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Meghri: the Armenian garden that is played with Iran

Only absent-minded travellers coming from or going to Iran arrive at Meghri. And they have no choice but to stay overnight. And that may be because this city with the body of a town is not within the circuits advertised by the great travel agencies. It is also true that it is out of the way and it has poor communication infrastructure.

But, although this city is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Armenia’s capital, it is also true that here you can breathe completely different air.

There are barely any tourists here and its proximity to the hermetic border with Iran (8 kilometres), its steep landscape, and its countless fruit trees (such as lemon, orange, pear, kiwi or apricot trees) give it a unique personality. For an Armenian, Meghri is the Andalusia of Spain or the Sicily of Italy. If you’re interested in visiting the Cappadocia of Armenia, meanwhile, Goris is where you want to be.

The neighbourhoods of Meghri climb the slopes and hold on to the mountain with their concrete claws. Below, the Meghri River waters its orchards, which produce the tastiest fruits in the country, according to the locals.

The region is the hottest in Armenia and spring arrives here much before anywhere else in this beautiful country.

Meghri is surrounded by towering rock faces. The city has two churches. The Saint Astvatsatsin Church built in the 17th century, and the Surb Hovhannes Mkrtich Church constructed in the very same period. We must emphasize that the frescoes on the inside of the latter, which are the work of Naghash Hovnatan, are worth admiring. 

In the Middle Ages, six towers protected this passage from invaders, but there are only four of them still standing today. In the 17th century, the towers were rebuilt by Davit Bek, the guerrilla hero of Syunik, and since then they have been known as The Pyramids of Davit Bek. Speaking of Syunik, if ever you want to tour that area, we recommend visiting Kapan its capital.

If you go to Tehran, you may have to stop here. The best place to have a couple of drinks or eat something is the Arthurs Restaurant and the only hotel to stay in is the Mila Hotel, located on the outskirts. Another option is the Haer B&B which belongs to a very hospitable family who is very good cooks in the kitchen.

In our opinion, the road to Agarak, which borders Iran, was an experience in itself. You should remember that it is a hot spot, so be careful while taking pictures. Across the Agarak River begins the Persian country, and you’ll see the minarets of the Mosque of Norduz loom in the distance. These are the confines of Armenia, and of Christianity.

Where to Sleep?

Cheap lodging

Haer B&B

Address: 14 Qarakert Street (Meghri).

Phone: +374 93 545414.

It is the only B&B in Meghri. The owners make you feel at home. It has a nice garden, kitchen, free WIFI, and several Armenian style double rooms. If you want to try the local cuisine, you should try their dinners. This B&B is the favourite place for backpackers who are on the route here or back to Iran.

Where to Eat?

Medium Restaurant

Arthurs Restaurant

Phone: +374 91 605 608// +374 91 286 43238.

It is situated just 50 meters (164 feet) from the Mila Hotel. More of a place for great celebrations and banquets, Arthurs isn’t really a place for a romantic dinner. They specialize in river fish, pilaf and all kinds of barbecues.

Lord Restaurant

It is in the centre and it is the best place to eat something and have a couple of beers. This restaurant has a nice terrace that overlooks the Meghri River. It is great to cool off a little bit here in the hot summer nights. If you want individual dining rooms, then you won’t be disappointed. This restaurant specializes in Armenian food.

 

Transportation

  • The only marshrutka towards Yerevan leaves at 7:30 a.m. In Kapan, there are other connections by public transport to Goris and Yerevan. A taxi to Kapan is around 10,000 AMD.
  • The only Yerevan-Meghri marshrutka leaves at 7:00 a.m. from the Sassountsi Davit station. It takes around 10 hours.