Dilijan, is a spa town in the Tavush Province of Armenia. Usually called Armenian Switzerland or Little Switzerland by the locals, it is one of the most important resorts of Armenia, situated within the Dilijan National Park. The forested and reclusive town is home to numerous Armenian artists, composers, and filmmakers and features some traditional Armenian architecture. The Sharambeyan street in the centre, has been preserved and maintained as an "old town," complete with craftsman's workshops, a gallery and a museum. Hiking, mountain biking, and picnicking are popular recreational activities.
As of the 2011 census, Dilijan has a population of 17,712, down from 23,700 reported in the 1989 census.
The Armenian government is planning to turn Dilijan into a regional financial capital, beginning with the move of much of the Central Bank's operations to Dilijan in 2013.
Linguist Hrachia Adjarian has mentioned an explanation about Dilijan in his "Dictionary of Armenian Proper Names" where he wrote: "Dilijan (masculine) from the Persian 'heart of the soul' form, also mentioned once as Tilijan in 1544 document. The same name applies to the settlement near the lake Sevan, also a village in the way from Ghum to Sepahan in Iran".
In an ancient popular legend, the name of the town is named after a shepherd called Dili. The shepherd Dili was in love with his master's daughter, however her father was against it and ordered to kill the shepherd. For many long and dark days, the sorrowful mother was mourning and looking for her only son all over the area and desperately crying, "Dili jan, Dili jan .. " ("Jan is an endearment term added to the name of a friend or family member). According to the legend the area was later known for his name.
Dilijan lies on the banks of Aghstev River with a length of more than 20 kilometres (12 miles) and at a height of 1,500 metres (4,921 feet) above sea level. The valley is surrounded with the Lesser Caucasus mountains from the north, and the Semyonovka mountain pass from the south. The mountainous areas are all covered with thick forests occupying a territory of more than 34,000 hectares (84,016 acres). Reaching up the highest peaks of the mountains, the forests turn into Alpine meadows. In addition to Aghstev River, many other tributaries flow through the town.
The climate in Dilijan is cool during summer and cold with snowfalls in winter. With its Alpine climate, Dilijan is a town-resort with favorable oxygen regimen, unique landscape features and curative mineral water.