With its small size and fascinating culture, Armenia is quickly gaining popularity as a tourist destination. Armenia, the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion, has some of Europe’s most breathtaking scenery, with Mount Ararat’s summit dominating the landscape. Ararat is regarded holy by Armenians since it is mentioned in the Bible as the location where Noah’s Ark landed. Despite its top being just over the Turkish border, the mountain serves as Armenia’s national symbol. Numerous stunning monasteries can be found throughout Armenia, and many of them are situated in breathtakingly magnificent landscapes. Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is one of the European cities that is growing the fastest as the country continues to promote tourism.
Yerevan, the nation’s capital and by far its biggest city, is a fantastic spot to begin seeing Armenia. The city is home to the impressive Republic Square, and visiting the monument honoring the Soviet victory in World War II by ascending the Cascade is a must. To discover more about the nation’s turbulent past, you must visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, a city with a rich history. A trek into the Hrazdan gorge is also strongly advised, as is the Vernissage flea market, which is open on the weekends. Day tours from Yerevan, also referred to as the “City of Cafes,” are a convenient way to experience most of what Armenia has to offer. In addition, Yerevan is home to Levon’s Amazing Underground World, one of Europe’s most unique tourist destinations, and the Blue Mosque, the only mosque in the entire nation.
2. Shikahogh State Reserve
Shikahogh State Reserve, Armenia’s second-largest forest reserve, is so unspoilt that many areas are still unknown today. Although its fauna has not yet been thoroughly studied, it is thought that the forest is home to a variety of creatures, including leopards, bears, wild goats, and vipers. It is also claimed that Shikahogh State Reserve has over 1,100 varieties of plants. In 2005, a proposed motorway put the reserve in danger, but environmental groups were successful in securing protection for the forest’s future. There are several breathtaking waterfalls in the reserve as well.
3. Lake Sevan
The largest lake in Armenia is called Lake Sevan, and it is a stunning location to explore when on vacation there. The Sevanavank Monastery, possibly the most remarkable of the surrounding gorgeous monasteries, provides a glorious picturesque backdrop to a relaxed journey. The lake offers a variety of recreational activities, including windsurfing, along with a vast selection of top-notch seafood restaurants right on its coast. Since Armenia lacks a coastline, Lake Sevan’s several popular beaches make it the greatest spot to tan in the nation. Sevan Bay and the mountains that surround it also make for breathtaking scenery.
4. Dilijan national park
There are four national parks in Armenia, and Dilijan National Park is arguably the most stunning of the magnificent bunch. The park, which was recently created in 2002, is renowned for both its natural landmarks and its therapeutic mineral water springs. The grounds of the park are home to many of Armenia’s most significant cultural sites, including the Akhnabat church, Goshavank Monastery, Jukhtak Vank, and Haghartsin Monastery. Additionally, the Dilijan national park’s boundaries include the basins of the rivers Aghestev and Getik.
5. Mount Aragats
The dormant volcano Mount Aragats, which is situated in Armenia’s northern region, is one of the country’s most breathtaking natural attractions. It is the highest peak in Armenia, and the area at its base is covered in hundreds of years’ worth of ancient paintings of animals and human-like forms. Although Mount Aragats is nearly always covered in snow, it is climbable; the best months to do so are July, August, and September. The hardest of the four peaks to climb is the northern summit, which rises to a height of almost 4,000 meters.
6. Lake Arpi
While Lake Sevan can get very congested during the busiest travel months, Lake Arpi has a much cozier atmosphere. The Akhurian River originates in Lake Arpi, which is also used for irrigation and hydropower generation. Around the lake, a new park was created in 2009 to preserve the area’s natural habitat, which is home to about 100 different species of birds. A Ramsar Convention protected site, Lake Arpi also has a diverse range of flora and animals. Camping and walking tours are two of Lake Arpi’s recreational options. It is home to one of the largest colonies of Armenian Gulls.
One of Armenia’s distinctive features is its monasteries, and Noravank has some of the nation’s most breathtaking examples. The monastery, which was constructed in the 13th century, is protected by stark brick-red cliffs. Noravank is well-known for its Astvatsin (Holy Mother of God) church, and the legend claims that when the Mongols conquered Armenia hundreds of years ago, God himself intervened to save the monastery. Noravank would be a very wise choice if you could only visit one monastery while visiting Armenia because hundreds of visitors come here each year.
Gyumri, Armenia’s second-largest city, is a must-see for anyone visiting the nation for the first time. The Black Fortress on the hill that overlooks Gyumri is perhaps the ideal location from which to take in the city’s sights, and the enormous Mother Armenia statue is also close. Gyumri is home to many of Armenia’s most significant cultural institutions, including the Sergey Merkurov House-Museum, the Aslamazyan Sisters House-Museum, and the Dzitoghtsyan Museum of Social Life and National Architecture of Gyumri. With almost a thousand historic structures, the Kumayri Historic District is Gyumri’s oldest neighborhood.
Vanadzor, which is found in Armenia’s northern region, is the country’s third-largest city. One of the best destinations to visit in Armenia is the stunning Lori region, which is easily accessible from Vanadzor. One of the best tourist destinations in the city is the Vanadzor Botanical Garden, and tourists can also think about visiting the Vanadzor fine art museum. Due to the abundance of mineral springs in the Lori region, Vanadzor and the surrounding areas provide a broad variety of fantastic spas. Although Vanadzor is predominantly an industrial city, it also has a large number of theaters, including the Vanadzor Puppet Theatre and the Bohem Chamber Theatre.
10. Amberd Fortress
Amberd Fortress, which dates to the seventh century, is one of Armenia’s most beautiful tourist destinations. The citadel, which used to be one of the main military strongholds of the Armenian Kingdom, is accessible from the capital city of Yerevan in about an hour. However, during the winter, snowfall can make the castle impassable, with the weather often getting better by late May. The stronghold itself is quite gorgeous, and the view from the top is much more so. The Byurakan Observatory and the town of Byurakan are close to each other.
The country of Armenia is perfect for winter sports due to its mountainous landscape, and its best ski resort can be located at Tsaghkadzor in the country’s center. Ski lift prices in Europe are among the lowest because they are paid for per use. Tsaghkadzor contains some of the best hotels in the nation, and the Senator Royale casino complex within the resort is one of the greatest entertainment hubs in the country. The Kecharis Monastery, one of Armenia’s most significant religious complexes, is located near Tsaghkadzor and dates to the beginning of the 11th century.
12. Upper Azat Valley
The magnificent Geghard Monastery, for which the Upper Azat Valley is well known, is one of Armenia’s World Heritage Sites. Although the monastery’s main chapel was not erected until 800 years ago, Gregory the Illuminator actually founded it in the fourth century. One of the most significant religious places in Armenia is the Geghard Monastery because, according to mythology, it originally held one of the spears that was used to crucify Jesus Christ and was transferred to Armenia by Apostle Thaddeus. The St. Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) chapel, which is partially carved out of rock, is also located in the Upper Azat Valley.
13. Karahunj Observatory
One of the most fascinating spots to visit while on vacation in Armenia is Karahunj, which is frequently regarded to as the equivalent of Britain’s Stonehenge in Armenia. Near the city of Sisian in the Syunik region, Karahunj is home to more than 200 enormous stone tombs. In the center of the site, 40 stones stand in a circle, ostensibly in honor of Ari, the Sun-named chief god of Armenia. The finds from Karahunj, which is reputed to be the oldest observatory of its sort in the world, are the subject of a modest museum in Sisian.
14. Khor Virap
While Mount Ararat can be seen from virtually anywhere in Armenia, the Khor Virap monastery, which is a worthwhile destination in and of itself, has possibly the greatest views of the peak. One of the most significant historical places in Armenian history is this area since it served as Gregory the Illuminator’s 14-year prison camp before he was able to heal King Trdat III of his illness. The King later became a Christian, opening the door for Armenia’s continued religious development. Since Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned in Khor Virap’s underground chamber, which is one of Armenia’s most important pilgrimage sites as well, Khor Virap is now a favorite location for Armenian weddings.
Dvin, one of Armenia’s oldest cities and once the nation’s capital during the Middle Ages, is our final choice for the greatest locations to visit in Armenia. According to Unesco, Dvin formerly housed a fortress from the sixth century BC, and amazing artifacts are frequently discovered in this region of Armenia. The city also offers more up-to-date attractions, such as the St. Harutyun Church in Dvin, which was constructed in 2000. The Cathedral of St. Grigor formerly stood in Dvin, but currently all that is left of the structure are the stone foundations that archaeologists have discovered.
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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