Lori Berd, Dendropark

Stepanavan is a town and municipal community, located 139 km north of the capital Yerevan, in the centre of Yerevan-Tbilisi highway. Due to its location on the rocky canyon of Dzoraget River among the forest of Lori plateau and Bazum mountains, Stepanavan is considered a resort town on the way to Haghpat and Sanahin. The central square of the town is home to the town hall, the cultural palace and the Stepan Shaumian museum. The latter is one of 26 Baku commissars, chairman of the Baku Council of the People's Commissars, Commissar Extraordinary for the Caucasus, after who the town was called. Not far from the town you can see the remains of Tormak Church (5th-6th centuries), Lori Berd fortress (11th century), Lori bridge over Miskhana river (11th century), Dendropark, the Russian Saint Nikolas church in the village of Amrakits (19th century).

Lori Berd is one of Armenia's most impressive medieval fortress sites (best preserved after 
Amberd). The fortress was built in the 11th century, and served as a capital for local Armenian kingdom. Later it was captured by seljuqs and liberated by Georgian armed forces in the end of 12th century. It was a prosperous town and a trade center between Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, and Ani, capital of Armenia (961-1360). The town was ransacked and for over 200 years it passed through various hands only to fall to invaders again in 1430. The first building encountered is a bathhouse with two baths and evidence of pipes running in the walls. In the centre of the fortress can be seen a rectangular-roofed building comprising six square-domed bays with pillars supporting the arches dividing the bays.

Dendropark is an arboretum, which was founded in 1931 by Polish engineer-forester Edmund Leonowicz. It is 35 ha in total of which 17.5 ha consist of natural forest and 15 ha of ornamental trees. This collection expanded along the newly constructed footpaths and vistas which began to reach into the natural forest and is thought to be the first place in the Southern Caucasus, where a natural forest landscape had been reshaped into a Forest Park. Most specimens were acquired from Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, France, Portugal, China and the United States. There are now more than 500 introduced species. Nowadays the arboretum is of interest to the general public, professional scientists and eco-tourists. The arboretum is a perfect place for public excursions and botanical or zoological tours.

Not far from Stepanavan there are several villages with Russian, Greek, Yazidi population. Small communities of ethnic Russians are mainly found in the separate rural communities. They are not only Orthodox, but also Molokans, who are members of various Spiritual Christian sects that evolved from Eastern Christianity in the East Slavic lands. Totally, there are 7 Russian Orthodox standing churches in Armenia. One of them is Amrakits church, built in 1848 by Ukrainian Cossacks. The official name of it is "Church of St Nicholas Wonder-worker in Amrakits". It is fairy-tale but sadly ruined church, which was ruined during 1988 eartquake. The icons and vestments were transferred to the Church of St. Martyr Tsarina Alexandra and the Chapel of St. Archangel Michael in 2009.

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