. There are about 1100 species.
The reserved transfer to the airport is at a proper time; ending of services.