Byurakan Observatory of Armenia can become one of the most important nodes of the new direction in tourism, which is scientific tourism, and for this purpose it is planned to create a special Visiting Center.
As noted by the Director of the Observatory Areg Mikayelyan, scientific tourism can include visits to both modern scientific centers, and medieval universities and ancient observatories, and the Byurakan Observatory is regarded as the most important node on the southern slope of Mount Aragats. Visiting these centers in Armenia is not regulated, sometimes they are included in tourist routes, but there are no special programs, and there are no studies on this topic, and, meanwhile, Armenia in this regard has a huge boom.
According to Mr. Mikayelyan, the number of visitors to Byurakan per year is 5000 people, which is a very small figure, and the main concern is the improvement of living conditions. Small investments will be required to create acceptable conditions for schoolchildren, tourists and other visitors, and then, as the organizers of tourism assure, they will include visiting the observatory on their routes, and the number of visitors will increase dramatically. The so-called “star gate” plans to build a small building with a waiting room, a museum of the history of Armenian astronomy, where it will be possible to familiarize with the development of astronomical knowledge in this area from the rock carvings to our days, as well as an auditorium for lectures. The program of visits will include observation of the night sky through a small telescope, acquaintance with the large telescope and visiting the museum of Victor Hambardzumyan.
To strengthen the scientific and educational role of the observatory and attract young professionals, it is also proposed to create a scientific and educational center based on the idea of full-time and correspondence education using the Armenian Virtual Observatory. And for the development of virtual astronomy Byurakan Observatory will need powerful computer technologies, a modern website, training courses, etc.