Armenia Travel Guide And Tourist Destinations

The Land of Noah, Armenia.

Armenia’s history lies between the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, covering approximately 400,000 km2. The Republic of Armenia is currently in the north-east of ancient Armenia and borders with Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey.

The influential spiritual powers of the subsequent Armenian populations combined with incredible ability to adapt to an incredible Christian race and are now regarded as one of the oldest cultures in the world.

Khor Virap Monastary in Armenia near Mount Ararat
Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia near Mount Ararat

After independence in 991 from Russia, this small country with an area of about 30,000 km2 has become hard-working and advanced country able to please even the most demanding tourists.

The visit of Armenia means getting into the purest roots of humanity and discovering one of Europe’s most fascinating enclaves. Armenia originated and flourished between the South Caucasus, the Iranian Highlands and some parts of Asia, and for long periods of its history, the Persians, Arabs, Byzantines, Mongols, and Turks occupied for a long time.

With the arrival of the Tigranes II (King of Armenia) on the throne, a miraculous era has come. During his time, the Armenian territory expanded from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean and Egypt.

Five centuries later, the creation of the unique Armenian alphabet created many extraordinary manuscripts and parchments. The massacres and deportations committed by Turkey ended in the Genocide of 1915, and because of this, Armenians fled in many countries.

Today, the Armenian population is 10 million; In the homeland, there are 3 million people and rest is displaced in 120 countries. Yerevan is the capital and largest city in Armenia. It is an “outdoor treasure” with more than 40 museums and 4,000 masterpieces of the country.

Armenia Travel Guide

It is also a city of compassion for which you can experience the values of peace, security and political stability. An ideal place to explore the vast riches of the land that have struggled for centuries to endure among its neighbors.

In Kotayk province, next to Yerevan is Katoghike. It is the main cathedral of the majestic Monastery of Geghard, named after St. Mary, the mother of God.

This majestic complex is circled by numerous khachkars, crosses carved in stone to commemorate a military victory as a memorial to the dead or to commemorate a very significant event in national life.

The holy compound, which is now a World Heritage Site, consists of several chambers, chapels, and tombs shaped out of the cliffs, and unique high-reliefs like this coat of arms of the Proshian family, which features a lamb trapped by an eagle between two chained lions.

Geghard is not only an important center of pilgrimage but also an ideal place for weddings. The couple’s crowning is the culmination of an Armenian bridal service, a ritual that symbolizes how they will manage their next married life.

Church Geghard Armenia
Church Geghard Armenia

On the way to Geghard, we find another fantastic treasure, supported by 24 Ionic pillars of basalt stone, the Garni Temple, destroyed by an earthquake in 1679 and rebuilt in Soviet times.
Armenian king Trdat I Arshakuni build this temple in the first century and dedicated to the pagan god Mithra or Mihr.

It has been suggested that in the first century A.D, it became the summer residence of the Armenian kings, who described it as a house of coolness.
The beauty fills the spectacular symphony of stones, such as a church organ’s pipes, located in the Khosrov State Preserve.

The warm welcome offered by the Garni people allows us to see how they make the apparent lavash, Armenian bread made with flour, water, and salt. After the kneading process, the dough collides with the walls of the tonir, the family oven. The result is a kind of soft tortilla that is ideal to fill with various tasty ingredients.

The witness of a remarkable past, here is the majestic three-level circular church of Zvartnots near Echmiadzin. The solid structure and complex mixture of arches and buttresses unveil the high quality of Armenian architecture in the 7th century.

The impressive complex consisted of the church itself and the palace of the Catholicos Nerses III, the Catholicos being the Patriarch of the Armenian Church.
Zvartnots is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its artistic value and the uniqueness of its column capitals.

Mount Ararat is visible from Zvartnots. The Ararat, now in Turkey, is a 5165 meters tall mountain, but above all a holy symbol for the Armenians who are considered the direct descendants of Noah who populated the Earth after the flood.

The nearest point of Ararat is the Khor Virap Monastery. It was here that St. Gregory the Illuminator, the first pope of the Armenian Church, was imprisoned before healing the pagan king Trdat III of an incurable illness.

Due to this miracle, King Trdat converted to Christianity and Armenia was the 1st country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in the year 301.

Vineyards fill the valley of Ararat, however, it is the apricot orchards that really flourish here. It is stated that they are the best in the world and that the apricot originated in Armenia, the Latin name for the fruit prunus Armeniaca meaning Armenian Plum.

3,000-year apricot stones have been discovered in the ruins of the Garni Temple. The name of Yerevan, or Erevan, originates from the fort Urartu Period called Erebuni.
It is within the limits of the capital and is an excellent reminder that Yerevan is one of the medieval cities in the world.

The archaeological remains found in the Erebuni Museum warrant this statement. Only 50km from Yerevan, on the southeastern slope of Teghenis mount, lies the small village of Tsakhkadzor.

It has been a ski resort for over 50 years. The most important infrastructure of Tsakhkadzor, which means in the Armenian “flower valley”, is of excellent technical quality, which makes the wonderful sports city an important tourist destination throughout the year.

The population of Yerevan has increased almost six times since the Armenian architect Alexander Tamanyan redesigned it in the 1920s.

Now it is a big city that consists of 12 districts. The statue of Mother Armenia celebrates the courage of women who fight for peace and independence, and in the museum and memorial of genocide, an eternal flame burns in honor of the victims of 1915.

The original Armenian name of the country, Hayastan, emanates from the mythical Hayk, a giant warrior born by the first gods as stated by the pagan belief and then considered by Christian tradition as the descendant of the Japheth of Noah and considered to be the founder of the Armenian nation.

Republic Square, Yerevan, Armenia
Republic Square, Yerevan, Armenia
National Art Gallary, Yerevan
National Art Gallary, Yerevan

Armenia Church

Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A statue of composer Aram Khachaturian sits outside the Opera House and National Ballet. The building is a famous cultural center with a capacity of over 2500 people.

The acoustic quality of the Khachaturian Auditorium has emotional properties, especially when there is a performance by the famous poet minstrel and musician Sayat Nova, “the king of songs, which is generally considered the best folk musician and composer of the Caucasus region.

The voices of the choral group and the chords of the tar and the oriental lute generate melodies that provoke the spirit of the Armenian people.
Mount Aragats, the highest point of Armenia, a dead volcano included four summits around a deep frozen crater.

Lake Kari or the Stone Lake is 3250 meters above sea level. This beautiful natural environment draws climbers from all over the world and in summer it is an ideal place for tourist trips.

Here it is normal to come across the Yazidi, an ethnic group of Kurdish origin. The Yazidis are strong advocates of the unity of the immutable homogeneity of the family and are governed by the social caste system.

Ambard: According to popular etymology, Ambard, meaning “fortress in the clouds,” has an ancient castle destroyed by the Mongols in the 13th century.

Its thick stone walls hang on a hillside of Aragats Mount and in silence they seem to watch over the magnificent church built in 1026, which is anchored at the base of the valley.

Gyumri: After the terrible earthquake of 1993, Gyumri resurfaced from the ashes. Only a few buildings such as the Armenian Church of St. Nshan or the Russian Orthodox Church were left standing.

The artistic talent of the Armenian people and the determination of the 250,000 residents of Gyumri made the restoration and beautification of the second most important city in Armenia a reality.

Famous buildings are the “National Museum of Architecture and the Urban Life” and the beautiful sculptures of the of Mother Armenia in Gorky Central Park, which honors the memory of those patriots, who died in World War II.

Albert Vardanyan is a world-renowned Armenian artist who runs has his studio-workshop in Gyumri. His sculptures traveled all over the world, and many countries proudly display his work, which expresses universal ideas such as peace, war, pain, and hope.

Traveling on our way to Lori, situated in the north of Armenia and bordering Georgia. Traveling on our way to Lori, situated in the north of Armenia and bordering Georgia.

Haghartsin Monastery,Tavush
Haghartsin Monastery, Tavush
Dilijan City
Dilijan City
Lake Sevan Monastery Church Armenia
Lake Sevan Monastery Church Armenia
Armenia Sevan Monastery Sky Mountains Architecture
Armenia Sevan Monastery Sky Mountains Architecture
Armenia Kreuzenstein Stone Relief
Armenia Kreuzenstein Stone Relief

Lori is a beautiful area enhanced by the Bazum Mountains, which softens the cold winds of Georgia and offers a pleasant climate for camping in the middle of a comforting solitude.

Armenia Lori Region
Armenia Lori Region

If such outdoor adventure is not for you, this luxury hotel is an ideal choice for enjoying an unforgettable holiday. On the banks of the Debed River, it is a good starting point for long walks and to explore the magic of the northern Armenian plateau.

Sheltered by the farmlands of Lori Berd, which was then an ancient settlement in the 2nd and 3rd centuries B.C, we see the religious symbols announcing our arrival at a fortress that was once the typical defense fortification of the capital of the Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget, a vast kingdom that in the year 989 A.D. including areas of modern Armenia, parts of Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Fort Lori has an impressive characteristic of the ancient enclaves, and even though it is almost in ruins, we can still recognize the inaccessibility that characterized it more than 1000 years ago.

A new surprise is waiting for us in Odzun, the domed basilica rebuilt during the early part of the eighth century by the Catholicos St. Hovhan III of Odzun.

Besides its successful preservation, this church is a sacred place with great artistic value to Christians because its walls are believed to house the oldest known image of Jesus together with the Virgin carved in stone.

Repeated khachkars indicate the proximity of another religious monument. In this case, Sanahin Monastery is near the village of Alaverdi.

When one thinks of its complex internal structure, the very high quality of religious buildings that developed in Armenia between the 11th and 13th centuries becomes evident.

No less impressive is the Haghpat Monastery near Alaverdi, which, like the neighbor of Sanahin, has been listed as a World Heritage Site.

The most extraordinary carvings are Armenian crosses, which usually have a triple surface on the upper and side arms, two of which are not identical. The Khachkar cross is almost always a living cross, with leaves that grow from the base: a symbol of life and rebirth.

The Divine Liturgy will soon begin in the monastery. Behind the candles, the priest enters in the sanctuary, while the congregation sings for Khorhoort Khoreen, a psalm for Jesus Christ, and expresses the mystery of Jesus, the Son of God.

The priest acknowledges his human compassion before all and receives the clouds of holy incense. This march indicates the beginning of liturgy and Eucharist, two fundamental elements of the divine liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

From the outside, it looks like another monastery. However, the fortified compound of Akhtala is home to one of many jewels of the Tumanyan region.

The Byzantine style frescoes that decorate the church of the Virgin Mary represent scenes of the New and Old Testaments in touches of intense colors.

A long list of Christian saints, most notably Cyril of Alexandria, Basil the Great, Eusebius of Caesarea, Clement of Rome or Gregory the Illuminator, adorn the walls and domes of a unique church surrounded by a wall of basaltic rocks.

In Yerevan, the surface of the Republic Square looks like a typical Armenian carpet and the tufa, a local volcanic stone, gives a pink tone to the buildings.

With ten stations and 13 km of rail, it is the fastest way to get around the city. It started in 1981 and it only took nine years to build it. More than 1600 years ago, an Armenian monk, St. Mesrop Mashtots, created the Armenian alphabet.

In the pre-Christian era, the Armenians used a system of hieroglyphs called Mehenagir. Armenia is one of the few cultures in the world that worships a God of writing and Science, God Tir.

Matenadaran is a “Temple of wisdom” that attracts thousands of visitors every year. They come to wonder at manuscripts 27 kilograms of volume next to a small church calendar that weighs only 19 grams.

The Echmiadzin Gospel wrapped in ivory covers, first Armenian printed books, Persian, Arabic, Syrian, Greek, and Latin art has thousands of medical, legal, astrological and philosophical papers make up this vast collection more than 17,000 manuscripts.

Apart from being a museum, Matenadaran is an important research center for the study of Armenian culture. The land of Ijevan is located at the base of the Paytapar mountains, where you can see the Makaravank monastery.

The main church was constructed in 1205 using a pink volcanic rock. The exterior decor is beautiful and simple at the same time, with decorative ribbons over the entrance doors, a sphinx, and a bull being attacked by a lion.

Tavush is a beautiful mountainous area, very rich in vegetation. Where In addition to Ijevan, you will find beautiful cities as Dilijan, called Little Switzerland.

Its thoughtful architectural plan, enjoyable tourist resort, and unique ethnological museum have made it an outstanding tourist attraction.

Small rural south of Dilijan shows the presence of the Molokans, the Russian community gathered in the picturesque villages of Margahovit and Fioletovo.

The Armenians say that heaven must be like Dilijan, and if you see the exceptional national park, it’s easy to understand why.

With a total area of about 29,000 hectares and dwelled between the mountains of Pampak, Areguni, and Gugark. It is an area of high biological value with undiscovered beaches, oak trees and fragile lakes like Lake Parzi. No doubt a visit to the Dilijan National Park is hugely delightful.

Lake Sevan ‘The Pearl of Armenia’. On the northeastern coast, we see the Monastery of Sevan, founded by Catholicos Mashtots I Eghivardeci and Princess Mariam. It was also the headquarters of King Ashot I. The church at the monastery was made by Saint Gregory the Illuminator on the foundations of a pagan temple.

There are many beaches on the largest lake in the country. Its fresh turquoise water is ideal for water sports. There is a wide variety available to enjoy on this remarkable shoreline, one of the three lakes 2200 years ago known as the “Sea of Armenia”.

They are major breeding sites for the Armenian gulls and other birds like the Bewick’s swan or the White-fronted goose. From above, the site of Noratus is very impressive. It is a large necropolis filled with khachkars, a cemetery where more than 900 graves of different styles, shapes, and sizes are spread.

There are still many talented craftsmen across Armenia making khachkars, keeping alive a tradition that began in the 9th century. Lake Sevan is wonderful. It covers 10% of the country’s area and is at an altitude of 2000 meters. There is no complete tour without a boat trip around this incredible aquatic universe, whose clear waters have traveled to many different rivers.

Perhaps the most attractive feature of the lake is the mountainous environment. What distinguishes it, however, is the status of the National Park, a decree approved in 1981 to protect more than 150,000 hectares of extremely valuable land.

The Echmiadzin, the spiritual center of worldwide Armenian Holly Apostolic church and the residence of the Supreme Patriarch and Catholics of all Armenians.

Its cathedral is the oldest in the world, built by St. Gregory when Armenia was the only official Christian state. Apparently, the Saint saw Jesus Christ with a golden hammer in his hand coming down from heaven to show him where the basilica would be built.

And since that time it has been called as Echmiadzin, “where the only son of God was descended”. There is no doubt that the alphabet created by Mesrop Mashtots is very important in consolidating Armenian unity while strengthening the religious bonds of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

One of Yerevan’s biggest attractions is the street market. Here you can find an endless variety of decorative items, semi-precious stones, wooden statues, ceramics, brass utensils, religious accessories, fashion jewelry, duduk flutes, musical instruments, gifts as well as undisputed artworks of Armenian citizens.

Carpet dealers are mixed with the hardworking embroiderers and also the penetrating heat from the blacksmiths’ forges. Ironwork may even have started in Armenia in the 15th century BC when the Hittites, as well as the Mitani people, established their strong military empires.

Carpet dealers are mixed with the hardworking embroiderers and also the penetrating heat from the blacksmiths’ forges. Ironwork may even have started in Armenia in the 15th century BC when the Hittites, as well as the Mitani people, established their strong military empires.

Far from the busy streets, manufacturers exhibit their rugs indoors and invite us to have a close-up check out the carpet making process. The warp is made manually and after long hours of work, the results are authentic artwork, unique handmade products very popular internationally.

Staying in Yerevan is also a smart decision as the modern Zvartnots International Airport is just 10 miles from the center. On the southeastern side of the country, the 2300 km² undulating mountaintops and meadows shape the vast territory of the Vayots Dzor province.

This is Armenia, from north to south and from east to west. All you can imagine is here within its territory and all your dreams can be true in this little kingdom of wonders, a country protected by the Divine Light.

Armenia Yerevan Tavern Sculpture
Armenia Yerevan Tavern Sculpture
Fountain Flower Art Sculpture Yerevan Cascade
Fountain Flower Art Sculpture Yerevan Cascade

 

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