Why Should People Travel to Armenia?
Armenia is becoming an increasingly popular tourist attraction, with the small but charming nation boasting a rich history. Armenia, which was the first country to declare Christianity as its national religion, boasts some of Europe’s most stunning views, with the peak of Mount Ararat dominating the country’s skyline. The mountain is Armenia’s national symbol despite its peak lying just over the Turkish border and locals due to its mention in the Bible consider Ararat holy – it is where Noah’s Ark landed. Armenia is home to countless beautiful monasteries and they are often found in areas of truly outstanding natural beauty. Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, is one of the most rapidly developing cities in the whole of Europe as the nation continues to embrace tourism.
Did you know that Armenia was the first country in the world that adopted Christianity as a state religion? It happened in 301 AD with the assistance of Gregory the Illuminator and Armenian king Trdat III. The country then began the construction of Christian churches. The very first was the Echmiadzin Cathedral, which became the first Christian cathedral in the world. This magnificent creation is in the town of Echmiadzin, the religious center of all Armenians. Today, religious monuments of Christianity can be seen everywhere throughout Armenia. The mysterious Monastery of Geghard, half-carved in the rock and over 800 years old as well as the Monastery of Tatev, a pearl of medieval Armenian architecture, or the prison where Gregory The Illuminator suffered at the Monastery of Khor Virap are few places to visit.
It’s impossible to visit the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, without noticing its magnificent natural landmark, Mount Ararat. This awe-inspiring mountain is beautiful in any season. Traditionally, Mount Ararat was the symbol of the motherland for all Armenians, and it remains so today. Ararat is known as a Biblical mount, as it was mentioned in the Bible during the story of the Great Flood. According to the tale, Noah’s ark stopped exactly on the mount and after a while, he settled in the Ararat Valley with his family. Despite the fact that Ararat is visible from many parts of Yerevan, for the most beautiful view it is best to climb to the top of the Cascade. For a truly breathtaking view, drive out of Yerevan to the monastery of Khor Virap, where you will feel like you can almost touch the mountain.
You can get to the one of the most magnificent creations of medieval Armenian architecture, Tatev Monastery, by a cable car, which happens to be the longest in the world (5,752 meters). Not one for those with a fear of heights, as you’ll find yourself walking at 320 meters above the picturesque gorge of the River Vorotan for 12 minutes. At the end of the journey, you’ll arrive at a unique monastery, built in the 9th-13th centuries.
Lake Sevan is located so high up in the mountains, that when you sit on the bank, it seems that the water surface is about to touch the sky. This amazing lake is the largest and possibly the most beautiful in the Caucasus. The clean fresh water only gets warm in the middle of the summer, which means it is the perfect place to cool down on a hot day. Mountains surround the lake, which locals call ‘the Armenian Sea.’ Spend an afternoon here and notice how every hour the water changes its color, from azure to turquoise to navy blue. You can also explore the monastic complex of Sevanavank, built in 874, located nearby.
Armenian cuisine is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest in the South Caucasus. The dishes here are diverse and delicious thanks to the use of lots of spices, herbs, and wild flowers. In Armenia, and especially in Yerevan, there are many traditional restaurants offering a great choice of local dishes.
Due to the favorable climate and the warm rays of the sun, the Armenian land provides a huge amount of juicy fruits and healthy vegetables for its residents. Every year in the summer and autumn the shops are crammed with a variety of fruits, berries, and vegetables. When you visit, make sure to try the famous golden Armenian apricot, which absorbs the bright rays of Armenian sun every year and is guaranteed to please due to its gentle taste and aroma.
Many historians consider the Armenian Highlands as the birthplace of the eastern carpet. It is unknown whether it’s true or not, but from ancient times, the Armenian tradition of carpet weaving has been famous for its high and unique quality not only in the country, but also abroad. If you want to get acquainted with Armenian carpet weaving, we advise visiting the gallery and factory Mgeryan Karpet. In their gallery, you can see old works from the 16th-19th centuries, and buy the works you like the most. For a good buy, you can also visit Vernissage, an open-air souvenir fair located not far from the Republic Square. The fair offers a wide variety of things, antiques, old carpets, silver ceramics, pottery, national musical instruments, vases of onyx and much more.
Due to the mountainous terrain and favorable climate, Armenia is a great place for extreme sports. In recent years, it has become especially popular for paragliding. The places to fly in Armenia are diverse and picturesque with predictable macro meteorology. In summer, you can also enjoy widespread trekking and hiking. Tourists often choose to go climbing in Mount Aragats, the highest point of Armenia (4,090 meters). In winter, the country has excellent conditions for skiing and snowboard lovers.
There is an old Armenian saying, ‘a guest is a gift from God.’ On any occasion of joy or happiness, Armenians are quick to set the table for relatives and friends. Armenians also warmly welcome to foreigners and want to do everything to make them feel at home and comfortable in their homeland. Many tourists who have visited various countries, point out that nowhere else have they seen such hospitality as in Armenia. And it is very likely that at the end of your journey you will make good Armenian friends.