From enjoying the world’s longest cable car ride through the mesmerizing landscapes of Vorotan canyon to admiring some of the oldest monasteries on record, these are just some of the reasons you should travel to Armenia.
Not a lot of nations can boast to have preserved their rich cultural heritage dating far back as the ancient times. The perfect examples being the town Yerevan, that is 28 years older then Rome or, Armenia’s 6,000 year old wine making tradition!
Although a small country, Armenia will draw you in with it’s capturing landscapes, ancient monuments and unparalleled hospitality. It has an incredibly old, rich and eventful history, fascinating culture and beautiful nature. The hospitable inhabitants, delicious food and fascinating landscapes make it a wonderful destination.
The language that is spoken in Armenia is Armenian, with its own alphabet. However, foreigners get quite well with only English or some knowledge of Russian. Road signs are usually in English and in Armenian. Most accommodation and tour providers speak enough English to be able to sort things out.
Armenia has an interesting, varied and delicious cuisine, with some dishes being well known even beyond Armenia like Barbeque and Dolma. The most famous bread Lavash, a thin flatbread that is made in a traditional ‘tonir’ oven and is complimentary with almost every dish. Common ingredients in Armenian dishes are lamb, eggplant, yoghurt, cottage cheese, grape leaves and many fragrant spices. The numerous restaurants both in Yerevan and other cities (Dilijan, Gyumri) offer a unique selection of local dishes.
In terms of drinks the real speciality lies in wine and Armenian brandy (cognac). The later is world famous, thus the Yerevan Brandy Company is proudly presented as a major attraction of the city with tasting tours and a museum (Ararat Museum). Armenia is one of the oldest wine producing countries in the world, with grape cultivation going back to ancient times.
Here are a few spots that worth a visit:
Yerevan is 2800 years old (28 years older than Rome) and is drenched in interesting history. A good way to learn more about it is through its museums, like the Armenian genocide museum, the History museum of Armenia and the National Gallery. The Matenadaran repository contains one of the largest depositories of ancient books and manuscripts in the world.
Yerevan is a rich country that is quite metropolitan with a lively nightlife scene with clubs, restaurants and European style bars. Mixed with the many remains of older days, like the typical pink colored soviet buildings and monuments of the 17th century neighborhood Kond, Yerevan has its very own appearance. A prominent feature of the city centre are the cascade stairs. It is a large stairwell that leads to the grim Soviet monument and provides great views over the city and to the massive statue mother of Armenia. Although there are several opera houses, theaters, museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions that worth visiting, Yerevan Opera Theatre is the main spectacle hall of the Armenian capital.
Tatev is known for the longest cable cart in the world, the wings of Tatev, that leads to the Tatev monastery, built in 9th century. It is located on the edge of a plateau overlooking the gorge set in a spectacular landscape. Other then the monastery, there is plenty to see and the drive alone through the Vorotan canyon is worth it.
Garni & Geghard
Garni is a town close to Yerevan with the major attractions being the Garni temple, the only pagan temple in Armenia, the Geghard monastery and the beautiful Garni gorge with the adjacent Khosov nature reserve.
Inside the Garni gorge you will find the incredible miracle of nature called the Symphony of Stones, a rather fitting name for stone walls that are carved out in perfect cube like pillars. Founded in the 4th century in Garni, this monastery complex is surrounded by cliffs and located next to a gorge. The inside, and especially the cave chambers are so mysterious that make you step back in time.
This 13th century monastery is located on the way from Yerevan to Tatev, close to Areni, which is a nice little detour. It is beautifully situated in a landscape that most closely resembles the Grand Canyon; hot, dry, and with red dirt mountains. The complex has a few different churches and chapels and it was the residency of Syunik’s bishops in the 13th century.
Haghartsin is 13th century monastery in Dilijan beautifully located in the lush green forests. It’s where people see a perfect harmony of untouched nature and splendid architecture where the human creativity and efforts only added to the overall beauty of the entire territory.
Armenia’s history is endlessly interesting and the landscapes fascinating. These and many other remarkable places give it’s visitors a perfect introduction to one of the most interesting corners of the world, standing at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.