Բարի Գալուստ Դիլիջանում (Bari Galust Dilijanum)! Welcome to Dilijan!
Dilijan, the development center of Northern Armenia, has been chosen as the host city for the 27th edition of the Eurovision Memories Song Contest. AraratTV reviewed applications from Yerevan, Gyumri, Jermuk, Sevan, Stepanakert and Dilijan; but ultimately decided on the latter one to stage the show, even in spite of many rumours that the contest would come back to Yerevan (the Armenian capital city, that hosted EM02).
Dilijan (pronounced Dee-lee-john/djahn) is a beautiful town of a bit less than 15 600 inhabitants located in the province of Tavush, 68 kilometers northeast of Yerevan, and 108 kilometers south of Tbilisi (Georgian capital). With an altitude of 1500 meters above sea level, it boasts a perfect microclimate that earned it the nickname of "the Armenian Switzerland". The summers are cool, the fall is beautiful thanks to the forested surroundings, and the winter is perfect for skiing in the alpine mountains that encircle the town. It is renowned for several other reasons as well:
- It is one of the most important resorts of Armenia.
- It is surrounded by a forest reserve, classified as a National Park.
- It is the home of numerous Armenian artists, composers and filmmakers.
- It features some traditional Armenian architecture.
- From 2013, it will be the country's financial capital (the headquarters of the Central Bank are already located there).
- Its microclimate makes it a zone with a favorable oxygen regimen, unique landscape features and curative mineral water.
Its stone and wood buildings blend almost perfectly with the beautiful reserve that surrounds the town; the zone itself has served as inspiration for many artists and retreat for lots of people from surrounding countries. It lies in a mountainous valley of the Aghstev River, totally encircled by forested mountains that have alpine meadows on their tops.
With its size, Dilijan will become the smallest city ever to host the Eurovision Memories Song Contest.
How to get there?
International guests, artists and staff may arrive to one of the nearest airports: either the Zvartnots International Airport (Yerevan, Armenia) or the Tbilisi Airport (Tbilisi, Georgia). These airports have connections with most of the important European airports, but the busiest routes (hence, the more affordable) are from Paris and Moscow to Yerevan (via Armavia).
If you arrive to Tbilisi, you must take the E-117 Route towards Marneuli/Sarvan (K. 44), before taking the E-001 Route until you get to Bagratashen Bridge (K.76) which marks the border between Georgia and Armenia. Then, its name will transform to M-6. You'll go by several Armenian important cities, like Alaverdi (K.116) and Vanadzor (K.161), where you'll have to take the M-8 route. Finally, after 197 kilometers, you'll get to Dilijan.
If you arrive to Yerevan, the M-4 route will take you through 100 kilometers of great sceneries, including the cities of Hrazdan and Sevan, and the famous Lake Sevan. Buses, taxis and minivans cover this route, specially those going towards the Northeastern city of Ijevan. On the road, prior to you arrival to Dilijan, you will be surrounded by a thick forest and some roadside shops that sell apples, sour plums and pears... Or you can take them from the forest yourself!
As soon as you arrive to Dilijan, you'll be breathing an oxygen-rich air that smells like pine and oak trees; and you'll be tasting crisp water that comes from natural mountain springs. Forest wildlife includes bear, wolf, rabbit, hedgehog, weasel and tons of birds. You might spot one on your way to the town!
What to do?
Dilijan is the perfect place for spa tourism and ecotourism, so don't expect a busy nightlife and lots of urban traits. Just don't. Dilijan's city centre is the Old Town, marked by Sharambeyan Street: here you can find every bulding with the traditional Armenian architecture and style; and they are home to several hotels, craftsmen workshops, inns, cafés, a gallery and even a museum (complete with 3000-year-old archaeological bronze items)! If you're more of an adventurous kind of person; you can hike or bike in the Dilijan National Park... You'll be rewarded with breathtaking views, rich biodiversity and medicinal mineral water springs.
There's not a lack of restaurants, so you can enjoy the best Armenian and Georgian delicacies. But remember too that you would never starve.... Whenever someone enters an Armenian household, they must be welcomed with a meal and a drink (most likely vodka, this time of the year). A sweet kind of lavash is common in this area.
Inside the city, besides visiting the Old Swiss-like City that is the reason of Dilijan's nickname; you can visit the villas and memorials nearby. Or you could just enjoy the tranquility of the Getap Café.
Near Dilijan you can find the monasteries of Haghartsin, Goshavank, Jukhtak Vank and Matosavank; must-see places for their architectural and artistic value, besides their beautiful views and their collection of khachkars. There's also the option to visit some Molokan villages, in the highway towards Vanadzor.
What to take as souvenir?
The best souvenirs from Dilijan are the local-made crafts that you can get in the shops of Sharambeyan Street (above left image). In fact, you'll most likely find them crafting their next work when you visit them. The Revik wood working studio is a must-see; and there are several painting workshops that could be fun. There's also an special type of carpet that could look amazingly good in your home. On the other hand, the new Central Bank Center (above right image) is currently opening its doors to modern businesses that could have what you want.
However, the best souvenirs are the memories you'll take with you. It's all your choice!
Where to stay?
The participating delegations will stay in the luxurious Best Western Paradise Hotel (above left image), with all the necessary facilities to make their stay memorable. The fans and other involved people can stay in one of the many inns, hotels or villas inside and around the town (above right image). Or, as many tourists do, you could stay in Yerevan and make one-day escapades. The offer is enough to host all the EM-related visitors.
Welcome to Dilijan! We hope you enjoy EM27 here the way you deserve it!
Բարի գալուստ Դիլիջանում. Մենք հույս ունենք, որ դուք վայելեք EM27 այստեղ կարգով դուք արժանի այն!