Shaki Waterfall – Shaki, Armenia - Atlas Obscura

Shaki, Armenia

Shaki Waterfall

After visiting hours, this picturesque waterfall is essentially turned "off" to be used for hydroelectric power. 

Shaki Waterfall is a beautiful spot, where cascades of water plunge 60 feet down over solidified basalt lava flows. The waterfall was enjoyed much like any other natural attraction until the 1990s, when someone built a small hydroelectric generator nearby and began diverting most of the water from upstream to generate electricity.

When visitors would come to witness the falls, they were disappointed to see the diminished flow as the picturesque falls were essentially turned “off.” And so a compromise was reached: For a fee, visitors could have all the water sent to the waterfall and enjoy the full effect once more. This agreement lasted for several years, but many folks were not happy to have to pay to see their old waterfall.

In 2017, the Armenian government decided that at least during tourist season, the waterfall should flow uninterrupted and free of charge for much of the day. They set regular opening hours, and now anyone can enjoy the full splendor of the falls—as long as you get there at the right time.

Know Before You Go

Visitors can freely enjoy the full beauty of this waterfall between 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from May 1 to September 30, and between 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. from March 15 and April 30 and October 1 and November 15.

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