Vardenyats (Selim) Pass IBA

Ortolan Bunting, White-throated Robin, Citrine Wagtail, Long-legged Buzzard, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Rock Thrush, Hoopoe, Common Rosefinch, Twite, Linnet, Black-headed Bunting, Red-backed Shrike and many other passerines can be seen while traversing the route.

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Vardenyats (Selim) Pass IBA (Important Bird Area)

The Vardenyats Pass (2410m) climbs through the Vardenis Mountains and provides access to Lake Sevan. The winding mountain road and hairpin turns provide breathtaking views of the surrounding steep rocky hill sides and lead to the highland steppe just beyond the pass.

Ortolan Bunting, White-throated Robin, Citrine Wagtail, Long-legged Buzzard, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Rock Thrush, Hoopoe, Common Rosefinch, Twite, Linnet, Black-headed Bunting, Red-backed Shrike and many other passerines can be seen while traversing the route.

After crossing through the pass, the grass-lined hills of the highland steppe are home to Ruddy Shelduck and sometimes Snowfinch. Lesser White-fronted Goose is a spring migrant in this area.

At the halfway point sits the Orbelyan Caravansarai, a trading post and rest stop for travelers built in 1332 by Prince Chesar Orbelian on the Great Silk Road. For information about this caravanserai, please visit this BSSRC page.

This is the best preserved caravanserai in Armenia and a great example of secular Armenian architecture during the Middle Ages. Constructed of basalt blocks, a central hall with narrow side aisles housed animals while traders slept in a separate room on one side of the caravanserai. High relief of a winged creature and winged bull are on either side above the main entry.

Oculi in the ceiling let light and fresh air in, while allowing smoke out. An inscription in Armenian and Farsi refers to Prince Chesar founding the caravanserai in 1332 under the rule of Busaid Khan. Rock Sparrow, Bluethroat and Water Pipit, Linnets, Twites, Stonechats and Whinchats can be seen at the Caravanserai.


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    How to reach From Yerevan, take M4 highway toward Sevan city. Just before Sevan city, take M10 highway and drive SE for 65 km along the lake toward Martuni. In Martuni, turn south on M10 and drive another 26km to reach the Vardenyats Pass. The trip will take approximately 2 hours.

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