This is Dilijan
, one of the best resort towns of Armenia. Dilijan has a mild climate with a moderately cool summer and a warm and sunny winter, air heady with ozone, and mineral springs which are said to be as health-giving as the waters of Vichy in France. Because of all these qualities Dilijan works miracles with people who come here for treatment and rest. There are several health and holiday facilities here for adults and children.
Dmitry Shostakovich, the composer, used to come to
Dilijan for holidays. It was here that he composed two quartets, and music for the film version of Hamlet along with other pieces. Other celebrities who have visited the composers' holiday hotel in Dilijan were Aram Khachaturyan, Benjamin Britten and Arno Babadzhanyan. For those who are interested in history and medieval architecture, Dilijan holds quite a few attractions. One of them is the Haghardzin Monastery
(10th-13 th centuries). It is to be found about seven kilometres up a stream which falls into the Agstev River to the northwest of the town.
The monastery may be described as a school of architecture. It took about 300 years to build with every generation of architects adding on new structures so tactfully that they enhanced and blended with the design of their predecessors and the natural surroundings. The Church of St. Gregory
(10th century) was the earliest structure to be built in the monastery and it is striking for its wealth of architectural elements and its bas-reliefs. The Church of St. Stepanos
was built in 1244. Its forms are in many ways repeated in the Cathedral of the Mother of God
(1281)—the main structure of the monastery, a classical Armenian pendentive with elaborate and intricate ornaments.
(1248) is believed to be the most original building in the Haghardzin Monastery, and is counted among the best specimens of lay architecture of the Middle Ages. The talented architect Minas managed to make the 20-metre-long hall look enormous and its comparatively low ceiling look higl because of its cross vaulting. The refectory was intended for receiving visitors and pilgrims. Many centuries have passed since the noise of the chisel on stone was first heard in these remote parts. The grandeur of Haghardzin is now a thing of the past, but once you see this creation of the human spirit and hands, it will stay with you for the rest of your life. Another monastery, Nor-Ghetik
or Goshavank, is situated to the east of Lake Parzlich, 10 kilometres away from Dilijan. It was named in honour of its founder, the great medieval scholar and writer Mhitai Gosh (1120-1213).