Armenia is a nation, and former Soviet republic, in the mountainous Caucasus region between Asia and Europe. Among the earliest Christian civilizations, it’s defined by religious sites including the Greco-Roman Temple of Garni and 4th-century Etchmiadzin Cathedral, headquarters of the Armenian Church. Khor Virap Monastery is a pilgrimage site near Mount Ararat, a dormant volcano just across the border in Turkey.
This is a nation that is landlocked country of rugged mountains and extinct volcanoes, located in the southern Caucasus, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
Numerous monuments and masterpieces of the Ancient era and Middle Ages can be found throughout the country. Tourism in Armenia is rooted in the country’s historical landmarks and natural attractions such as the water resorts of Lake Sevan, the hot springs of Arzni and Jermuk, the forests of Dilijan, Aghveran, Tsaghkadzor, Bjurakan and Gugark, and the mountainous natural caves and cliffs of the Southeast region. The 5165 meter Mount Ararat, geographically located in Turkey, is a national symbol of Armenia and is visible from much of the Southwest region.
You will be reminded frequently when visiting Armenia that it was the world’s first officially Christian country, since countless monasteries are among Armenia’s premier tourist attractions. Fortunately for those who might otherwise suffer monastery fatigue, many of these monasteries are built in places of incredible natural beauty, making the sites of monasteries like Tatev, Noravank, Haghartsin, Haghpat and Geghard well worth a visit even without the impressive, millennium old monasteries found there.
Since 2001 when Armenia celebrated the 1,700th anniversary of the nation’s conversion to Christianity, the number of tourists visiting the country has grown by about 25% every year. Straddling Europe and Asia in the lesser Caucasus Mountains, an ex-Soviet state with a culture over 3,000 years old and examples of ancient architecture and art all over the countryside, this beautiful country offers something exotic for many tourists.
Although there are more and more road signs in Latin script, especially in Yerevan, English is not widely spoken in Armenia. Many taxi drivers and salespeople in grocery stores and malls do not speak or understand English. Russian has remained the most important foreign language.Armenia’s small, very homogeneous population (about 99% Armenian) is strongly family-oriented. All across the land, people place a lot of pride in their hospitality. Show up in a village without a penny, and food and a place to stay will come to you along with drinks and endless toasts.
By far the largest city in Armenia, the capital Yerevan is a great place to start for anyone wishing to explore Armenia. The city is home to the grand Republic Square, while climbing the Cascade to see the city’s monument to Soviet victory in the Second World War is a must. Yerevan is a deeply historic city and visiting the Armenian Genocide Memorial is a must to learn more about the nation’s troubled past. Vernissage flea market is worth visiting too – it is open at the weekend – while a walk through the Hrazdan gorge is also highly recommended. Much of what Armenia has to offer can be explored during day trips from Yerevan, which is known as the City of Cafes. Yerevan is also home to Blue Mosque, which is the only mosque in the whole of the country, as well as Levon’s Amazing Underground World, which is one of Europe’s most unusual attractions.
Other key places to visit are: Echmiadzin. Tatev Monastery. Lake Sevan. Selim Pass. Jermuk. Karahunj and the cave city of Khndzoresk.
To reach Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia there are many flights from Sharjah, Dubai.