Drone view of Debed river gorge, Alaverdi town and Sanahin village on sunny summer day. Lori Province, Armenia. Image credit Kirill Skorobogatko via Shutterstock.

Debet River

The Debet River, also written as the Debed River, is located in the far north of Armenia and it flows through the Debed Canyon. Along with the Akstafa River valley, the Debed River valley is one of the main entrances into Armenia through the northern mountains. It continues its course along the border with Georgia until it connects with the Kura River, which empties into the Caspian Sea.

The river stretches to the length of 178 km (109 miles) and its drainage basin is 1,580 square miles. Ecotourism is a budding highlight of the Armenian economy and there are plenty of options for camping, hiking and site-seeing with a side of ecological conservation along this glistening, flowing water source. If looking for a gorgeous place for white water rafting or kayaking, The Debet River is just the place.

Source and Climate

View Sanahin Bridge above Debed river on sunny summer day. Alaverdi, Lori Province, Armenia.
View Sanahin Bridge above Debed River in Alaverdi, Lori Province, Armenia. Image credit Kirill Skorobogatko via Shutterstock. 

The source of the Debet River (or Debed) depends on whether it is listed as a tributary deriving from the Kura River and feeds Lake Sevan in Armenia, or whether it is described as flowing North from Lake Sevan and connecting up with the Kura River. Another way of saying this is that the Debet starts where the rivers Dzoraget and Pambak combine and flows into Georgia, where it feeds into a tributary of the Kura.

Climate varies greatly in Armenia, depending on elevation: mountain elevations and valleys have very different temperatures and vegetation. In even the most moderate regions of the country, the temperature can drop to freezing in winter and rises into the high 70 degrees farenheit (21 celsius). There is about a quarter the amount of annual precipitation in the valley regions as in the mountains.

Animal and Plant Life

Extreme rafting trip on the river Debed, Armenia.
Extreme rafting trip on the river Debed, Armenia. Image credit Vahan Abrahamyan via Shutterstock.

Due to the volcanic soil, Armenia was an early site of agriculture. Mountain biking and horseback riding tours are two fantastic ways to see the local flora and fauna of Debet River and the canyon it runs through. Dirt paths and various trails run around villages and through the mountains alongside the river with scenic views that will astound. Spend two hours or two days exploring this delightful region!

The high cliffs have been home to vultures since before people populated the countryside. As part of the ecological preservation, along the Debet River, tourists can see up to three different species of vultures where they naturally breed. In most of the world, scavengers like these are endangered.

Brief History of the Debet River

Fabulous view of Debed River at the Armenia-Georgia border
Debet River at the Armenia-Georgia border. Image credit Vahan Abrahamyan via Shutterstock.

Historic villages, churches and monasteries abound in the canyons and valleys of the Debet River. Armenians are the largest population of the nation, with smaller populations of Kurds, Russians, Ukrainians, Assyrians, and other ethnicities from nearby countries.

Armenia is a predominantly Christian country, converted around the year 300 A.D. The nation maintains ancient traditions from Christian liturgical and literary history.

The Sanahin Bridge is an architectural marvel of medieval Armenian engineering from the 12th century. It exists in the town of Alaverdi. On the other side of the bridge, the road leads to the gorgeous and historic Byzantine monastery of Sanahin. In conjunction with the Haghpat monastery, Sanahin Monastery is one of the most fascinating religious structures in the nation, as it combines Byzantine religious architecture with traditional architecture of the Caucasian region.


Whether a history buff or a bird-watching fan, the Debet River and its subsequent canyons have make for a superb tourist destination. Get a view of endangered birds or hike and camp along this river for lovely photographic experiences and picturesque views. Learn about local culture and ecology from a tour guide on horseback in the mountains, or go rafting down the river – just be sure to prepare for any kind of weather! Make your visit to Armenia and the surrounding nations one to remember.


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