Sisian is a city in Southern Armenia. It is a pleasant if unremarkable town, always cooler than Yerevan. It is a good base to visit Ughtasar mountain, and the thousands of petroglyphs on top. A river runs through the town, which has an ancient church called Sisavan on top of a small rise in the center.
Minibus (marshutni), taxi, car.
Walking around town is easy enough.
Sasun Baghdasaryan ☎093821472 It is so difficult to just arrive here and get the best people for the job without lots of luck or really good research. His vehicle is well-kept and in good shape.. Sasun is knowledgeable on the history and ecology of the area around the glyphs. Often, he is the one sought out by university researchers when they visit the site. His English is pretty good....better than most. He is able to tell us a lot about just about everything.
Ughtasar Petroglyphs. Mountaintop is literally littered with petroglyphs, with up to 10 or 20 on some boulders. People, animals, dancing, hunting and designs that are 5 to 8,000 years old! Only can visit July-September due to snow, and drive up mountain takes hours, so spending the night in Sisian might be worthwhile.
Zorats Karer (Stonehenge). Just off the highway by one of the roads to Sisian, Zorats Karer is Armenia's older and cruder answer to Stonehenge in England. Big rocks, some with holes carved in the tops, form a couple of overlapping ovals.
Shaki Waterfall. A nice place for a picnic on a hot day, you'll have to pay them to turn the waterfall on full blast. No, seriously, most of the water is normally diverted to generate electricity, so you'll have to make up the difference! (it's quite affordable, actually)
Vorotnavank Monastery. Down the river from Sisian, about a half an hour (due to road conditions, not due to distance) is the fortified monastery of Vorotnavank. Rarely visited by foreigners, it's a quiet and interesting monastery.
Aghudi Memorial. This centuries-old Armenian memorial is a few stories high and a bit out of the ordinary. Right on the road to Vorotnavank Monastery.
Shamb Hotsprings. A bit past Vorotnavank Monastery, and not really all that hot, it's a popular place for locals to go swimming, and a picturesque spot.
Bike, hike, swim, explore.
The art school has some kids arts and crafts on sale sometimes, and Ashot, the well known local painter who is heavily influenced by the petroglyphs also sells his paintings out of his studio.
The hotels are the best place to have a bite, or a barbecue joint.
Basen Hotel Complex, 1-5 Manukyan Str, ☎ (+374 2830) 4662, (091/3/4) 434685, . Nice, comfortable, good food.9,000/person.
Sisian Hotel, ☎ (+374 2830) 3471. Cheap, clean place, not much changed since Soviet times, but helpful and central. The Sisian Hotel is in the center of Sisian town. The hotel offers 31 rooms including two luxury suites. All rooms are traditionally furnished, and are equipped with telephone, color TV, and hot showers are available. Hotel serves traditional Armenian cuisine 3x daily. Can also cater for other requests from guests staying at the Hotel such as regional tours and transportation.