Ashot Azurmanyan

A 3.5-mile tramway connects travelers to a remote tourist site in Armenia

In a unique solution to a transportation concern, officials in Armenia have built what’s being touted as the world’s longest aerial tramway. Unlike some of the new gondola systems being built in heavily urbanized areas in South America, this tramway connects a remote village to an even more remote historic monastery, Tatev, one of the country’s most visited tourist attractions, as Armenia Now reports.

Dubbed the “Wings of Tatev,” the roughly 3.5-mile route cuts a direct path to the 9th century monastery over a dense forest previously traversed only through winding roads. It’s estimated that the 11-minute trip on the tramway cuts more than a half hour out of the trip, and enables wintertime visiting when roads are impassable.

Located in the southern tip of the country, the tramway was constructed over about 11 months at a cost of roughly $18 million. Much of the funding was donated by a businessman toward a larger project aimed at reviving the monastery. It’s estimated that about 20,000 people will ride the tramway each year.

By comparison, gondola and tramway systems recently built in dense slum areas in Venezuela and Brazil are expected to carry between 15,000 and 30,000 passengers a day.

RIA Novosti reports that the Tatev tramway takes the title of longest tramway from the 2.48-mile Sandia Peak Tramway in Albuquerque*, New Mexico. The Tatev tramway officially opened at the end of October.

Photo credit: Ashot Arzumanyan

*Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly placed the Sandia Peak Tramway in Santa Fe. Apologies for the error.

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