Historical Crossroad of Civilizations
Armenia has been around for at least 3,000 years. Armenians have historically inhabited the “Armenian Highlands”, a vast section of mountains and valleys across eastern Anatolia and the Southern Caucasus. It is here that the biblical mountains of Ararat (and today’s eponymous cognac brand) can be found. Armenia became the world’s first Christian country in 301 AD.
Given its proud claim to being the world’s first officially Christian country, there are countless monasteries and churches, which are set in some places of incredible natural beauty. The monasteries at Tatev, Noravank, Haghartsin, Haghpat and Geghard are well worth a visit just for the landscape even without the impressive, millennium-old monasteries found there.
Armenia is a land of everything old, and being here one can get a sense of a different period in time. Travel to Armenia to know its ancient history and culture, and experience a nation that stood the test of time.
Yerevan is considered to be one of the oldest constantly inhabited cities in the world. Yerevan emerged as a city around the fortress Erebuni, which was founded in 782 BC by the Urartian King Argishti the First. In 2018, Yerevan celebrated its 2800th birthday. The day (called Erebuni-Yerevan) is a colorful, vibrant and exciting event which annually happens in the second half of October. It hosts many cultural events: national dance shows, concerts of folk, jazz, classical and pop music. Attending any of them is free of charge. Most of the main Yerevan sightseeing places are located within the walking distance from the Opera House, like Cascade, Republic Square, Museum of Ancient Manuscripts – Matenadaran, Swan Lake, pedestrian Northern Avenue and historical Abovyan street.
Sanahin was a major monastery in the region, its patrons, the Zakarians, expanded it to its height of eminence as a school of illuminators and calligraphers, as well as a college of religion, philosophy and science, during the 12-13th centuries. Composed of five churches, two gavits, a theological college and book depository, a bell tower and other structures, it is encircled by a fortified wall, making it a formidable fortress in times of attack. Built into the nature that surrounds it, Sanahin has an irregular asymmetry, with all the buildings coming together to form an organic whole.
Distance from Yerevan is 185km, approximately 3 hours drive.
Mountainous Dilijan region, known as the “Little Armenian Switzerland”, is one of the most picturesque and pleasant parts of Armenia. Dense forests, curative mineral springs, clear lakes, and wonderful highland sceneries of Dilijan National Park are a magnet for nature lovers. Moreover, the experience of natural beauty is accompanied by the discovery of historical monuments, such as the many monasteries the region has to offer. The monasteries of Haghartsin and Goshavank were built between the 10th and 13th centuries. The monastery complexes have quickly developed and have served as cultural and educational centers. Haghartsin is one of the iconic examples of the developing Armenian architecture during the Middle Ages.
The 4th largest city in Armenia, the most defining structure here is the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, and it is worth the trip. The cathedral is considered to be the oldest in the world (7th century), and it is said that this was the first cathedral built in Armenia during those times. After Christianity was first introduced as the official religion, the cathedral was built to replace the then existing temple. So, this marked the move from pagan to Christian religion.
Distance from Yerevan is 20km, about 30 minutes ride.
Gyumri is the second largest city in Armenia and the capital of the Shirak Province in the northwestern part of the country. Being one of the most ancient settlements in Armenia with the history of 3000 years, Gyumri is a significant location to visit and admire.
Jermuk is a mountain spa town and the centre of the urban community of Jermuk in Vayots Dzor Province at the south of Armenia, at a road distance of 53 km east of the provincial capital Yeghegnadzor. It was considered one of the popular destinations for medical tourism in the Soviet Union.
Jermuk is known for its hot springs and mineral water brands bottled in the town. It is attractive for its fresh air, waterfall, artificial lakes, walking trails, the surrounding forests and mineral water pools. The town is being redeveloped to become a modern center of tourism and health services.
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