Vardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim, 2,410m), ‘Silk Road’, Orbelian's Caravanserai, Hermon Village


Trail photos

Photo ofVardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim, 2,410m), ‘Silk Road’, Orbelian's Caravanserai, Hermon Village Photo ofVardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim, 2,410m), ‘Silk Road’, Orbelian's Caravanserai, Hermon Village Photo ofVardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim, 2,410m), ‘Silk Road’, Orbelian's Caravanserai, Hermon Village


Trail stats

22.52 mi
Elevation gain
1,401 ft
Technical difficulty
Elevation loss
3,465 ft
Max elevation
7,682 ft
Min elevation
4,283 ft
Trail type
One Way
2 hours 39 minutes
December 13, 2016
June 2016
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7,682 ft
4,283 ft
22.52 mi

near Selimi, Gegharkʼunikʼ (አርሜኒያ)

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Trail photos

Photo ofVardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim, 2,410m), ‘Silk Road’, Orbelian's Caravanserai, Hermon Village Photo ofVardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim, 2,410m), ‘Silk Road’, Orbelian's Caravanserai, Hermon Village Photo ofVardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim, 2,410m), ‘Silk Road’, Orbelian's Caravanserai, Hermon Village

Itinerary description

Mountain Biking Trail Description
This trail is in Gegharkunik province, on the Vardenyats Mountain Pass road. This trail will especially attract those who travel in the mountains exclusively on paved roads. The biking trail starts from Orbelian’s Caravanserai (14th century), though you can start riding earlier, from the village of Nshkhark (2,317m above sea level), which is 8.5km away. In ancient times, the ‘Silk Road’ passed through the twisting roads of the Vardenyats Mountain Pass which acted as a bridge for trade relations between the East and the West. Orbelian’s Caravanserai was founded by Princess Orbelyan in the 14th century and used to be a place for travelers to overnight. Enjoy the swift journey down twisting roads, until you reach the Vayots Dzor province. Passing the Aghnjadzor, Shatin and Yeghegis villages, you will eventually reach the small village of Hermon, on the bank of the Yeghegis river. The biking trail ends near the hotel ‘Lyuci’.

Monuments description
Vardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim Mountain Pass, previously known as the Selim mountain pass, or Hayots Dzor Pass) is located in the province of Gegharkunik, west of the Vardenis mountain range, at an altitude of 2,410m. Nearby is Mount Armaghan (5km), with a height of 2,829m. The Vardenyats Mountain Pass links together the Argichi valley, the Sevan Basin, and Vayk. The Martuni – Yeghegnadzor highway passes through the Vardenyats Mountain Pass. Orbelian's Caravanserai, aka the Selim Caravanserai, was built along the Vardenyats Mountain Pass in the 13th century.
The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes connecting China with regions in Asia and Europe. It operated between the 2nd millennium BC, up to the 16th century AD. The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade. Initially, silk was the main transferred good. The Road was more than 7 thousand km long, with a subsequent marine path being built much later. These old and new worlds bartered in intermediary countries as well. The Armenian Highland was a bridge between Europe and West Asia. These international trade routes linked Armenia with the Black and Mediterranean sea-ports, crossing the Highlands of Armenia. Commercial transactions were carried out in Iran, Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and China through these routes. Plutarch testifies that Artashat (the capital of Armenia) had a wide range of important trade and economic relations during the 1st century BC. Strabon and other historians of Ancient History write about Armenia’s crucial intermediary role in Roman-Parthian trade relations.

Orbelian's Caravanserai is the best preserved mountain passageway of medieval Armenian passes. Orbelian’s Caravanserai (14th century) in the Vardenyats Mountain Pass served as an inn for traders passing by way of the Silk Road, in the territory of Armenia. Marco Polo described how Armenians lived in these rugged mountains after he passed through this area.

The climate in Vayots Dzor is dry and sunny. About 1,650 species of superior plants grow on just this 2,300 square km territory. Vayots Dzor is a district of valleys and gorges, streams and rivers, high mountains and mysterious caves. It is located at an altitude of 850m (Areni) - 3,500m (Mount Gogi) above sea level. Two major mountain ranges stretch across the province: the Vayk mountain range from the South and the Vardenis mountain range from the North. In the center, stands Vayots Mountain, which is an extinct volcano with two volcanic craters. Here, the mountain peaks of Geghasar, Vardenis, Sulemasar, Mount Gogi and Harsnasar can be found, which stand above many of the settlements in Vayots Dzor. The province is also rich with rivers, the Yeghegis and Arpa Rivers are among the largest in the area, with many reed beds nearby the rivers.

There are bezoar goats and Armenian mouflon within the Vayots Dzor province, all of which are protected by the state. The Caucasus, with its 500 species of animals is one of the regions of the world, where the majority of animals living there, are registered in the Red Book. Among them are the Armenian mouflon and bezoar goats who are found in the Khosrov Reserve, Vayots Dzor province and Zangezur Mountain range, in Armenia. There are also bears, wild boars, wolves, red foxes, wild rabbits, rodents, such reptiles as green lizards, frogs and snakes (adder, Gurza), and more, residing in the forests.

Safety and Security
On the trail, among the Vardenyats Mountain Pass and surrounding areas, all networks operating in Armenia are available. In case of emergency, call 911, the service is available throughout Armenia. Beware of dogs guarding flocks of sheep.

Technical parameters
Best period: April- October
Distance: 153km from Yerevan
Duration: 2 hours 16min.
Biking trail length: 36km.
Ride duration: 2.5 -3 hours.
Altitude from sea: 1,700-2,440m
100% of the road is paved.
The best drink to have on hand is bottled water.

How to Reach the Trail
To reach the above-mentioned trail, you need to get to Gegharkunik province (costs 15,500AMD by taxi). Taxi services are quite affordable throughout Armenia. We recommend taking a cab with a taximeter.


PictographWaypoint Altitude 7,669 ft


PictographWaypoint Altitude 5,630 ft



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