Tumanyan (also often referred to by the old name of Dzaghidzor) is in Northern Armenia. The cute little town has a nice town square which has stunning views of the Debed Gorge's cliffs. The town square holds the quirky little Tumanyan Matchbox Label Museum, and the Soviet-themed Flying Samovar Cafe.
The town was founded during the Soviet period and some of the town is said to have been built by German prisoners-of-war. The neat little rows of houses, and polished town square speak to the once prosperous past of the city. Multiple stairways climb through the town, connecting the streets for pedestrians. Unemployment and emigration have been massive issues since the collapse of the USSR closed the clothing factory and the massive industrial ceramic factory, which together once employed almost everyone in the town. The population may have dropped to 1/3 of its high at the end days of the USSR.
Although the name officially changed to Tumanyan in 1951, locals in the region are still about as likely to call it by the previous name of Dzaghidzor (gorge of flowers) as they are to call it Tumanyan.
There is a shared taxi providing door to door service from Yerevan to Tumanyan (or the reverse) for 1500 dram. Seats should be booked at least 24 hours in advance. 091-511-811, 096-02-49-49, 077-97-49-49.
A public transport van goes to Vanadzor every day of the week in the morning at 09:00, and departs for Tumanyan again from Vanadzor at 14:00 at the main bus station.
A public transport van goes to Alaverdi each weekday in the morning and returns later in the day.
The central part of town is where most visitors will stick to and is quite easy to get around on foot.
- 1 Kobayr Monastery. A 40-minute walk from the center of Tumanyan to this monastery on the cliffs, with its stunning frescoes and carvings. See the Northern Armenia page for details.
- 1 Tumanyan Matchbox Label Museum, 2nd Street, building 6 (Located in the town square). Quirky little museum with thousands and thousands of matchbox labels from all over the world. The labels come from different decades, with designs and themes that give an interesting perspective into their time and places. Free.
The following are some of the recommended trails connecting to Tumanyan:
- Odzun to Kobayr and Tumanyan. A spectacular hike along the canyon cliffs with great views, especially during afternoon hours. It goes by Horomayri Monastery, built against the cliffs, and then Kobayr, with beautiful frescoes and a spring inside one of the churches. Start your descend down the trail directly from Odzun. 6-7 km, 2 hr.
- Tumanyan to Dsegh. Pass the beautiful lost-feeling ruins of Surb Grigori Bardzrakash monastery on your way up the cliffs to the plain upon which Dsegh lies.
- Tumanyan to Tsater. Hike under and along the cliffs, starting at Tumanyan, and making your way up to Tsater, with stunning views of multiple river valleys along the way. A huge ancient trough fed by a spring coming out of a tunnel, and a cute chapel abutting the cliffs are found just under the village cliffs of Tsater, which also has a small old church with an interesting little bell tower of its own.
- 1 Artemi Guesthouse, 2nd Street, house 5. 3 bedroom guesthouse in central Tumanyan with guest use of kitchen. Includes breakfast, and owner can make other meals upon request. Owner lives off premises nearby.