Levon’s Divine Underground near Yerevan

Levon’s Divine Underground, hidden in the village of Arinj near Yerevan, Armenia, is a truly one-of-a-kind site with a background story as fascinating as the cave system itself.

A labyrinth of interconnected hallways, staircases and uniquely decorated rooms, Levon’s Divine Underground dips as deep as twenty-one meters below ground in some places. It covers a total of 300 square meters and is so big that, were it not for the well-marked rooms and guided tours, it would be possible to get lost.

To truly appreciate these beautiful carved caverns, you must first understand the person and inspiration behind them.

The Story of Levon’s Underground World

As implausible as it sounds, one man alone is credited with digging all of the underground chambers with rudimentary hand tools, an endeavor which started with a simple request by Levon’s wife Tosya for an underground cellar in which to store her potatoes.

After his wife requested that he build her the small storehouse in 1985, Levon Arkelyan started digging, and he continued to do so for the next 23 years until his death in 2008. With a hammer and chisel, Levon not only dug caves but also created the sculptures which give an unearthly ambiance to the cave system.

Levon claimed that he was not working alone, for a divine presence was helping him continually: “Even if I were to work 17 hours a day, I could hardly dig a hole more than 20 centimeters in diameter and 7 centimeters deep. But while working I receive an unnatural strength, from where I know not.”

After Levon’s death, Tosya decided to turn his creation into a museum to commemorate her husband’s hard work and devotion. The museum is now taken care of by Levon’s family, and according to the site’s official web page, the caves have received over 40,000 guests from around the world.

Visiting Levon’s Divine Underground

If you are looking for an unusual cultural experience in the Yerevan area, a visit to Levon's Divine Underground in Arinj is a must. You can get a cab from Yerevan or catch bus 47 at one of the following stations: Komitas Avenue, Marshal Baghramyan Metro, Opera, Mashtots Avenue or Central Bus Station. Ride the bus to Arinj and then go to the following address: 5th Street, 9th house Arinj.

Upon arrival, visitors will see a big door made of steel and a staircase which will take you down to the underground world. The first room that you will pass is full of various sculptures which are illuminated with candles, and each successive room holds its own unique treasures. The tour does not end in the caves, however, for Tosya has turned one of the rooms in their family home into a small museum containing many personal items of Levon, including some of the tools that he used to dig the caves and newspaper articles detailing his unusual story and incredible masterpiece. Small souvenirs are also available for purchase. Visitors are welcome to see the family’s beautiful garden filled with flowers, plants and Levon’s paintings, which capture the attention of many a visitor.

Please note that anyone with claustrophobia may find the experience uncomfortable. In addition, visitors should be prepared to climb up and down a staircase of 80 steps in order to reach the cave system.

There is no official entrance fee to Levon’s Divine Underground, but donations are accepted. The place is open daily from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.