Tavush Marz

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Tavush is one of the provinces of Armenia. It is in the north-east of the country, bordering Georgia and Azerbaijan. Its capital is Ijevan.

Tavush Marz was created in 1995, pursuant to a Law on Territorial and Administrative Division of Armenia of December 4, 1995.

Tavush marz includes former Ijevan, Tavush (Shamshadin) and Noyemberyan regions and Dilijan resort. The marz has 4 urban and 58 rural communities. It is bounded by Lori, Kotayk and Gegharkunik marzes to the west and to the south, Republic of Georgia to the north and Republic of Azerbaijan to the east. Tavush marz has 400 km of Armenia’s national border, of which 352 km is with Azerbaijan.

The total area is 2,710 sq. km. The capital is Ijevan, called Karvanserai till 1919 and registered as a city in 1961. Aghstev river flows from the north to the east and crosses the marz.

Tavush marz is located in the north-east of Armenia, on the outer rim of the Smaller Caucasus formed by Virahayotz, Gugaratz and Miapori mountain ranges. The climate is moderately humid. The total annual number of sunny hours is 1,900 – 2,000. The summers are warm and winters are mild. The rivers belong to the Caspian sea and Kura river basin and receive melting snow, ground waters and rains. The largest lake is the Parz Lich located near Dilijan. In 1970-1980, Joghazi (Bergaber), Hakhum, Tavush, Aygedzor and Ijevan reservoirs were built. Out of 271,000 ha of the land area, 97,768 ha are used for agriculture. Another 143 thousand ha, or 51%, are occupied by mixed forests.

The marz is relatively poor in natural resources. There are relatively large deposits of bentonite clay, limestone, dolomite and felsite. Aghstev river valley is rich in medicinal mineral waters, which are bottled. The area is unique for its biodiversity and beautiful natural monuments. Dilijan national park and Ijevan dendrarium were created to protect the pristine nature. Excessive logging during energy crisis years severely affected the forests of the region.

Prior to 1990, the region had developed agriculture and provided for 9% of gross agricultural output of Armenia. The total agricultural output prduced in Tavush was second only to Ararat valley output. The most developed horticulture sectors were tobacco and fruit growing, as well as pig breeding. The region produced 33% of tobacco and 23% of fruit grown in Armenia. The former Shamshadin (Berd) and Ijevan regions had the top two industries for tobacco (2,500 – 2,700 and 1800 – 2,000 tons a year respectively), while Noyemberyan region was the first in terms of fruit production (25 – 30 tons a year).

Agriculture of the marz was severely affected both by the land reform (privatization of land plots) and the military conflict with Azerbaijan. Because of the conflict, more than 9,000 ha of irrigated orchards and fields were abandoned. Tobacco and fruit growing have seen some revival in the last few years. The climate of the region is favourable for subtropical hortiulture.

About 15 years ago, the industry of the marz provided 3% of the gross industrial output of Armenia, predominantly in food processing. There are big canneries in Ayrum and Varagavan, wineries in Debedavan, Ijevan and Aygepar, tobacco processing plants in Kayan and Aygepar. All these facilities are now underutilized.

Industrial development of this wooded region started in 1930’s, with the establishment of wood-processing and furniture making facilities in Ijevan and Dilijan. Subsequently, Ijevan carpet weaving and bentonite limestone plants were operationalised, followed by Dilijan textile plant, Berd ‘Relay’ plant and Dilijan ‘Impulse’ plan, Ijevan’s ‘Antarmeqena’ and Dilijan’s mineral water bottling facilities and numerous other industries, which provided important industrial output and employed the population of the region. The majority of these faciliites, however, do not operate to date (or are extremely underutilized) due to the lack of supplies and financial resources, transport routes and marketing and sales opportunities.

The recent years saw increasing attention towards the marz, both on the part of the government and some international orgnaisation

Source: UNDP, VARAGAVAN COMMUNITY 2006-2008 INTEGRATED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN - August 18, 2006

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