Armenia is a very small country that few people consider visiting. It was part of the Soviet Union and is located in the southern Caucasus region and is bordered by Georgia (Republic Of), Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey. It is completely mountainous and traces its roots as one of the oldest countries in the world.
Armenia: The Facts
- Capital: Yeveran
- Population: 3 Million
- Land Area: 11,500 Sq. Miles (About 30,000 sq. Km)
- Currency: Dram
- Independence: 1991 (From the Soviet Union)
- Origin: Orontid Dynasty (6th Century BC)
The Caucasus region of the world is one of the most extreme in the world. It is one of the most linguistically and ethnically diverse regions of the world, boasts some of the most stunning natural scenery and majestic landscapes, has some of the oldest histories, and has some of the world's most hospitable people. Not to mention delicious Armenian and other Caucasian food!
How To Get There
- Flight Option 1: Into Yerevan's International Airport
- Flight Option 2: Into Georgia's International Airport In Tbilisi And Drive Or Take The Bus To Armenia
- When To Go: Late Spring, Summer, Early Fall - Late Spring Is Best
- Visa: Visa-Free For 6 Months
Things To Understand
Some things to understand about Armenia, it is a small, landlocked country that has very poor relations with its neighbors Azerbaijan and Turkey (it had been locked in a 30-year conflict with Azeribjian until December 2020). The ethnic Armenians were the victims of the Armenian Genocide during World War One. The country is very poor.
That being said it is one of the most rewarding countries in this world to visit. Its landscapes are mountainous and hilly. This country is tiny, but don't underestimate the driving times, these roads are very very winding. The people here are some of the most welcoming in the world and they love tourists.
Fun Fact: Armenia Was The World's First Christian Country
The country is also very safe. The conflict with Azerbaijan is over and it was very localized away. The crime is low and everyone will want to help you and make sure you enjoy their stunning country. As with this region in general solo girls should be cautious and be prepared to be propositioned. But otherwise, there is no need to be concerned with security.
Points Of Interest
Yerevan is likely to be your base while in Armenia, this is by far the largest city, the most developed, and the capital of the nation. From here you can gaze over to the stunning Mt Ararat in neighboring Turkey. This is a truly dramatic volcano and it dominates the landscapes. Mt Ararat was historically part of Armenia.
- Elevation: 16,854 Feet or 5,137 Meters
- Myth And Legend: The Resting Place Of Noah's Ark Of The Bible
There is plenty to do in Yerevan to keep you busy for a few days.
- Things To Do In Yerevan
- Climb: The Cascade Complex (You Will Have Panoramic Views Of The City And Mt. Ararat)
- Visit: The Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial Park, Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Church (Center Of The Armenian Apostolic Church), and the History Museum Of Armenia
- Try: The Delicious Traditional Armenian Food
One of the riches parts of Armenian history and culture is their religion and extensive monasteries. While here be sure to visit these stunning complexes all over the country. It is not possible to understand Armenian tradition and culture without visiting these historical sites.
- Entrance Fee: Generally Free
- Understand: Women Should Cover Their Heads Before Entering (Shawls Are Provided)
- Dress: Bare Sholders And Short Shorts Are Disrespectful Inside The Church
Most of these monasteries are around 800 years old and most are still living monasteries today. Go at the right time and you can hear the monks and the priests chanting and singing. It is custom to buy candles, light them in the church and offer a prayer. Similar to neighboring Georgia, these monasteries are typically built on the most dramatic and spectacular of locations. Some of these must-see monasteries (but not all) include:
- Noravank Monastery
- Goshavank Monastery Complex
- Geghard Monastery (UNESCO Listed)
- Haghartsin Monastery Complex
- Khor Virab Monastery
- Tatev Monastery In The Far South
For some attractions other than monasteries...
- Garni Temple: Ancient Greek Temple and the only Greco-Roman columned building still standing in Armenia
- Areni-1 Cave Complex: Chalcolithic/Early Bronze Age Ritual Site and Settlement
We can't talk about all these monasteries, but we will mention the unforgettable Tatev Monastery of particular note.
The Tatev Monastery
The Tatev Monastery is in the south close to the border with Iran. It dates from the 8th or 9th century and the drive to this monastery is extreme. To get to it, you must drive down deep into the valley or canyon and then snake way back up again. The hairpin turns and the sheer amount of them is incredible. Perched atop a mountain, the Tatev Monastery once hosted 1,000 monks. It has been fully restored and is once again operational.
The center of the country is dominated by the massive Lake Sevan (it is also a national park). You will see plenty of people selling their fish on the side of the road. One of the best places to see this great lake is the town of Lchashen and once there, one should visit the Church Sevenavank on a peninsula that juts out and affords spectacular views of the lake.
In short, this is just scratching the surface, but Armenia is a safe destination that should be on everyone's bucket list.