When hearing the ancient name of the country Nairi which means “Country of Rivers” no one doubts that this country is not a tropical paradise but rather a small plot of land on the crossroad of Asia and Europe.
Due to the long history of the country, the locals got a chance to communicate both with Europeans and Asians and thus this couldn’t escape from influencing on the culture of this country. The great mixture of these two civilizations spiced with the local spirit turns into something awesome.
So, let’s get the top five things about Armenia that are worldknown:
1.The first country that got Christianity as a state religion.
2.The country whose native language is considered to be in the top 5 hardest languages in the world
3.Place which has quiet great skiing resorts and health centers, lots of places for sight-seeing
4.Place which is popular with its brandy (even Winston Churchill loved it), pure mineral water called “Jermuk” and of course, the thick bread called “lavash”
5.Place where you can find a huge natural diversity that you can not find anywhere else
Attractions of the country
The main attractions of the country can be truly divided into 2 categories: places to visit in terms of historical significance and also places for the active leisure.
The temples that definitely fit into the first category can be considered to be Garni and Geghart. The most interesting thing about the temples is the fact that when one of them looks a lot like a Greek temple due to the creation dating of the Hellenistic times, then the second one is a typical Armenian temple made of local stone called tuf.
Among the other places we should mention also Zvartnots Cathedral. This ancient building got ruined during one of the quite strong earthquakes which stroke the country for a lot of times. But still you can witness the remains of the Cathedral and with the help of the guide find out some of the secrets of this ancient architecture Trdat. Except of the actual ruins you’ll be able to have a beautiful Mount of Ararat which is regardless of the location (now it’s in the territory of Turkey) is considered to be one of the symbols of the country.
The next stop needs to be in the region of Vayq. The nature here during the spring-summer period is just astonishing. Everything is quite green with lots of flowers and plants. Here is one of the National Parks for the saving the animals which are on the danger of becoming extinct animals. This region is full of various forests where you can enjoy having a picnic. Here you can also find the popular Monastery of Noravanq. It’s exclusive with the interior drawings and the architecture.
As for those who love to combine site-seeing with some extreme Khor Virap is a great place to do so. This monastery complex is designed in a way so that the tourists can get into the holes where one of the Armenian Church leaders was buried and also the place where he was kept as a prisoner.
Places for active leisure
Those who enjoy having a great time when having an active rest, the best places to visit in Armenia are the Kotayk region during the wintertime and of course the pearl of the country- Lake Sevan during the summer time.
The country is popular for having a great skiing resort. Here everything is designed for having a great rest- you don’t even need to worry about the equipments as here you will be provided by all of them. The only thing to keep in mind is the name of the resort- Tsakhkadzor-“The Canyon of Flowers”.
As to the Lake Sevan- let’s say that the beauty of the Lake is appealing that even some of the directors shoot their videos right here. This resort is also quite modern- here you can drive motor-boats and do some wind-surfing or simply rent a mini-cruise ship and have a rest for your own. The resort is full of verious places that you can stay in: starting from the camping opportunities up to luxury hotels.
Armenian Cuisine is quiet close to what they eat in Eastern Asia, most of the dishes are using garlic, onions and various kinds of peppers as the main spices. Meat is considered to be the non-separating part of the national cuisine. The dishes made of meat are always the first dish- it’s either “khorovats”- Armenian barbeque, “khash”-a dish made of pork or “khinkali” which is also considered to be one of the main dishes of Caucasus. As for the salads and appetizers the cuisine is rather close to one they have in other Eastern Countries.
As for those who don’t have enough courage to taste the local dishes, it’s not a pity. You can always try out various salads and dishes which are either borrowed from Russians or the Europeans. There are also various Asian food restaurants all over the country and thus there’s no need to worry that you’ll be starving here.
Best places to stay in: The country has a long list of hotels and hostels that you can stay in. Many of them are located in the capital of the country- Yerevan. Even one of the major hotel chains Marriott has a hotel in the center of the Yerevan- right on the main square having a great view to the main attractions of the city. Another quite popular place among the youth is Envoy Hostel which is also in the center of the city.
Best things to do:
Option 1: Visit a local village to witness how Armenian villagers are cooking the traditional bread, participate in the gathering of grapes for the wine or visit the brandy factory to enjoy the smooth taste of Armenian brandy.
Option 2: Get a ticket for one of the traditional music concerts and enjoy the local music, visit one of the local cuisine restaurants and also spend some time on “Vernisage”- a local open-air mall where you can take some souvenirs to your family and friends.
Best time for the visit: For those who are not planning to have a skiing resort over here it’s a lot better to visit the country either during the spring. It’s the time when the whole country is full of blossoming trees and their charming smell is spread all over the territory. Another option is during the summer time- it’s the only time when you can enjoy the most fruits of the country and especially the so-called red- cheek apricot- which is the national symbol of the country.