The territory of modern Armenia is a sunny mountainous area of extinct volcanoes and fertile valleys of Ararat, ancient Orthodox churches and cave cities, juicy apricots and sweet wines. This land honors age-old national traditions and cherishes a rich spiritual heritage.
Who travels to Armenia and why
The exceptionally beautiful nature attracts travelers from all over the world to the Armenian land: mountains, gorges and waterfalls make up a significant part of the Armenian Highlands, forming protected areas.
Armenia is the first country in the world to adopt Christianity, and therefore pilgrims flock here. Numerous monasteries and temples — whether they are just ruins or restored buildings — attract both deeply religious tourists and connoisseurs of ancient architecture. The latter will also enjoy sightseeing trips to medieval cave settlements and stone cities.
Modern Armenia is not inferior to world states in terms of comfort and elegance of urban space. Such large cities as Yerevan, Vanadzor, Abovyan are able to surprise even the most sophisticated resident of the metropolis with their well-maintained squares, parks and cultural centers.
Gourmets will also be able to feel the national color by tasting national dishes and local wines made from selected berries and fruits growing on the territory of Armenia. We also advise you to visit famous wineries, where they will reveal the secrets of making wine and offer you a tasting of the best varieties.
Intellectuals and connoisseurs of art will appreciate the variety of art and science museums, exhibitions, memorial houses and theaters. And noisy festivals and no less colorful national holidays will captivate even the most indifferent tourists.
For outdoor activities, Armenia offers ski resorts, mineral springs and beaches of Sevan. And family trips will help brighten up amusement parks and attractions, the capital’s zoo and water park.
Overgrown with traditions and legends, the first Christian cathedral in Armenia was built in 301 AD in the city of Vagharshapat and is the main Armenian temple. As a result of numerous restorations, the wooden rectangular basilica turned into a stone cruciform cathedral with domes, a three-tiered bell tower and rotundas.
In the sacristy built in 1869, there is a museum that stores church relics and attributes of the life of the Armenian Catholicoses.
Temple of Garni
The pagan temple, located near the village of the same name above the gorge of the Azat River, belongs to the pre-Christian period of Armenia and is a basalt rectangular sanctuary with 24 Ionic columns. Previously, there was a statue of the sun god Mithra inside, to whom the temple was dedicated.
The construction combined both Hellenistic and local traditions, which was reflected in the harmonious combination of the rigor and symmetry of its forms with colorful floral ornaments. An earthquake in the 17th century severely damaged the temple, and it was only possible to restore it in the 20th century.
During the excavations, the remains of the fortress, the royal palace and the baths, famous for their Greek mosaics on the floor of the cloakroom, were discovered.
Noravank monastery complex
Founded in 1205, the temple ensemble is located in the village of Jermuk in the gorge of the Arpa River among the red rocks.
Noravank consists of three buildings that have preserved their early medieval appearance due to timely restorations:
- The Church of St. John the Baptist (Surb Karapet) is interesting with unusual frescoes, an ancient tomb and a miraculous face on a stone ceiling formed by salts and minerals.
- In the chapel of St. Gregory (Surb Grigor) you can see the famous khachkar crosses.
- The Church of the Holy Mother of God (Surb Astvatsatsin) attracts special attention with its architecture: a cone-shaped dome resting on a colonnade, an unenclosed narrow staircase to the second floor and bewitching bas-reliefs.
Church of St. John the Baptist in Abovyan
The construction of the modern 50-meter temple was completed in 2013, the result of the work of more than 40 craftsmen. The material was a red-orange tuff stone. The majestic monumentality of the church is balanced by the openwork stone carving of the best Armenian architects – thanks to it, the building seems light and airy.
From the inside, the cathedral is painted with images of saints, and from the ceiling, the face of Christ is watching the parishioners.
Historical architectural monuments
Cave town Khndzoresk
One of the most ancient cave cities of Armenia was carved into the rocks of Goris at an altitude of 1.5 km above sea level. The multi-storey housing complex was empty only in 1960. Cave terraces and a chain of arched entrances create the effect of multi-storey buildings. At the entrance to Khndzoresk there is a museum recreating the way of life of cave dwellers.
The museum also contains old photographs, and its caretaker himself comes from this settlement. Nearby you can find an abandoned church and a spring. It is noteworthy that a 160-meter suspension bridge leads to the cave city, spread out at a height of 63 meters above the gorge.
The ruins of the ancient city are located on the Arin-Bernd hill on the outskirts of Yerevan and are of considerable interest to historians and tourists. It was here that the Armenian capital was born 2700 years ago. The 4-meter walls of the fortress have been preserved in place, the composition of which gives an idea of the general appearance of the ancient structure: the temples of the god Khaldi and Susi, the palace part, the central square.
In the Erebuni Museum, you can get acquainted with local archaeological finds and plunge into the distant past of the state of Urartu, which left many more secrets and mysteries to its descendants.
Memorial complex Tsitsernakaberd
The monument is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the genocide committed by the Turks against the Armenians during and after the First World War. Its grand opening in Yerevan took place in 1967. Since then, the complex in the park Tsitsernakaberd (“fortress of swallows”) has been a place of pilgrimage for many thousands of people.
The memorial rises above the landscape, recalling the significance of the tragedy for the people, and includes three monuments:
- 100 meter memorial wall,
- the sanctuary of eternity in the form of a circle of 12 basalt slabs tilted inward,
- A 44-meter arrow-shaped column «Revived Armenia» with a deep vertical symbolic crevice.
An eternal flame burns in the center of the park. In 1995, the Museum of the Armenian Genocide and the Scientific Institute were built nearby. The memorial is surrounded by a well-groomed area with benches and fountains, and from the hill you can see small and large Ararat.
One of the main symbols of Yerevan is Republic Square, which previously bore the name of Lenin. The architecture of the “pink city” gives it a unique look, which impresses not only with its color tints and texture, but also with the complex decoration of the facades of buildings.
The area is surrounded by several large-scale buildings: the House of Ministries, the Government House with the main chimes of the city, the Museum of the History of Armenia.
Mosaic painting decorates the oval area of the territory, and singing fountains add a festive atmosphere. Adjacent to the square is a boulevard with 2750 small fountains, Abovyan Street with old buildings, many restaurants, souvenir shops and modern hotels.
Opera and Ballet Theater named after Spendiarov
Designed by architect Alexander Tamanyan in 1933, the “temple of arts” occupies a central place on the musical map of Armenia. In front of the building there is a monument to the composer Aram Khachaturian, whose works are often distributed within the walls of the theater, sharing the championship with other classical plots from the productions of Verdi, Tigranyan, Harutunyan. The medieval architectural traditions of the country are organically woven into the Soviet model of the building, and its bright interior is decorated with frescoes and columns.
Museum complex on Republic Square
The first two floors of the museum complex, which opened its doors to visitors in 1921, are occupied by the National Historical Museum of Armenia. Thematic exhibitions contain more than 400,000 items from periods from the Stone Age to the end of the 19th century.
The lower floor is dedicated to archaeological finds: here you can see ancient wooden carts from the bottom of Lake Sevan, and the marble torso of Artemis, and the cultural heritage of the state of Urartu.
The second floor contains exhibitions of pottery, silver jewelry, prints, clothing and weapons. The top five floors are occupied by the National Art Gallery, which owns the largest collection of Armenian fine art. The canvases of Aivazovsky, Saryan, Hovnatanyan and other outstanding artists of Armenia coexist with the expositions of Western masters.
The Yerevan «pyramid» of five open terraces, like many other modern architectural monuments of the capital, was designed by Alexander Tamanyan. The cascade successfully combines the beauty of Armenian nature with human genius: contemporary art exhibitions are interspersed here with flower beds, fountains and pools.
Unusual sculptures are placed around the territory: a cat and a smoking woman, acrobats and hares-athletes, Englishmen in raincoats and antelopes in a jump, a thinking Spaniard and a huge head in the fountain with fingerprints of the sculptor. From the top of the Cascade, a panoramic view of Ararat and Yerevan opens up, and on the very hill there is the Aznavour Center, where various cultural events are held.
Natural attractions and active recreation
Ski resort Tsaghkadzor
The most popular of the three mountain resorts in Armenia is located at the foot of Mount Teghenis. The ski center offers three types of well-equipped slopes: black, red and blue — for athletes of different levels of training. The pride of the resort is the 8-kilometer track.
Instructors and a ski school work on the basis of the center, and a three-level chairlift operates on the territory, from which views of Mount Ararat and Lake Sevan open.
Many rental points and ideal conditions will enable everyone to enjoy their favorite sport, and the abundance of bars, restaurants and hotels will help tourists make their vacation comfortable and varied.
Along with the Yerevan zoo, amusement park, Play City entertainment center and children’s railway, this water park is a great place to relax with children. In addition to indoor and outdoor water slides, there is a children’s pool with animal figures and fountains, a pool with sun loungers, a VIP area, a jacuzzi and a sauna.
Also on the territory of the water park you can play beach volleyball, jump on trampolines, visit a cafe with local and European cuisine, and in the evenings visitors have the opportunity to take part in fun parties and themed programs.
Garni Gorge «Symphony of Stones»
The canyon, on top of which the Garni temple is located, is a place of unique beauty, where natural rocks in the form of hexagonal pillars literally cut through the space of the gorge.
The «basalt organ», as it is also called, appeared as a result of the impact of volcanic lava and impresses with the symmetry of its giant «pipes». Blooming poppies, walnut trees and the flow of the Azat River, where you can swim, add to the picturesqueness of the place.
Ropeway «Wings of Tatev»
Due to its length of 5752 meters, the Wings of Tatev is considered the longest reversible cable car and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. The cable car was opened in 2010 and connected the two Armenian villages of Halidzor and Tatev, providing residents with unhindered communication with each other, and tourists with the opportunity to combine sightseeing in Tatev and Halidzor with an exciting ride at an altitude of up to 320 meters.
From the cabin you can look around the Vorotan Gorge with its Devil’s Bridge and the Tatevan Desert. At the starting point of the cable car there is a cafe «Tatevun».