The town of Alaverdi is located in the north of Armenia. It lies on both banks of the Debed river, surrounded by very high and forbidding cliffs. Alaverdi is one of the country’s medium-sized towns. It covers 18 km2 with a population of about 25 thousand people. Alaverdi is a relatively young town (dating back to 1939).
When you set foot in Alaverdi, you will find the many and varied land forms are an amazing vision to behold.
Elevation varies from 750 m to 1400 m. Due to the fact that Alaverdi does not sit at a very high elevation above sea level, and because the mountains serve as a natural barrier that protects the town from cold currents, the climate is favorable and mild. The highest temperature is recorded in July (from +300C to 350 C), and the lowest - in January and February (from -170C to -180C). The annual average precipitation is 800 mm.
Alaverdi was known in ancient times as a settlement. Historically, the town of Alaverdi has been one of the oldest centers of metallurgical industry.
Today near the mines one may find ancient traces of copper output, casting and processing.
In the 19th century a famous French mining engineer, geologist, and archaeologist, Jean-Jacques de Morgan, found Bronze Age tombs during archaeological excavations. These tombs contained iron weapons, hooked knives, spearheads, and iron daggers covered with bronze and ornaments. They supposedly belonged to indigenous people who were engaged in mining. In 1931, artifacts dating from 3,000 BC were found at a construction site.
Greeks from the Black Sea’s southern coast resettled in Alaverdi in the 18th century and founded the first copper processing plant. Before the 20th century Alaverdi was merely a desolate settlement nestled at the foot of the mountain, consisting of a copper smelting plant and a dozen workers’ houses. In the 1930's and 1940's the mining industry began its unprecedented development, turning Alaverdi into a major industrial center.
In a short period of time the town began to grow rapidly. Since its geographic position was not favorable to expansion, it was joined by Sanahin settlement. In 1979 a rail connection was built to facilitate communications between Alaverdi and Sanahin.
The town's economic and geographical position is advantageous. The Tbilisi-Vanadzor-Gyumri-Yerevan railroad that connects Armenia with the rest of the world passes through Alaverdi. The Georgia-Yerevan highway also passes through Alaverdi.
Alaverdi, unlike other towns in Armenia, is a multi-national town. Here Armenian people live in peace and harmony with those of other nationalities - Georgians, Ukrainians, Greeks, and Russians. In addition to the mining industry, the local population is also engaged in agriculture. They cultivate grain, grow vegetables, tend fruit trees, and breed cattle.
Alaverdi offers a wealth of many beautiful sites and monuments of art and architecture. Here in the lap of nature one may visit the famous monasteries of Sanahin, Haghpat, Akhtala, the Church of Odzun, and the 12th-century bridge of Sanahin.