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Protection of steppe lakes and wetlands in the Arax valley

Ecotourism is a developing type of tourism based on the protection of natural areas.

Armenian branch of NABU with the support of the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA conducted the works on installation of ecotrail in the territory of Khor Virap, situated at the foot of Biblical Mount Ararat with the aim to develop ecotourism in Ararat region. The area has several attractions: the monastery complex of Khor Virap, the ruins of the ancient capital of Armenia - Artashat and the Khor Virap State Sanctuary. Near 50 hectares of wetland is designated as an international conservation area under the Ramsar Convention. The site is important for over 100 species of migratory waterbirds.

NABU surveyed this in the territory with the aim to establish the eco-trail. The trail first leads to the hill, through a dry, stony semi-desert. The footpath then turns left, towards the Khor Virap State Sanctuary wetland edge. Many species of water birds can be seen here. The footpath turns left again, towards to the ancient Artashat ruins. The observation point on the top of the hill offers a spectacular view to Khor Virap State Sanctuary wetland. Pass then it turns left through dry landscape. The trail ends on the hill at the starting point.

Along the trail, 7 information boards were established which described the main ecosystems, State reserve and the ruins of ancient Artashat, and 6 information tables where the flora and fauna of the semi-desert zone and wetlands were represented.

NABU also organized the work on clearing the territory from garbage by forces of volunteers from the Yerevan State University and Lusarat village.

NABU-Armenia will continue conservation work in the region, as well as development of ecotourism in Khor Virap.