Explore the Zarni-Parni cave complex in the Lori Province

Lusine Vardanyan | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Once you start exploring hidden gems in Armenia, you realize that this line has no end. The more you explore, the more new directions for your next trip pop up. The same works for me as well, and recently, I have discovered something that will most probably seem attractive also to all of you, who plan to visit Armenia. While in Yerevan, you find many historical and cultural sites as well as pubs, clubs and restaurants to spend a great time. But beyond the borders of the city, you will find another world full of roads that lead to exciting destinations. One of those roads will take you to the province of Lori, where Zarni-Parni cave complex is located.

Zarni-Parni is a great alternative to spending time beyond the borders of Yerevan. Before getting there, you will get a chance to enjoy a mind-blowing landscape of the province of Lori. It is considered to be one of the best parts of Armenia in terms of rich nature. Besides Zarni-Parni, here, you also can visit the Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin. The monasteries are inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are at a close distance, and I am sure you will not regret visiting these sites.

Picture © credits to Zarni-Parni FB page

In Zarni-Parni complex, you can find caves (locals call it old fortress, as they used to serve as forts during Tatar, Turkish and Persian invasions). So, in the complex, there are the fortresses called "Zarni Er" and "Parni Er", as well as a cave called "Tsak Er". They say that the complex was built back in the 10th century. Before people would go there just to see the caves and get back to the city, but nowadays the situation is way different. Besides exploring the caves, you will be given an opportunity to spend a couple of hours in this area and enjoy newly built facilities that are designed to make your stay more comfortable. 

Picture © credits to Zarni-Parni FB page

Here, you can also find a small museum full of ancient attributes and interior decorations, that people in Armenia used to have in their houses a long time ago.  Besides, there is also a souvenir shop with traditional, handmade and unique souvenirs that will always remind you of your trip to Zarni-Parni (why not, these can also be nice gifts for your friends and family).  Another exciting corner of this area is the winery where you can try local wine and have delicious traditional food while enjoying the view. In the complex, they also organize traditional games for kids and adults, where internationals can also take part in. Another exciting activity is sitting by the campfire that the owners of this establishment make almost every evening. Sometimes, they also host different exhibitions and organize cultural events in cooperation with music and dance studios. 

Picture © credits to Zarni-Parni FB page

They say that in Zarni-Parni "Tsak Er" used to live and work an Armenian medieval scholar and monk Hovhanness Imastaser, who did great work in the field of history, mathematics, cosmography, calendar theory and philosophy. That is also another reason to explore Zarni-Parni and discover what attracted Hovhanness to stay and work here, in the heart of the province of Lori.

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