This time we have visited the town of Dilijan, or, “The Armenian Switzerland”, as we like to brag about it.
It has been the main meeting place of cinematographers, composers, artists and writers during the Soviet era. They were creating art right here as nature helped, and sometimes even made them to.
Today it is one of the most active touristic centers in Armenia, unique with its beautiful and comfortable hotels and spectacularly colorful landmarks.
7+ Attractions of Dilijan
Before proceeding to our main story, let’s count down a couple of sights in Dilijan.
1. Old Dilijan
You can feel the breath of 19th century Dilijan at the unique Tufenkian “Old Dilijan” complex. Inside the hotel are a café, restaurant, bakery, and other interesting places, that represent the special lifestyle of the 19th century.
Various wood and clay masters display their handicrafts here. That is why the street is sometimes called “Masters Street”.
Dilijan has always been a cultural town and has reach cultural tradition. “Rotondan” summer amphitheater has operated in Dilijan, from the late 19th to 20th century. Prominent names of the Armenian theater have staged many remarkable works by Armenian and international playwrights here.
However, it was demolished during the Soviet era. Amphitheater was rebuilt in 2009, which aims to revive traditions of possessing a summer theater in Dilijan.
3. Geological Museum and Art Gallery
Museum-gallery was founded in 1950 by a teacher Yeghishe Hovsepyan.
Archeological and ethnographic items, as well as paintings, sculptures and antique literature samples are exhibited and presented in the museum.
4. Monument to the Heroes of the Film Mimino
The opening of the monument took place on July 4, 2011.
Here are three main heroes of the popular movie: Frunzik Mkrtchyan (Rubik Khachikyan), Yevgeny Leonov (Ivan Volokhov) and Vakhtang Kikabidze (Valko Mizandari).
5. Parz lake
The Parz Lake is located in the area of Dilijan National Park at the elevation of 1,350 meters.
It is surrounded by forests. Water is transparent, with some greenish tint. The lake has 300 meters of length and 100 meters of width. There are many recreational areas there.
6. Haghartsin Monastery
Haghartsin Monastery is located north of Dilijan.
The originality of the monastery complex are provided by four churches, two narthexes (one destroyed) and the dining hall, all built in different historical periods (10-14th centuries).
7. Dilijan international school
Founders of Dilijan international school are Russian-Armenian entrepreneur Ruben Vardanyan and his wife.
The main goals of school are qualitative new guidelines for the Armenian education system and sustainable environmental development of Dilijan
BONUS, “Papanio House“
And now a success story straight from Dilijan.
In 2013, fifty employees of the Central Bank relocated to Dilijan, spouses Tigran and Anahit Safaryan were among them. Being initiative and creative individuals, they decided to take advantage of local opportunities and open a unique wine tavern with high-quality and original cuisine, something which was really necessary to the town.
Initially, it was determined to build only a bakery with special recipes of bread and pastry products. But later they realized that it is necessary to raise the bar and establish a tavern with high quality cuisine, selected assortment of wines and colorful environment.
On December 2018, after four years of hard work, “Papanino House” opened its doors to the guests. The tavern is hosting local and foreign guests, delegations from the moment of its opening. They are collaborating with some of the major tour companies, and the circle of collaborations is gradually expanding.
Why “Papanino House”?
The Kalinino district of Dilijan used to be a village inhabited by Molokans and was named Papanino. Some of them still live on that street, for example, right next to the tavern, as well as in other districts of Dilijan, but many have either moved to other settlements or permanently left Armenia.
And now the authors of this initiative decided to restore and preserve the former name of the district, by naming their future tavern, “Papanio House”.
“First groups of Molokans inhabited Armenia starting from 1836, primarily in Sevan Basin. During the Tsarism, they were outcast to Transcaucasia. The Molokans are just ethnic Russians who, from the 18th century, started to interpret the theology of Russian Christianity differently.
What can You expect Here?
- Warm and colorful environment;
- Stylish and neat indoor and outdoor halls,
- Pleasant and nimble waiters,
- The unique dishes prepared by Chef Khoren Harutyunyan,
- Founders Tigran and Anahit, who are dedicated to their work, and pay close attention to every single detail
- A wide range of local and international wines,
- Completing and supplementing day in Dilijan.
This really is a success story, which may also be contagious. As a collective result of imagination, determination, and persistent efforts, something, which a few years ago was just an unspoken dream, was made into reality.
This is a story about creativity, struggle and success. Within the framework of this initiative, a dozen jobs have already been created. And we believe that this is just the beginning …
“You are condemned to success”, that’s what we told the Safarians when saying goodbye.
And to Sum up
We have already found a warm corner, a home to be more exact, to sum up our impressions and emotions – “Papanio House”.
We also invite you to visit and enjoy the unique cuisine, taste the wines and feel the warmness of this tavern. We are sincerely grateful to Mr. and Miss Safaryan for the invitation, warm welcome and luxurious hospitality.
Take a step;)
Well, we shared our impressions, now it is your turn to visit and enjoy this place, and of course, leave a feedback on Tripadvisor and/ or Facebook;).
By the way, Public Television of Armenia has also covered the topic of this tavern recently.
Sincerely and a bit tipsy from “Papanio House”
Gor and Sona Karapetyan