Health hotels in Armenia: from Yerevan to Jermuk

Luxury Travel Tips

I have never come to Armenia in summer. And she never flew to Armenia early in the morning: when Ararat is already gently blushing only with the awakened dawn, but the sun has not yet risen over the mountains.

On the plane, upon arrival, they accidentally knock over a bottle of water on me – I get a little angry, but I mutter under my breath: “You wanted to get to Vardavar (the local festival of pouring water) – here, get it.”

I stand in line at passport control, look at people’s faces and read their stories. The screen in the hall meets with cognac and vines. At the exit, of course, a tent with flowers: Yerevan without flowers is not Yerevan. Flower tents are everywhere and work even at night. Often, walking around the city at night, I noticed how men approached the tents and bought armfuls of roses.

Well, barev (in Armenian – “hello”), Yerevan! Let’s see how you are in summer.

A taxi takes me to Cross Resort, a resort 20 minutes from Yerevan.

A huge territory, comfortable cottages that have everything you need, including a kitchen and even books on the shelves, cozy terraces from which you don’t want to leave, listening to the silence and admiring the apricot trees and the rose garden – all this is the Cross Resort hotel in Yerevan.

On its territory there is also a sports complex and the Cross Health Center – a project of the Armenian Red Cross Society and the International Federation of the Red Crescent. This is the only rehabilitation center in Armenia, as well as in the CIS countries and the Middle East. Massages and mud therapy, kinesiotherapy and hydrotherapy, reflex and electrotherapy, 2 swimming pools (outdoor with a cafe-bar, and indoor), sauna, gyms for classes – all this makes rest in the Cross Resort an excellent health resort for both body and body. souls.

Three days at the Cross Resort go by quickly. But the Yerevan heat is a little tiring, and I decide to go to the mineral springs in the resort city of Jermuk – local doctors also recommend this to me for my hand, which I came to heal.

Jermuk is a city nestled in a picturesque plateau at an altitude of 1980-2080 meters above sea level. High mountain ranges, alpine meadows and dense forests, in which foxes, hares, badgers and even bears live), the air is clean and filled with the smell of flowers. This part of Armenia was very loved by many Armenian classics, William Saroyan wrote: “The Armenian world is a real paradise, and Jermuk is its crown.”

The name Jermuk comes from the word “jerm”, which means warm. There are more than 500 thermal springs in the city, the water of which contains carbon dioxide, sodium, sulfate, bicarbonate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fluorine in small quantities. They are used for both drinking and bathing, providing therapeutic treatment for diseases such as liver disease, digestive organs, metabolic and nervous systems, and many other chronic diseases. In terms of its chemical composition, the water of the city of Jermuk is very similar to the waters of Karlovy Vary.

I drive in the heat from Yerevan to Jermuk (175 km from the capital) and check into the five-star Armenia Wellness & Spa, one of the best local health centers in the country. Armenia Wellness&Spa has two buildings. The advantage of the main building made of gray tuff is that it houses all the doctors, treatment rooms, a swimming pool, a fitness room and a cafe.

And in the second building made of pink tuff (located 150 meters from the main building) there are larger rooms and balconies overlooking the mountains. I choose it, open the door to the balcony and … meet the rain. I take it inside, inhale the smell of rain-beaten dust and wet asphalt, the sun reflects in the puddles. In sunny Armenia – and the rain is sunny.

Having rested from the road, I go for a walk around Jermuk, breathing clean and tasty air with pleasure.

At the stall with the sign “Coffee Grinder” a man smokes. There is no one in the stall: only loud music plays and bees fly inside.
— Will you make me some coffee?
“Yes, jan girl, but now it’s not possible – the bees have entered the stall, and I have an allergy …
– How long ago did you enter?
– Just. It is necessary that a brave person enter there and make coffee – then they will fly away, they do not like coffee.
– How do they not like it if they entered the stall? It smells like coffee!
– They flew at me – because I’m sweet!

I want. Such dialogues in the style of Frunze Mkrtchan in Armenia are at every turn. An Armenian Mickey Mouse with a magnificent chest walks around the pond, a gravity cafe with music from the 90s spins on the water, there are automatic machines from our childhood. Nostalgia for the romance of the Soviet Union is healed in Jermuk for all 100. There are few such corners of childhood left, but they exist, and for this special thanks to them.

After lunch, I meet with my general practitioner – the most charming Venera Artemovna Voskanyan prescribes an excellent course of treatment for me: spring water and mineral baths, oxygen cocktails, electrical stimulation, peat pillows, chamomile inhalation, swimming and exercises, massages, circular showers and Vichy showers, reflexology (walking on stones), hydromassage of gums and other procedures. Procedures are entered in my green spa book every day, and I go for them between meals and walks around Jermuk. Jermuk is small, but even in a week I did not have time to see everything.

Before each meal, the doctor prescribes me to drink 45-degree mineral water, and I go to the Jermuk Gallery to get it. Everything here is very similar to the galleries of Kislovodsk: vacationers walk around with special mugs, glasses, filling them with water of different temperatures.

Paintings by a local artist, Hayk Shahbazyan, are hung throughout the gallery. We talked with him. Hayk shows me pictures and tells me: “When God revealed to me… when such worlds open…”. And he looks at me with his radiant eyes, in which I see the Soul and its light. During the week in Jermuk, Hayk-jan and I became very good friends. I visited his workshop, saw how fairies and angels fly out from under his brushes and settle among the flowers, listened to the amazing melodies that he masterfully performed on the old piano. And in parting, Hayk-jan even gave me his painting, made in his author’s technique using ground volcanic stone. One day, visitors to the gallery told him that they heard music from his stone paintings. I was not surprised – I knew that the stones sing. I was told this a few years ago by the Sardinian sculptor Pinuccio Xola, who makes musical instruments out of stones. Visiting his stone garden, I listened to the stones sing, and tears flowed down my cheeks – I never thought that there was so much love in the stones. And Shola looked at me and smiled, rejoicing that I saw both him and the soul stones. Pinuccio is no longer alive, but meeting him and his art is one of the brightest sound experiences of my life.

For 6 days in Armenia Welness & Spa, there was no trace of pain in my arm, and without that, a healthy appetite increased significantly. Every day I was faced with the temptations of the buffet from the chef of the restaurant, who prepares delicious, including dietary dishes of Armenian cuisine. I barely had enough to limit myself to the radius of the plate, but when it came to sweet … Dogwood jam, raspberry, strawberry, white cherry, walnut, mulberry and thyme tea became my daily sweet meditation.

After 6 days of treatment, I decide to give myself a day of beauty and relaxation and move across the road to the 4.5 * Grand Resort Jermuk. You can also undergo treatment here. In addition to the procedures that I underwent at Armenia Wellness & Spa, there are also reflex, and gerudo, and hydrokinesiotherapy.

“Hydrokinesiotherapy is the most effective treatment for the spine,” Ashkhen Sardaryan, the head physician of the clinic, tells me, “because gravity does not work in the pool, the spine relaxes, and all the vertebrae return to their normal position with the help of exercises that our specialist develops for each patient. It also creates a muscular frame and improves blood microcirculation and cartilage metabolism. We also offer very high quality paraffin and mud baths. Armenia has a lot of its own mud, but while research into their composition is underway, we use mud from the Dead Sea. The minimum treatment is 7 days, the maximum is 15 days.

It is a pity that I have time to complete this course as well, but I plan to return. Would like to return here. In the meantime, I pamper myself at the SPA, whose programs offer body detoxification, weight management, stress relief and many other options. I opt for face and body massages with pomegranate oil, Vichy showers and algae wraps, facials with dead sea mud, aromatherapy and mineral baths, and in the evening I relax in the sauna and jacuzzi.

Grand Resort Jermuk also offers several meal plans, both half board and a la carte at the Gallery Restaurant. And in the bar at any time you can enjoy cocktails and coffee.

The hotel has everything you need for the comfort of guests: from a children’s room to a billiard room, and from a beauty salon to … a church! The church overlooking Jermuk is located on the top floor of the hotel. Armenia is a country that adopted Christianity at the beginning of the 4th century (in 301) and became the first Christian state in the world. Therefore, Christian traditions are sacredly revered here.

What else to do in Jermuk?

– Walk through the park with stone sculptures scattered around it;

– Visit the churches of St. Gayane, Gndevank and St. Trdat;
– Climb the cable car up the mountain and look at Jermuk from a bird’s eye view, find thistles and a lonely poppy, open up to the winds and chill, warm up with khash (khash season begins in Armenia in autumn, but there is always khash on the mountains to keep warm);

— Go for a walk to the waterfall “Mermaid’s Hair” and the stone gorge bordering it;

– Swim in a geyser;

– Drive a jeep to the crater of the dormant Vayots Sar volcano.

Meeting with a dormant volcano is a special meeting. As if punishing himself for the force that once destroyed everything around him, he calmed down, blocked it inside him. In the bed of the once lava-erupting crater, purple willow-herb, yellow dried flowers and blue thorns now bloom, it smells of wormwood, and there is a small temple made of volcanic stones, and a spring.

I remember the Little Prince. His planet “had two active volcanoes. They are very convenient in the morning to warm up breakfast. In addition, he had another extinct volcano.”

I embrace an extinct volcano with love. I think he’s good. He has his own spring, temple, flowers, snakes that live in a pile of stones. I take with me as a keepsake a few, light as a feather, volcanic stones and a slightly bitter sprig of wormwood.

In the evening, I just sit on my balcony and look at the starry sky.

— Have you seen our Armenian stars? an Armenian asks me from a nearby balcony.

I’m smiling. Once in Moscow, an Armenian taxi driver told me that Adam and Eve were also Armenians, and there is confirmation of this in one of the Armenian museums. He probably meant the petroglyphs of Adam and Eve on the Ukhtasar plateau.

“Yes, Armenian stars are really very beautiful…” I answer.

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