All Women's Talk

7 Outstanding Places to Visit in Armenia ...

By Neecey

You might not necessarily have ever considered the places to visit in Armenia. Many of you have probably not even have heard of this former Soviet state, but, I’m sure you will have soon. Tourism is developing as fast as its economy, and there are some excellent hotels and places to stay to enjoy the very many attractions of Armenia. It’s a fascinating country. There are mountains, lush forests and lakes to enjoy, monasteries and remote regions to explore, a vibrant café culture and places where time has stood still. So, come with me as we look at some of the great places to visit in Armenia.

1 Yerevan

YerevanThis antique city will always be top of the best places to visit in Armenia. For one it’s the nation’s capital and for another, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Thanks to its age, only the outskirts bear any sign of the Soviet grey sprawl, with the center being boulevards with cafés, rings of parkland, elegant squares and some beautiful 19th century buildings. Yerevan has everything you ask of a capital city, and its own special and unique flavour. There are museums aplenty, a zoo, a thriving entertainment scene, a trendy art scene and a very definite café culture.

2 The Debed Canyon

The Debed CanyonHaving more culture and history packed into a small area makes the Debed Canyon one of the great attractions of Armenia. What it doesn’t have though is tourist facilities, so most visitors stay in Vanadzor and make trips into the canyon area daily. These trips can take in the monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat, both World Heritage-listed as well as tons of little villages along the Debed River, each of which has a chapel, church or old fort of interest. There are also many khachkars everywhere (stone crosses – examples of Medieval Christian Armenian art).

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3 Goris

GorisIf you want to chill out in an ancient mountain town, you’ll love Goris. High up in the mountains of Syunik, time seems to have stood still here. The pace of life is slow as the locals don’t engage in much industry or commerce, preferring the traditional ways of living off the land (and a prayer). The leafy avenues are lined by fine built stone houses with arch windows and balconies, and everyone is happy to stop for a chat. There are excellent churches to be explored, but the most popular place, also one of the attractions of Armenia people visit Goris for, is the Rock Forest. On the bank of the Goris river on one side is a cave city, and on the other, volcanic tuff columns that have been twisted into weird shapes by centuries of weather erosion.

4 Lake Sevan

Lake SevanYou might be quite surprised to find that one of the reasons to visit Armenia is the beach. Each brief but hot summer, the south side shore of beautiful Lake Sevan becomes a veritable riviera where everyone flocks to enjoy the sun and the turquoise water. The main stretch is very busy with lots of activities such as water ski-ing, paddleboats and beach volleyball. Quieter beaches are found closer to Sevan town.

5 Mount Aragats

Mount AragatsWith all four peaks standing at around 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), Mount Aragats is the tallest mountain in Armenia. The mountain is a volcanic crater and there’s also a small lake (Lake Kar) at 3,000 meters. As well as being geologically fascinating, there are plenty of myths about Aragats. The mountain is also home to some medieval architecture including a monastery, fort and observatory/weather station. Although warm in summer, Aragats has a snow cap for about 250 days a year.

6 Etchmiadzin Cathedral

Etchmiadzin CathedralIf one of your passions is ecclesiastical architecture, you’ll find plenty of places to visit in Armenia. One being Etchmiadzin Cathedral – the oldest state built church in the world. If you know your history, you’ll be aware that Armenia was the first official Christian country in the world and the original basilica was built in 301-303 AD. Today, the scenic cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and sits in a compound with other buildings which includes a museum.

7 Tatev

TatevThe gorgeous scenery of the Vorotan River Canyon is what brings most visitors to Tatev and the hikes along, within and atop the canyon offer spectacular views. There are springs on the canyon floor, some forming pools you can swim in and there’s also the legendary Satan’s Bridge. The amazing monastery of Tatev perched on a rock fortress is a jaw-dropping bonus. Another World Heritage Site, the monastery and church were a university way back, and the complex was hugely significant in the religious, social and economic life of the region.

If you are looking for somewhere that will offer a vacation with a difference, Armenia will enthrall and captivate. I really want to go to Yerevan. What places to visit in Armenia have caught your attention?

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