A country between Asia and Europe – in the mountainous Caucasus region, is among the earliest Christian civilizations, which defined by its religious sites including the Greco-Roman Temple of Garni and the 4th century Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Khor Virap Monastery is a pilgrimage site near Mount Ararat, a dormant volcano just across the border in Turkey.
The country is one of the 6 ancient countries that have survived for thousands of years. Armenia was first mentioned in King Dari I’s Behistun manuscript in 520 BC. Also, it was mentioned in ancient Greek authors Herodotus and Xenophon in the V century BC.
Considerably, Armenia is the homeland of Apricot which was called “Armenian apple”. A famous Armenian musical instrument “duduk” is made of apricot wood.
There will be a lot of fascinating spots in Armenia, however as the saying goes, it’s better to see once than to hear it a hundred times.
POPULAR PLACES TO VISIT IN ARMENIA
- YEREVAN-the capital city and 29 years older than room, so ancient! The Republic square is the city’s core, with musical water fountains and colonnaded government buildings. Yerevan is also a home to Blue Mosque, which is the only mosque in the whole country, as well as the amazing Cascade where you can climb and see the city’s monument to Soviet victory in WW2.
- TSAGHKADZOR-the spa town of Armenia, where you can also see beautiful monasteries and lakes. This is the only ski destination in the country too. There are also entertainment centers available in the city – cafes, casinos, restaurants, and pubs. The city is a quiet place where people can have quiet moments away from the city’s noise and hustle.
- DILIJAN-a town in northern Armenia surrounded by the forests of Dilijan National Park. It is casually called the “Armenia Switzerland” or “Little Switzerland” by the locals due to its densely forested valleys and mountains with alpine meadows.
- SEVAN-a beautiful destination located on the shores of the river. Known as the “Pearl of Armenia”, the place has the largest body of water in the country and the Caucasus region. The most popular sight of interest is the Sevanavank monastery.
- VAGHARSHAPAT-the 4th largest city in the country and the spiritual capital of Christian Armenia from the 4th century CE. It is unofficially known as a “holy city” which is best known as the location of Etchmiadzin Cathedral and Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
BEST TIME TO VISIT ARMENIA
Recommend time to visit will during SPRING (March – May) where flowers start to bloom, the country start to turn green, and by the end of the season, things are getting greener and greener. By SUMMER (June – August), the cafés start to open their business. Night lights are up until very late, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are available. During WINTER (December – February), the weather is cool and dry, it can hit -20C in Yerevan city. Cafes businesses are closed due to the cold nights of winter. But it’s the start of skiing season. By AUTUMN (September-November), this is the highest season for tourists for a very good reason. The weather are relatively comfortable and good harvests mean delicious food.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN ARMENIA
- Create your name at The Armenia Alphabet Monument - These giant stone letters to honor the great Mesrop Mashtots, a linguist and ecclesiastical leader, has an interesting demonstration of the stone carvings of 39 Armenian letters. It has been used to write the language since 405/406 and it is still used up to the present. Mesrop Mashtots made the first letter A, which was the first letter in the word Astvats, or God, and the last letter K, which began the word Kristos, or Christ.
- Breath taking LAKE SEVAN - A very popular destinations for Armenians who tend to spend their hot summers in the area by enjoying the sandy beaches and cool waters. Lake Sevan is a large, high altitude lake in eastern Armenia, known for tis beaches. The lake consists of minor and major Sevan. Minor (approx. 100 years old) is deeper while major (one million years old) is shallower. It is less an hour trip by car from Yerevan.
- Historical GEGHARD MONASTERY - Take a visit to the partially carved out from the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was also called as “Monastery of the Spear”. The complex was name after the spear used to wound Jesus during the Crucifixion. The spear was brought to Armenia and is now housed in the Echmizadin Treasury, in the spiritual center of Armenia. Inside the monastery, there is a holy spring runs and can be used for drinking.
- Visit the Garni Gorge or Symphony of Stones - Because of its wondrous bizarre cliff-line, formed of neat hexagonal columns which were associated to the church organ, the locals named it Symphony of Stones. You can admire the natural wonders at a safe distance for safety reasons. Be totally amazed of how neat and symmetrically sculpted stones are created by nature and not by human.
- Ride the WINGS of TATEV - Because of its wondrous bizarre cliff-line, formed of neat hexagonal columns which were associated to church organ, the locals named it Symphony of Stones. You can admire the natural wonders at a safe distance for safety reasons. Be totally amazed of how neat and symmetrically sculpted stones are created by nature and not by human.
- Pilgrimage to Khor Virap Monastery - The most visited monastery in Armenia once held a saint in a put for 13 years. Located in the Ararat pain, near the closed border of Turkey, which is translated to “deep dungeon”, was a former prison site for a man who would become a saint later on. It continues to be an important pilgrimage location which locals often visit for a baptism or after a wedding to perform a “matagh” or sacrifice, often of sheep or chicken.
- Don’t forget the GARNI TEMPLE - the only standing Greco-Roman building and the only Pagan temple in Armenia, is located in the village for Garni, Armenia. It is believed to have been built by the Armenian King Trdat in the 1st century AD as a temple to the sun god –Mihr. When Christianity enveloped the country in the early 4th century, it became a summer residence by the country’s king.