Vayots Dzor is one of the most scenic and historically interesting regions of Armenia, centered on the watershed of the Arpa River and its tributaries before they flow SW into Nakhichevan to join the Arax river. Mountainous and sparsely populated, Vayots Dzor (by popular etymology “the Gorge of Woes”) is crowded with medieval monasteries, forts, caves, and camping spots. The uplands have potential hiking/horseback/mountain bike tracks. There are trout in the streams, and wild sheep, bear (protected) and smaller game in the mountains. The marz capital is Yeghegnadzor, a 90-120 minute drive from Yerevan over the usually well-paved N-S highway. Day trips from Yerevan are easy and rewarding. The earliest historically recorded settlement in Vayots Dzor was at Moz, near Malishka, and there are scattered remains of Bronze and Early Iron Age graveyards and “cyclopean” forts (built of large, unworked boulders, as if by Cyclopes) elsewhere. The region flourished most mightily in the 13th-14th centuries, when a series of gifted and pious local rulers managed to coexist with the Mongols and other passing empires. In 1604, the region was depopulated when Shah Abbas of Persia, fighting a series of fierce campaigns against the Ottomans in and over Armenia, forcibly relocated much of the Armenian community to Persia, both to strengthen his own domain economically and to leave scorched earth for the Turks. In 1828, with the Russian conquest, thousands of Armenians emigrated from Persia or Eastern Turkey to resettle the region. Important destinations in Vayos Dzor include Astvatsatsin church of 1321 in Areni, 9-13th c. Karkopi or Khotakerats ("grass-eaters") monastery in Khachik, 13th c. Aghjkaberd fort, S. Astvatsatsin Church of 12th c., with funerary monument of 1009, ruined caravansaray-all in Aghavnadzor area, Noravank Monastery of 13-14th c.13thc. fort of Ertij in Arpi, medieval Vardablur fortress in Gnishik, Shativank monastery in Shatin of 10-17th c., 9th c. fortress of Smbatabert, and Tsakhats Kar ruined monastery of the 9-10th c. in Artabuynk, Monastery of 9-10th c. in Artabuynk, Chibukh Kyorpi bridge of the 14th c. and the tomb of Chesar Orbelian in Hors, khachkar of 1251 in Taratumb, ruines of the 13th c. Mamasi Vank monastery near Karaglukh, ruined Lernantsk caravansaray and the 13-14th c. Selim caravansaray as well as the ruines of the medieval Kapuyt berd fortress near Aghnjadzor, scant remains of medieval Hostun city ruined by volcano and earthquake, khachkars commemorating Orbelian family of the 12-13th c., church of S. Karapet and S. Zorats Cathedral churches of the 13-14th c., Jewish cemetery in and ruines of Gulum Bulaghi Vank monastery of the 13th c. near Yeghegis, monastic center of Hermoni Vank of the 9-17th c near Hermon, Arates Vank monastery of the 7-13th c. near Arates, huge khachkar in Vardahovit, remains of Getikvank and Koturvank monasteries of the 10-13th c. near Getikvank, artificial cave sites in Goghtanik, fortified mound surronded by a cyclopean wall in Yeghegnadzor, remains of Vardani berd fortress of the 9th c. near Gladzor, S.Hakob church of the 17th c. converted into a museum for the Gladzor university in, Tanahati Vank (actual site of the Gladzor university) and Arkazi S. Khach Vank monasteries of the 9-13th c. and Spitakavor S. Astvatsatsin church of the 14th c., as well as Proshaberd or Boloraberd fortress of the 13th c. near Vernashen, 13th c. bridge on Arpa river, abandoned site of Erdes with ruined medieval castle and small church near Agarakadzor, remains of the Moz city ruined by volcano and earthquake in the 8th c., Bronze Age burial ground, an early fort and church of the 7th c. near Malishka, modern S. Trdat church and Paskevich bridge in Vayk, ruines of Smbataberd castle in Azatek, 13th c. khachkars in Zaritap, Large Khachkar of 1283, as well as khachkars of the 10-13th c. and rock-cut S. Astvatsatsin church of 1286 in Martiros, medieval cemetery in Akhta with ram and other animal-shaped tombstones, important shrine/khachkar of 1263 in Gomk, khachkars and inscriptions of the 10-15th c. in Kapuyt, S. Sion monastery of the 8-13th c., S. Gevorg or Chiki Vank church of 1297 in and Kapuyt Berd fortress near Herhercarved  votive  to Saints  Peter  and Paul, set up by Prince Elikum Orbelian in in 1291 in Karmrashen, Gndevank monastery of the 10-17th c. and 11th c. water channel near Gndevaz, 7th c., 13th c. and late medieval churches, medieval bridge in Kechut, hot springs of famous fizzy water, picturesque waterfall and rock formations in Jermuk, 18th c. bridge and cemetery with 10-15th c. khachkars in Artavan, 17 th c. church and medieval gravestones in Saravan.