This wonderful land presents a lot of incredible landscapes that must be visited conjugated with its cultural, historical, religious, archaeological, culinary, social (perhaps the most important of all) richness that make this place a hidden treasure.
First of all, you should be aware of the opportunities the government provides starting with the tourist buses. Passenger transportation is running from Stepanakert on four different routes.
1. Gandzasar - Nikol Duman’s house-museum;
2. “Tnjri” tree - Togh's Aquapark;
3. “Hounot Canyon" reserve;
4. Mayraberd fortress - Tigranakert;
The buses are available daily except Mondays. They depart from the Renaissance square. Tickets can be purchased from the Tourist Information Center from 9 am till 6 pm excluding the lunch break. The highest ticket price is 250 AMD (0.5 USD).
Secondly, there are a number of events during this summer that will make your stay more pleasant and enjoyable.
To begin with, one of the highlights will be the “Artsakh Air Fest”. This is meant to be one of the most colorful events of the year in which you will increase your adrenaline and it will make you feel closer to the sun. But beyond that, you will be amazed at the breathtaking panoramas of Artsakh that you will see from the sky. After all, you can take your mobiles or go-pros to take bird's-eye view photos. This year the event is organized for the third time. The air show, airplanes, hot air balloons and paratrikes will take off to the air from the modernized Stepanakert Airport. At night, famous Armenian DJs will cheer you up with their thrilling beats.
Moreover, in Tigranakert an Armenian festival, the feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ mostly known as “Vardavar”, where people drench each other with water will be celebrated. The meaning is because of the 14 weeks anniversary after Easter, the Resurrection Day. The history of the festival dates back to the pagan times. It is associated with Armenian goddess Astghik, goddess of love and fertility. It’s also one of the most beloved and anticipated days of the summer. Vardavar has the important role of gathering family members. This celebration has no age restriction, you can easily see an old man pouring water over someone and the opposite, a young even a child, playing this fun game. So, remember no explanation can save you from not getting wet, no running and escaping, young ones can get you, no matter how hard you try to escape. If they already get you stand still, keep your phone, money or wallet and enjoy it. Sure you can take a bucket full of water and answer them in the same way.
Additionally, the Seventh Pan-Armenian Summer Games, scheduled for August 5 to 17, will be conducted in both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) to host young compatriots from different diaspora communities across the globe. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the games. The solemn opening and the first three days of the competition will be conducted in Nagorno-Karabakh's capital, Stepanakert. The sporting event will then continue in Yerevan.
Thirdly, this one is an ideal place for active leisure lovers. Off-road tours in Artsakh is a healthy dose of adrenaline and enthusiasm. Reaching impassable or even missing mountain roads on the edge of huge gorges by all-terrain vehicles, Artsakh will surprise you with its wonderful landscapes. Just imagine yourself as you drive along a shallow river or ascend a mountain overcoming all obstacles to reach the top. Off-road tours are serviced by experienced drivers who have many years of practice in this field. However, if you wish you can drive yourself, trying personally to reach inaccessible places. On the other hand, since Artsakh is a country of high-altitude monasteries along with secret spots, hiking is a must because sometimes you can only reach on foot on the paths, through alpine meadows, climbing to the high mountain peaks, passing through the sparkling mountain lakes under the sunlight. Here on the way, you will meet drinking mountain springs, incredible landscapes, bottomless canyons, and waterfalls.
On the road, you can make unique pictures, collect wildflowers, watch birds and feel the spirit of Artsakh mountains. And if you take a tent with you, then at night you will open an incredible star observatory in the open air. In addition, going on a bicycle tour around the Republic of Artsakh, you should not be afraid of water shortage, nature itself will treat you with rocky clean water, and in the summer you can cool in the lakes, rest on the green meadows under the sparkling rays of the sun. On the way, you will meet people from nearby villages, where you can stop at will. Guests are offered delicious food and home-made drinks. If you like fishing we can tell you that the most popular reservoirs for fishing are the Sarsang reservoir, the Tartar and Karkar rivers. Here live more than 10 species of different fish, including trout. Moreover, you can enjoy real Armenian khorovats (barbeque) in nature. The fishing season in Artsakh opens from the beginning of March to the end of October. Do you want to plunge into this atmosphere? The Artsakh Republic is looking forward to you.
Lastly, you should definitely know that Artsakh is going to give you the chance to meet local people in the “Shuka” market and acknowledge what most of the travelers in blogs described as a: - “Farmer's market style where you will find delicious fruits of the season, fresh vegetables, spices, some hand made small artwork, and in a few locations the smell of freshly baked zhingalov hats will attract you. It is a specialty of Artsakh that you must try. I was told they use a minimum of seven Herbs (some say up to 21) to prepare this very healthy and delicious bread. It is dough stuffed with mint, cilantro, parsley, tarragon, rosemary, oregano, savory or whatever in season cooked in a metal dome skillet. Enjoy it with a glass of Artsakh Red wine with local food”. To conclude with, you can visit the Renaissance Square and appreciate its concerts coincidentally with its family lifestyle, ending with the fabulous nightlife in the local pubs from the city of Stepanakert where you can have beers, local wine, several drinks, lots of laughs, including making new friends and listening to the most catching stories their people keep with them.