Stepanavan dendropark or Sochut was established by Polish engineerforester Edmon Leonovich who worked as the director of the botanical garden since 1984. It is the first botanic garden of Armenia.
The Botanical garden is at 12 km from town of Stepanavan (Lori region) and 133 km from Yerevan. It will take approximately 2 hours to reach the place. Unfortunately the last a few kilometers of the road are very old, be careful not to damage your car. Despite this, Dendropark is worth seeing. Both the road to the park and park itself are stunning.
The park area is 1550 meters above the sea level, so the climate is cool. The landscape here is unlike any other part of mountainous Armenia. It’s like you appeared in Ireland for a while.
The botanical garden covers an area of 35 ha, half which is occupied by the natural forest. Dendropark is considered the first natural forest landscape in South Caucasus that was converted into a park. Currently there are over 500 species in the park. As part of an international exchange program many plants were acquired from botanical gardens of Tbilisi, Kiev, Nikitski (Crimea), Saint-Petersburg and Moscow. Later on, specimens were acquired from such countries as the US, Germany, France, China and Portugal. Among the plants that were brought to the park and which found home there are the beautiful and splendid Magnolia, Syberian pine, Larch Larix Decidua, evergreen cypress, Sequoiadendron etc.
It’s important to know, that the park opens at around 10 am and closes at 7 pm. Make sure to leave the park at the mentioned time as afterwards dogs are let into the botanical garden.
They say, miracles happen here in Sochut. There is a small wooden bridge in the park, and it’s believed that if you are crossing it for the first time, then you can make a wish, and it will come true. Maybe you should try, sometimes miracles happen.
The best time to visit the park is the July to November period, because it’s cold in winter and too rainy in spring. Even in summer it’s much cooler in Dendropark than in Yerevan, so don’t forget to take some warm clothes with you.
Take into consideration, that there are no cafés or restaurants here. All you can do is just go to the park, enjoy the time you spend there and return. If you wish to spend more than 1 day at this wonderful place, there is a rest house right near the park called Sochut.
By the way, Odzun temple is not far from the park: It will take only 40 minute drive to get there.
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