Top places in Dilijan: what to see, what to do, and where to go?

The city park and the artificial lake

Dilijan is a perfect place for long walks, reflections, creativity, and a fresh start. In this small city, you can find whatever you like no matter what type of holiday you prefer, for how long you come to visit. One of the top places in Dilijan is the city park and the artificial lake. This is one of the main recreational areas, which is so loved by locals and tourists that it has become associated with the city center. Here you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea at Cafe #2, ride a bike, take part in various events, take photos with the monument to the heroes of the film "Mimino" and try the same legendary Dilijan water, which was so praised by the hero of the film Frunzik Mkrtchyan. You can also buy memorable handmade souvenirs. Finally, the city park and the area around Dilijan Lake are great places for walking with our family, and loved ones, or just walking alone.

Dilijan Tourist Information Center is located in the park zone, where you can get all the necessary information about the city, and recreation areas, as well as rent bicycles, tents, and other tourist equipment.

On the territory of the city park, there is the biggest rope park VereV in Armenia, a basketball court, and recreation areas for families with children.

In 2018, the Initiatives for Development of Armenia (IDeA) Foundation started the revival and modernization of the city park of Dilijan. This is one manifestation of the IDeA Foundation's long-term vision, according to which Dilijan will be transformed into a center of culture, education, healthcare, and tourism.

The craftsmen's street and the old town

Are you fond of medieval, narrow streets? If so, then in the very heart of Dilijan there is a real old quarter, which stands out with its authentic architecture, medieval-style signs, workshops, and souvenir shops. This is Sharambeyan Street, where the hotel complex Old Dilijan Tufenkian is located.

Here you can not only take wonderful photos and buy souvenirs but also sign up for master classes in ceramics and woodcarving.

The sidestreets of Dilijan and the revival of traditions

Houses built in a traditional, old style dating back to the XIX century can be found not only on Sharambeyan Street. Traditional houses in the so-called "Dilijan style" are characterized by open balconies and verandas with slender skillfully crafted wooden columns and architraves, as well as roofs covered with red tiles, harmoniously fit into the landscape of the city. Moreover, in addition to the aesthetic effect, these houses with openwork balconies and magnificent wood carvings have a unique cultural significance in Armenia, where the main architectural material is stone, not wood.

Such houses are preserved in the old quarter of Dilijan, Papanino. It should be noted that the Papanino area before Dilijan acquired the city status was a Molokan settlement, which also influenced the architectural style of local buildings.

Samples of folk architecture can also be found on Myasnikyan, Kalinin, and Lermontov Streets ("qarami qucha"). Unfortunately, many houses aren’t preserved or are in a dilapidated state. The preserved houses have been reconstructed into studios, souvenir shops, and authentic restaurants. Moreover, there was a tendency to revive the ancient building traditions. When building new houses or restoring the old ones, local traditions of wooden architecture are taken into account. If you pay attention to the new bus stops in the city, you’ll notice that all of them are also made of wood.

The city center and the Soviet heritage

After Dilijan received the status of a resort city of republican subordination in 1958, an active improvement of the urban environment began. In addition to the recreational area, the main sight of which was the artificial lake, a new administrative center was also created. Administrative buildings were constructed in a modernist style, which was at the peak of popularity at that time (by the way, the Armenian architects of that time were distinguished by bold decisions and contributed not only to the Soviet but also to world architecture). It consisted of the Palace of Culture, the building of the city council of the Communist Party of Armenia, the communication house, the cinema, the city library, and the department store. The final chord of the administrative center was the monument to Lenin.

Unfortunately, now most of the buildings of the administrative center need careful reconstruction and modernization while maintaining their own, modernist style and the author's concepts. For instance, some buildings like the cinema building ceased to work for the purpose intended.

The Local Lore Museum and Art Gallery of Dilijan

The Local Lore museum of Dilijan gives a complete picture of the history, geographical features, life, and culture of Dilijan. It’s a time machine, thanks to which you can travel to the late Eneolithic era or the exquisite urban interiors of the XIX century intelligentsia. You can also check out the unusual ornaments on jewelry and ancient household items, as well as witness the uniqueness of the techniques of Armenian carpet weaving, pottery, and other crafts.

Fine arts enthusiasts should visit the Art gallery, featuring paintings not only by famous Armenian artists but also by world-famous foreign ones.

The museum also hosts specialized workshops for visitors of all ages.

The Museum-Workshop of Ashot Babayan

A real wooden fairy tale, which turned into reality thanks to the skillful hands of master Ashot Babayan. He was born and raised in Dilijan, in this very house. The turning point in the master’s life was the birth of his grandson, after that he first picked up a tree and began to create. It is almost impossible to count the number of exhibits. Here you can find Danko's heart, and Genie's lamp, and hundreds of other bizarre works. According to the master, each work carries its unique message, he does everything for a reason.

Here you can also find Vasilisa's house with a magic arch, which has turned into a true landmark of the city. For those who haven’t yet found a life partner, Ashot recommends walking under this arch and making a wish. It will surely come true if you sincerely believe in it. 

Entrance to the workshop is free. Ashot believes that people relax in this place and can wander here for hours. After all, the atmosphere here is unique.


Another original art studio was founded in 2008 by Dilijan artists Arman Badeyan and Margarita Malkhasyan.

According to Arman, they were inspired to create the workshop by the picturesque nature, as well as the rich cultural heritage of the city and the works of other Dilijan artists. As part of the Buduart project, Arman has launched a copper jewelry line that draws the aesthetics of the oldest jewelry kept in the Dilijan Local Lore Museum.

Here visitors can take part in master classes in jewelry making, batik, and drawing.

Excursion to the Museum of Money

The Dilijan Training and Research Center of the Central Bank of Armenia holds excursions to the Museum of the History of the Armenian National Currency, which is dram. The exhibition hall presents coins dating back to the 4th century BC, coins from the Artashesid dynasty, Cilician Armenia, and banknotes from the times of the First Republic.

Visitors also have a unique opportunity to see rare coins of the era of Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire, the Arab Caliphate, etc.

The exposition also includes commemorative coins issued by the Central Bank of Armenia and dedicated to significant political and cultural events in the country. And one can enjoy a wonderful view of the city from the open terrace in a neo-modern style of the training and research center.

"Rotonda" and the new amphitheater

At the end of the XIX century, Dilijan residents at their own expense built a summer theater "Rotonda" in a picturesque corner of the city. In 1905, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the playwright Gabriel Sundukyan, his play “Pepo” was staged here for the first time, which was attended by famous figures of Armenian culture. Theatrical troupes of Tbilisi, Baku, and Alexandropol performed with tours in Dilijan. Unfortunately, in 1948 the summer theater was closed, but, according to local residents, the summer theater continued to serve as a place for informal meetings, concerts, and art. Now there are ruins left from the "Rotonda", which keep the historical memory of those times.

In 2009, by the decision of the city authorities, an amphitheater was built in the center of Dilijan (author Nver Danielyan), which is a tribute to the cultural traditions of the city, in particular, theatrical culture. The new amphitheater is built in an exquisite style and resembles an architectural complex of the ancient era rather than a modern building.

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