Jermuk

Jermuk is a mountain spa town and urban municipal community located 180 km far from Yerevan. It was a considered one of the popular destinations for medical tourism in the Soviet Union. Nowadays Jermuk is still famous for its hot springs and mineral water brands bottled in the town. It is attractive for its fresh air, waterfalls, artificial lakes, walking trails, the surrounding forests and mineral water pools. The town is being redeveloped to become a modern centre of tourism and health services. Jermuk is also being set up to become a major chess centre, with numerous chess international tournaments scheduled in the town. The name of the town is derived from the Armenian word of "jermuk" meaning "warm mineral spring", first mentioned during the 13th century.

The town is among the 3 towns of Armenia that are allowed to accommodate gambling houses and activities (along with Tsaghkadzor and Sevan). Key sector in the economy of Jermuk is tourism and sports. The town is home to several high-quality health resorts and spas, and is one of the main touristic destinations for those who visit Armenia. Visitors could enjoy the beautiful nature of Jermuk, the highest waterfall in Armenia (68 m), the curing water pools, the cableway and alpine sports facilities. A 900-meters long cableway serves the ski area located at the southeast of the town. The works for the second phase of the ski lift are ongoing in order to boost the winter tourism in the region. Besides that, each year during the summer, the town hosts the FIDE Grand Prix Jermuk chess tournament.

Jermuk is located at a height of 2080 meters above sea level, on a plateau divided into two parts by the gorge. It's placed on the southern sloops of the same mountain range, to the north of which Jermajur (Artsakh) is. The height of the surrounding mountains ranges between 2500 and 3500 meters, all covered with forests and alpine meadows. The forests of Jermuk are rich with oak and hornbeam trees, as well as with dog rose, wild pear, plum and juniper plants. Animals like foxes, rabbits, badgers and bears could be found there. The town is mainly famous with its hot springs (geysers). The waterfall of Jermuk on Arpa river has a height of 70 meters. The town is characterized with alpine climate providing mild weather during the summers with cold and snowy climate during the long-lasting winters. The annual precipitation level is 800 mm.

10 km far from it you can see Gndevank monastery (meaning round cathedral). It was built in 936 AD. The region was a ring without a jewel but the princess Sophia built this monastery as the jewel for the ring. In 999 AD it was expanded with a gavit, a narthex or entrance to the church. In subsequent years the monastery was fortified with walls around it. Of the surviving wall paintings, one of Jesus Christ is on the altar wall. Another notable painting in the church is of Mother Mary on the northern annexed wall, which is said to be a masterpiece of the late Middle Ages in Armenia. The surfaces of the pendentives have carved images of the evangelists. The tombstones surrounding the church have carvings of interest, such as a scene of ibex hunting next to a falcon, and the hunting of a boar.


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