Sisian is a city in Southern Armenia. It is a pleasant if unremarkable town, always cooler than Yerevan. It is a good base to visit Ughtasar mountain, and the thousands of petroglyphs on top. A river runs through the town, which has an ancient church called Sisavan on top of a small rise in the center.
Taxis can be found at the bus junction. They can drive to nearby attractions for quite reasonable prices and also to Goris for 6,000 dram.
Walking around town is easy enough.
- St. Gregory the Illuminator church, Adontsi st. 6a (on the North side of town). The church was built by the ruler of Syunik Kohazard in 6-7-century.
- Sisian History Museum, ☏ . Tu-Su 11:00 - 18:00. It's notable for its rich archaeological and ethnographic exhibits, as well as rich collection of stone monuments. 300, 400 dram. Guided tour in English or Russian 1,500-2,000 dram.
- 1 Ughtasar Petroglyphs (Visits possible only between July-September due to snow. You can hike there or hire entire jeep for 25,000 dram suitable up to 4 people, travel time is about 2 hours). Mountaintop is literally littered with petroglyphs, with up to 10 or 20 on some boulders. People, animals, dancing, hunting and designs that are 5 to 8,000 years old!
- 2 Zorats Karer (Stonehenge) (N 5km, just off the highway by one of the roads to Sisian). It is Armenia's older and cruder answer to Stonehenge in England. Big rocks, some with holes carved in the tops, form a couple of overlapping ovals.
- 3 Shaki Waterfall. A nice place for a picnic on a hot day, you'll have to pay them to turn the waterfall on full blast. No, seriously, most of the water is normally diverted to generate electricity, so you'll have to make up the difference! (it's quite affordable, actually)
- (Down the river from Sisian, about a half an hour (due to road conditions, not due to distance)). Fortified monastery. Rarely visited by foreigners, it's quiet and interesting.
- Aghudi Memorial (Right on the road to Vorotnavank Monastery). This centuries-old Armenian memorial is a few stories high and a bit out of the ordinary.
- Shamb Hotsprings. A bit past Vorotnavank Monastery, and not really all that hot, it's a popular place for locals to go swimming, and a picturesque spot.
- 4 Vorotnaberd Fort Ruins, between the villages of Vaghatin and Vorotan. One of the oldest fortresses. Fortress is often referred to as Davit Bek's Castle, because his troops were also fighting against the Turkish conquerors.
- 5 Tanahat Monastery Ruins (Karmir Vank).
Bike, hike, swim, explore.
The art school has some kids arts and crafts on sale sometimes, and Ashot, the well known local painter who is heavily influenced by the petroglyphs also sells his paintings out of his studio.
The hotels are the best place to have a bite, or a barbecue joint.
- [dead link] Basen Hotel Complex, 1-5 Manukyan Str, ☏ , . Reasonably priced, nicely remodeled hotel with a very nice restaurant and spacious rooms. 9,000 dram/person.
- Dina Hotel, 35 Sisakan Str., ☏ , . Cheap. Soviet hotel which has been well maintained and is still a pleasant place to stay. Quite an exception to the dozens of other Soviet hotels which are unbearably bad. Ask for a "Lux" room for an in-room toilet. 9-11,000 dram, without shower and lavatory 3,000 dram.
- Hotel, 1 Gai District, ☏ , . 6,000 dram per person.
- Lalaner, 29 Sisakan Str., ☏ , 5600, . Sauna, Restaurant, Bar, Café, swimming pool 15-35,000 dram/room.
- Sisian Hotel, ☏ . Cheap, clean place, not much changed since Soviet times, but helpful and central. The Sisian Hotel is in the center of Sisian town. The hotel offers 31 rooms including two luxury suites. All rooms are traditionally furnished, and are equipped with telephone, color TV, and hot showers are available. Hotel serves traditional Armenian cuisine 3x daily. Can also cater for other requests from guests staying at the Hotel such as regional tours and transportation.
- Goris — the last major town in Armenia for travelers continuing to Karabakh and also entering point to Tatev Monastery.
- Jermuk — spa town where much of the country's mineral water comes from.
- Kapan — not the most interesting town. Vahanavank Monastery is in its close proximity.
- Yeghegnadzor — small town close to spectacular canyon and monastery in Noravank, the impressive Smbatabert Fortress/Tsakhats Kar Monastery area and the old silk road caravanserai of Selim.