Vanadzor is capital of Lori Marz, in North Central part of Armenia. Vanadzor is Armenia's third largest city, with a population of about 75,000 people. There are a couple of pre-Soviet churches, but most of the city has been built during the time of the Soviet Union with a grand central square, a humongous old Soviet chemical factory which has been idle for decades, and a river running through the somewhat narrow valley, surrounded by hills.
Vanadzor has a few modern and comfortable hotel options, though these are not cheap. Most of the attractions in Lori are along the Debed River canyon to the north, or around Stepanavan, and although Vanadzor can be used as a base to explore these, finding a place closer to them is preferable.
Marshrutnis (minibuses) from Yerevan are inexpensive and will take you to Vanadzor in a couple of hours. They depart from Kino Rosia, above the Zoravor Andranik metro station, across from the national cathedral. Shared taxis leave from the same spot, and are a bit more comfortable, fast and a little more expensive. Virtually any taxi in Yerevan will take you there for 100drams/km (33cents US), which adds up to about 12,500 dram, unless you're a good negotiator.
- Taxis are available, and practical for visiting sites in the nearby area. Agree on the price beforehand, to avoid being scammed. The ones running on gas are less expensive than those on petrol. Expect to pay about 100 Drams a kilometre (summer of 2007), plus a starting fee.
- Marshrutnis (minibuses) are, as always available. There are also gas-operated buses.
- Train Station. If you want to get a taste of the Soviet Union, head to the train station right by the Russian Church. Classic Soviet architecture of its time, which has remained virtually untouched since the collapse of the USSR. The train which used to connect Vanadzor with all of Eastern Europe and the world, now only gets you as far as Tbilisi, so the crowds are gone, but the shell is still there. edit
- Russian Church. The Russian Church is right next to the train station, and if you take a Marshutni to Vanadzor, this is where you'll likely start your visit. It is a very nice old church with a golden dome. edit
- Karakilisa Church. Known popularly as Karakilisa (meaning Black Church in Turkish), this very old black and orange stone Armenian church by the river on the north end of town is one of the nicest examples of historic architecture in Vanadzor. edit
Alexander Griboyedov High School No.11 If you want to have a local experience with the people in Vanadzor, visiting a local high school is highly recommended. You can walk to the school from the center of Vanadzor. The teachers and students at the school are very welcoming and some of them can speak English. You can go to the school a day before to request a visit.
- Hotel Metropolina, single room approximately 10,000 Dram, less if willing to share room with stranger. (summer 2007). Reasonable standard. No restaurant, but shouldn`t be too difficult to find a place nearby.
- Green House Hotel, 8d Banak Str, ☎ (+374 322) 40015, 20932, (091) 310070, (091) 428611, . Located in a 5 minute walk from the centre of Vanadzor, Green house hotel is a newly built first-rate building surrounded by the green park with beautiful trees and flowers. Stylish furniture and modern design of the 15 nicely furnished rooms will make you feel at home while staying at the Green House hotel. 10-25,000. edit
- Argishti Hotel, 1 Batumi Str, ☎ (+374 322) 42556, 42557, 42558. The hotel "Argishti" is a three-storey building, located in the center of Vanadzor Town. The interior part of the hotel has been designed with the elements of the national style and coloring. The hotel rooms have bathrooms, with all necessary components, refrigerators, color TVs, satellite, telephones and hair-driers. It has an International telephone communication. 25-35,000. edit
- Gugark Hotel, Central Square. At the corner of the central square, a block or two from the bus station. Good no-frills budget option. 10-15,000. edit