A hub of Monasteries and a Paradise for History-buffs at the Heart of Caucasus.
Armenia is an ancient country located at the junction of Europe and Asia. And it is due to its strategic location in the Caucasus that Romans, Persians, Soviets, and Byzantines passed through Armenia and left their impress on their heritage, culture, and language. This small but charming nation is known for its 3500-year-old history, vibrant culture, countless incredible monasteries, and amazing landscapes. In 301 AD, it became the first country to embrace Christianity as a state religion.
Armenia, somewhat overlooked in the past, is now attracting more tourist attention each year. People visit the country to soak themselves in centuries-old traditions and customs, learn more about its dramatic history, and admire its exquisite terrains. And it’s food? Well, it’s worth a taste, really. If you’re planning a visit, below are the places in Armenia you should not miss.
Yerevan is the largest city and the capital of the country. And arguably a great place to start exploring Armenia. Yerevan is also known as the ‘City of Cafes’. The city is home to Levon’s Amazing Underground World, one of Europe’s quirky attractions and Cascade, and the only mosque, ‘Blue Mosque’, in the country is also situated here. Vernissage flea market is highly recommended too. The symbolic grand ‘Republic Square’ occupies the heart of the city, designed by the famous architect Alexander Tamanyan in 1924, is famous for its intricate architecture reflecting the rich cultural heritage.
Built in 782 BC – according to an inscription of Urartian King Argishti – and older than Rome, Yerevan is deeply rooted in history. The Armenian Genocide Memorial retains the nation’s troubled past.
At an altitude of 1900 meters, Lake Sevan is one of the highest lakes in the world and it gives an impression as if the tranquil and azure lake water is about to touch the sky. It has earned the title of ‘The Pearl of Armenian Nature’, because of its beauty. It is also famous for its fish ‘Ishxan’ or ‘Armenian trout’.
Stunning ancient churches and monasteries, such as Hayravank, grace the scenic shores of the golden sandy lake. The lake entices the holidayers, who come to relax in the serene environment or enjoy the water sports such as swimming, or skiing, or surfing in its inviting waters or cycling along its shoreline. The lake is a popular holiday destination that makes for a peaceful getaway and particularly visited in summer by locals and tourists.
Monastery of Geghard
Situated on the outskirts of the scenic Garni town, Geghard Monastery is the best depiction of medieval Armenian architecture. It was partially carved out of the mountain, and stands erected amidst prodigious cliffs. Believed to have been built since before the 4th century, the monastery hosts several rock-cut churches and tombs and promises mind-boggling scenery of Azat River gorge. It is a popular tourist spot in Armenia and is certainly worth a visit.
Looking for a dream-like spa destination? Then meander your way through a deep winding ravine and reach the popular spa town of Jermuk, situated amidst the picturesque mountainous landscape characterized by forty (40) thermal mineral water springs, enchanting walking trails, cascading waterfalls, geysers, lush forests, and the fresh mountain air.
Besides spectacular topography, the spa town is famed for its healing mineral waters and mild weather. The visitors also visit the ‘Gallery of Water’ to taste the healing mineral waters for free. The trip to Jermuk is never complete without visiting the exquisite Jermuk Waterfall, Armenia’s second-largest waterfall that falls from a height of 10 meters.
Monasteries are one of Armenia’s foremost salient features and Noravank is the symbolic and the most beautiful one in the country. Surrounded by sheer brick-red cliffs, this incredible monastery was built in the 13th century and it is especially known for its Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) church. The monastery sports some beautiful motifs and carvings on its walls. There is a famous legend that God himself saved the monastery against Mongols when they conquered Armenia, hundreds of years ago.