Jermuk

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Jermuk is a spa town known for its crisp mountain air, therapeutic mineral springs and scenic nature. Jermuk is located 170 km (106 mi) south-east from Yerevan at an altitude of 2080 m (1.3 mi) above sea level on the banks of Arpa river. The town is surrounded with mountains of up to 3500 m (11500 ft) heights covered with forests and alpine meadows. The town has alpine climate: mild in summers, cold and snowy in long winters. The name “Jermuk” comes from the Armenian word “jerm” meaning “warm” probably alluding to the “warm” natural springs.

Short History

Jermuk is located in historical Syunik province. From medieval times the princes of Syunik have highly valued Jermuk’s mineral hot springs for their healing power. They have built summer residences near the man-made mineral water pools in this location. In Soviet times, starting from 1940, sanatoriums were built positioning Jermuk as a spa town throughout the Soviet territory.

The Legends

According to an old legend a long time ago a hunter scurried in the alpine forests and saw a deer on a distance. He leveled his crossbow on the deer and shot. The deer was wounded but tried to run away straining its remaining forces. The hunter followed not wanting to let it go. Gathering its last strength the deer reached Jermuk’s mineral spring and jumped into it. After a short while, the deer jumped out of the water fully recovered and ran away. Struck with what he saw the experienced hunter went around and told the people about the wonder he had witnessed. The story spread around and the deer who revealed the secret of the healing water became the beloved symbol of Jermuk.

Gndevank Monastery

Gndevank (lit. “Sphere Monastery”) is a 10th-century monastery located 10 km (6.2 mi) away from Jermuk. The monastery was built in years 931 – 938 under the patronage of Queen Sophia. The legend has it that she was out of funds when the construction was about to be finished. Eventually, she sold her sphere-shaped earrings to raise funds for the completion of the construction. So the monastery’s name bears that fact in its name (Goond (Sphere) + vank (monastery)). The monastery is made from a polished basalt stone. From outside it has a form of a cross with a central dome. In 999 an additional building called gavit (narthex) was built.

There are 10th – 16th century khachkars and tombstones on the adjoining territory. Tombstones have engraved hunting scenes (boars, ibex). You can see preserved inscriptions on the rocks. On the southern side of the complex, there is a large dining hall with a basement and supplementary rooms. There are preserved wall paintings. One of those is Jesus Christ on the altar wall. Another fresco is of Mother Mary on the northern wall. There are evangelist reliefs engraved on the pendentives.

How To Get There

There is a road going to the monastery. Landslides have blocked direct vehicle access to the remaining 1.5 km (0.93 mi). It must be made by foot starting from the junction with the old road. There are spring water and tables for a picnic not far from the monastery. Location on Google map.

Jermuk Waterfall

Arpa river spawns a waterfall 70m (230 ft) high. People have likened the waterfall to the long hair of a mermaid and called the waterfall “Hair of Mermaid”. Here’s the original legend:

There was a castle of a prince on the place of the current waterfall. He had a daughter of divine beauty and not surprisingly many young noblemen tried to woo her. She refused to all of them because she was in love with the courageous and handsome son of a shepherd. Every day after midnight she hung a long rope from her window down to the gorge and the young man climbed to his lover. When the prince found out about this affair he broke into a rage and cursed his daughter to become a mermaid and live in water if she were ever to repeat seeing him. That would not stop the girl and the next time she laid her long and beautiful hair out of the window instead of the rope. At that moment her father’s curse came true: she became a mermaid and her hair turned into a wonderful waterfall dropping into the gorge hence the name “Hair of Mermaid”.

Jermuk Hot Springs

Jermuk’s hot springs have many therapeutic and curing qualities. These springs are not only beneficial for people with some dysfunctions but also for healthy people. Bathing in Jermuk hot waters strengthens the immune system and dials down the stress levels.

Almost all hotels and sanatoriums in Jermuk offer hot spring procedures. You don’t have to stay in a hotel to use their hot bath services though. These services are offered for a price separate from the lodging.

How To Get There

On a distance of 1 – 2 km (0.6 – 1.2 mi) there are sulfur hot springs which are no good for drinking but have healing qualities. If you want to get there your best bet is to ask a local for advice.

Jermuk Hotels

Olympia Hotel Sanatorium

Find on Google Map

Phone: +374 287 22366

Hyatt Place Jermuk

Find on Google Map

Phone: +374 60 741234

Hotel Ani

Find On Google Map

Phone: +374 287 21727

Hotel Nairi

Find On Google Map

Phone: +374 287 22008

Armenia Wellness and Spa Hotel

Find On Google Map

Phone: +374 93 155555

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