Tour Advice DMC & Tour Operator welcomes everyone to the country of special hospitality - Armenia,
Tour Advice LLC is a Full-Service travel company established in February, 2010. Company operates two branches in Yerevan. The head office is located in the heart of the capital, on Sayat–Nova Street, and branch office is located in B-Plaza Business Center on 24 Azatutyan Street.
Our team is specialized in both inbound and outbound tourism offering a whole range of services. Whatever the interests, we do our best to please our customers and assist them to enjoy all the magic that a holy land, proudly called Armenia, can offer.
As hospitable Armenian people, we take care of all our guests from start to end, no matter the time and location, seven days a week, twenty four hours a day. We prioritize the safety of our clients and the calmness of their nerves, be it at the airport, at the hotel, on the roads, or even at leisure. We are led with the principle that every visitor is VIP. We treat them with a special and unique approach. We consider every simple detail to help our visitors have a complete relaxation and a wonderful pastime, as only an entirely relaxed person can fully grasp all the magic and philosophy of this Biblical land. We are eager to show all the richness of historical Armenia and its natural and handmade treasures.
Company’s portfolio organization of 20 events. The company has served more than 10k travelers in the destination of operation – Armenia and Georgia.
With Travel Advice be sure to keep your impressions of Armenia for the rest of your life as we can give you Intelligent Travel Advice for Memorable Experience.
Getting to Know Some of The Best Attractions and Sights in Armenia (By Provinces)
Yerevan (The Capital City)
If you are planning to visit Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, the city will always be ready to welcome you.
Yerevan is one of the most ancient cities in the world. It was founded in 782 B.C. The city is 29 years older than Rome, is the same age as Babylon and the Assyrian city of Nineveh. That is probably one of the reasons the city is referred as an “open-air museum”.
Lying on the main trade routes between East and West, Yerevan was constantly fought back and forth during the course of the time.
Yerevan has celebrated its 2800th anniversary in 2018. Despite the fact of having complicated and dramatic history, the city is a home to hospitable people who will always be there to help discover many interesting and fascinating things to do and places to go in Yerevan.
One of the greatest things about the capital is that it is perfectly walkable city, and you can see a lot of sightseeing simultaneously.
One of the most popular spots in the city is the Cascade Complex. The complex is easily noticeable due to its beautifully crafted marble stairs. There are merely 572 steps and if you walk up the “huge staircase”, you can enjoy the wonderful panorama of the city with the spectacular Opera House, Mount Ararat as well as the view to the whole city. You can see one of the finest examples of the Soviet Modernism right in the city center. The Cascade Complex with its surroundings considered to be one of the most visited places of Yerevan. Beside climbing Cascade, the Complex offers art galleries, art shops, sculpture garden, and more. Worth to mention that some of the best Yerevan coffee shops and restaurants for lunch are mainly located in the area where the Cascade Complex is.
Another inevitably must-see place in the city is the Yerevan Opera Theater. The building has a unique architectural style and it differs from the others in Yerevan. This architectural gem is located at the center of Yerevan. The creator of Yerevan, architect Alexander Tamanian, came up with the unusual design in the ’30s and ’60s, however, only in 1980 the theater was finalized with reconstruction. There are two halls in the Opera house: the theatre and the philharmonic society hall. The theatre has also hosted concerts performed by Charles Aznavour, Ian Anderson, John McLaughlin, Krzysztof Penderecki, and many others.
Another architectural and cultural gem in Yerevan is the renowned Matenadaran. This unique museum, the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts. is one of the rearrest in the world. The collection in Matenadaran is a mind-blowing 23,000 manuscripts and scrolls and is the biggest manuscript collection in the world. From the world’s biggest book to the world’s smallest book, Matenadaran contains a wide variety of manuscripts, even some from civilizations that no longer exist nowadays.
If you are in the capital of Armenia so you know that all the roads lead to the Republic Square, which is the main square of the country. The square is surrounded by five major buildings built in pink and yellow tuff in the neoclassical style with extensive use of Armenian motifs. Republic Square was constructed in 1924 by the notable Armenian architect Alexander Tamanyan. The Square is an essential for the capital city because its ensemble includes the Government House, two buildings that formerly housed the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Transport and Communications, and more. Besides, you will be able to find the History Museum and the National Gallery right in the Republic Square. The Armenia Marriott Hotel, one of the most popular hotels, is located in a historical building, in the same area. Worth to mention that the History Museum and the National Gallery is one of the most visited and beloved museum galleries in the country. The gallery founded in 1921, contains 26,000 artworks and 56 galleries and halls while the History Museum of Armenia holds a national collection consisting of about 400,000 archeological, numismatic and ethnographical objects. The Singing Fountains are also in the Republic Square.
The Memorial Complex of Tsitsernakaberd is a monument dedicated in memory of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The main complex was built in 1967, while the museum-institute was opened in 1995. The complex has an original architectural design and is considered an important site and an architectural masterpiece of Yerevan. The complex measures 4,500 square meters, which includes a genocide museum and a garden where the leaders of different countries have plant trees in memory of the victims.
One of the most recognizable and inevitably noticeable statues in Yerevan, is the statue of Mother Armenia, which symbolizes the country as a body and soul of a strong Armenian and peace through strength. The statue is located on the top of a hill in Victory Park, the monument came to replace the statue of Joseph Stalin in 1967. Mother Armenia holds a covered sword in her hands and a shield next to her legs as the protector of peace and harmony. The statue is situated on a beautiful pedestal designed by architect R. Israyelyan which displays traditional Armenian symbols and architecture elements. The height of Mother Armenia and the pedestal is approximately 51 meters, which makes it very visible from different parts of Yerevan.
One of the greatest experiences in Yerevan is the brandy factory museums. Both museums are spectacular. The legendary Ararat Brandy Factory is one of the most visited, which is a perfect place to try one of the world’s best Armenian brandies (cognac). The Ararat Brandy Factory is located right next to the Victory bridge (built during the WWII) at the entrance of the city.
Another great place to get acquainted with the Armenian alcohol making is the Yerevan Noy Wine Brandy Vodka Factory. It is a genuinely historical monument, built on the edge of Hrazdan Gorge. The capacity of the 125-year-old fortress factory is very large due to the fact that it goes many floors underground, and the experience there is truly memorable. Each underground floor contains different old barrels filled with wine and brandy and historical alcohol-producing equipment. The guests in this facility will see, touch, and taste the alcohol at the end of the tour in a special celebration room.
Since Yerevan is one of the most ancient cities in the world it is inevitable to get around the archaeological sites. One of the most renowned is the Erebuni Historical & Archeological Culture-Preserve. Founded in 1968, the Erebuni Museum is not the nearest place to see in Yerevan center but it’s an absolute archeological gem that showcases three amazing historical sites: Arin Berd, Karmir Blur, and Shengavit.
The region and in particular Armenia is famous for its indigenous carpets and rugs, and there is a perfect place in Yerevan, where you can get acquainted with the art of carpet making. It is the Megerian Carpet Musuem. It is one of the oldest carpet and rug brands in the world, since the Megerian family, who was originally from Armenia but later moved to New York, has been in the carpet business for over 100 years. Originally, they were focused on selling rugs, but later learned the art of restoring existing antiques. Right in this museum you can see centuries old carpets and rugs. The Megerian carpets are now being produced in several countries including Egypt, Armenia, Romania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China, with over 22 facilities in Armenia. Apart from its 5th Avenue location in New York City, the company has showrooms in Italy, France, Switzerland, and Germany.
Armenia being the first Christian country in the world, has a centuries old mosque. The only operating mosque in Armenia, the beautiful Blue Mosque is a quiet and harmonious place located in the center of Yerevan. The 18th-century Shia Mosque was closed down during the Soviet era and reopened in the 1990s with funding from the Iranian government. The gorgeous garden surrounded by amazing, colorful architecture is a well-loved place to visit for both locals and tourists.
Yerevan has a lot of parks in this tiny area, where you can get around the city life, and feel yourself truly great surrounded by nature.
A beautiful and refreshing place for a long walk, is the Yerevan Botanical Garden, which is a perfectly peaceful point to visit. There are several greenhouses throughout the park, some of which are open to the public. The garden is home to over 200 species of plants, some that are very rare and endangered. It is a popular place for newlyweds to take pictures and a great picnic spot for families and friends.
Another great spot to spend a time is the English Park, which is one of the oldest parks in Yerevan, since it dates back to the 1860s. In 1920, it hosted the first-ever football match in the modern history of Armenia. On the outskirts of English Park, you can find the Sundukyan Academic Theatre, the French Embassy, the Italian Embassy, and the Best Western Congress Hotel.
One of the most exceptional parks in Yerevan is the Tumo Park. It has an absolutely breath-taking view of the city and the gorge where it stands over. Particularly popular in the summer, the park is noticeably cooler than the city center, so it is a great place to find refuge from the hot summer.
Extreme and adventure right in the capital city of Armenia is absolutely possible.
The infamous Yerevan Zipline is the longest one in Armenia, and it crosses over the gorgeous Hrazdan Gorge and passes under the bridge at the height of 90 meters. The longest line at Yerevan Zipline is 870 meters and the second line is 650 meters. You can fly down at a speed of 150km and admire beautiful views of the gorge mixed with an adrenaline rush. If you love adventures make sure to not miss out the experience the zipline offers, with its stunning views of the city and gorge.
There is a perfect place for souvenir lovers. It is the Vernissage Market, which is an open-air market and gallery and another famous Yerevan tourist spot. You can find local handicrafts at stands or inside some of the stores around the area. This market is one of the most famous Yerevan attractions where souvenirs, jewelry, and many more items are found.
Yerevan has variety of street where you can get in touch with the old town. The most famous ones are theHanrapetutyun, Arami, Abovyan streets. The Hanrapeutyun is easy to find since it is one of the most central parts of the city. Hanrpetutyan has some of Yerevan’s oldest buildings, dating back to the end of the 19th century. One of the most interesting buildings is the N32.
The Arami is one of the most famous ones in the city. This street was named after the legendary Aram Manukian, who was the “Popular Dictator” and Minister of Internal Affairs for the First Republic back in the 1919. It was one of the most fashionable streets in Yerevan, where the “Armenian Belle Époque” mansions could be found. Unfortunately, very few remain now.
The Abovyan Street is probably the most walkable streets of the capital. It is a perfect place and hidden courtyards, where you can find refuge from the heat of the summer under trees and near the fountains. This street is also lined with cafes, which have pleasant outdoor seating along the sidewalk, where you can enjoy a drink or meal.
The visit to the capital city is genuinely inevitable, since it is one of the most convenient and comfortable cities out there, you can find out a lot of touristic and, at the same time. underrated attractions on your own.
Yerevan has a lot to offer its visitors, so make sure to add it on your travel bucket list, when you are in Armenia.
The Aragatsotn Province
Armenia is referred as a mountainous country for most of the people, and the Aragatsotn province is a great example proving it.
The Aragatsotn Province back in the days had an important role in international trade affairs. It was located on the network of routes on Armenia’s Silk Road. Noteworthy to say that the province is a home to the country’s tallest mountain, Aragats, a four peaked extinct volcano of 4090 meters. However, the province has certainly a lot to offer both for nature and history and archaeology lovers.
Catch some of the best attractions and sights worth to visit in Aragatsotn:
The city of Aparan, located on the Yerevan-Spitak highway, is one of the prominent cities in Aragatsotn. There are several eye-catching sites here that visitors should check out when passing through. One of them is the Kasagh Basilica (also called as the St. Khach), built in the late 4th century, it is one of the fewest basilic churches in Armenia and a great place for a religious tour. Next must-visit in the town of Aparan is the “Renaissance” monument, consisting of three separate monuments built in memory of the Armenian Genocide, the heroic battle of Aparan (May 21 of 1918), and of the victims of World War II (1939-1945).
The city of Ashtarak is considered to be the capital of the Aragatsontn province. It is located on the bank of the Kasagh River at an altitude of 1100 meters above sea level. For those of you who aren’t aware, the town of Ashtarak is a home to 7th century renowned twin churches of Spitakavor and Karmravor. Another must see place in the town is the Kasagh three-arched, stone-built bridge of 1664 right on the Kasagh river. Noteworthy to say that Kasagh along with Talin was often mentioned as Casala, (the Hellenized version of Kasagh), and Talina (now Talin) by Ptolemy, during the reign of the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia, back in the 12 CE.
On the southwest of the town of Ashtarak, there is a major village of Oshakan, also worth to pay a visit. It is known as the site of the grave of Mesrop Mashtots (buried in 443), who was the creator of the Armenian alphabet. Another very interesting site in Oshakan, especially for archeologists and historians, is the hill of “Didi Cond.” Which is a home to dozens of mausoleums and monuments. One of them is a 0.25-hectare fortress dating back to the 6th-5th centuries BC.
Beside the cultural tours the town offers wide range of a recreation tour right in the stunning Kasagh Gorge.
Right on the edge of the Kasagh Gorge, in the village of Saghmosavan, you can see an astonishing monastic complex of Saghmosavank or Psalm Monastery of 13th century. Most of the monasteries in Armenia used to have academic schools, the Saghmosavank is not an exception here as well. Another prominent spot in the Aragatsotn is the Hovhannavank Monastery of 13th century. The Hovhannavank and Saghmosavank monasteries are situated within walking distance from each other, hence you can easily make a day trip out of this.
Another spectacular place to give a visit is the Mount Aragats, which is one of the most iconic mountains not only in the Aragatsotn region but in all of Armenia and the Caucasus. The mountain is easily noticeable due to its four peaks. We are happy to announce that the Mt Aragast is not only a favorable hiking location but also an entire archeological site. Here, right in the slopes of the Mount you can find a 4th century Arsacid (Arshakuni) dynasty’s mausoleum, which was originally transferred from the Ani-Kamakh by Vassak Mamikonian who was the supreme commander of the armed forces in ancient and medieval Armenia. Near the royal mausoleum you can find a church constructed adjacent to the site in the late 4th – early 5th centuries.
Amberd Fortress located right in the slopes of the Mt Aragats, is one of the most iconic and underrated historic attractions in Armenia. Translated to “fortress in the clouds,” Amberd Fortress is a 10th-century fortress located at an altitude of 2,300 meters above sea level. According to some sources, the Amberd Fortress was a holiday residence for the Armenian monarchs. Even though the fortress was captured and destroyed by the Mongols in 1236. It was left untouched until the 20th century when it was reconstructed. Now the Amberd fortress greets its visitors with all its glory. Near the fortress you can find the Vahramashen Church, built in 1029 by the Prince Vahram Pahlavuni.
Another must-visit place for a nature lover is the Gegharot waterfall, which may be one of the most underrated spots of Aragatsotn. It’s located about 12 km away from Aragats village.
Another perfect spot especially for archaeologies is the town of Talin, it is one of the oldest centers of civilization in the region. It was inhabited back in the 2nd century BC. The renowned Talin Cathedral of 7th century is also situated there. It is considered to be one of the most typical examples of Armenian church architecture from the early Christian period. However, noteworthy to mention that the dome has collapsed and the cathedral is inactive. Beside the cathedral and archaeological sites, Talin has a Political Café, so make sure to spend your time there.
There is no trip to the Aragatsotn province without visiting the Armenian Alphabet Monument, a monumental tribute to every Armenia letter. It is one of the most visited places in Armenia, and you can see both locals and tourists walking around, finding the letter that corresponds with the first letter of their name, and taking pictures of it.
The Aragatsotn province is not only a perfect location for history and nature lover, but it also an excellent spot for astronomers and overall astronomy fanatics, since the main astrophysical observatory of the country, Byurakan built during the Soviet period (1946) is located right in this province. Aside from scientific study, the observatory engages in educational activities by hosting amateur tours and lectures.
Beside the Byurakan observatory you can easily find the Radio Optical Observatory ROT-54 (also known as Orgov Radio-Optical Telescope), which is a huge aantenna and radio receiver that detects radio waves from astronomical radio sources and is mostly utilized in radio astronomy. It is located at the RRI Aragats Scientific Center in the town of Orgov in Aragatsotn.
The Aragatsotn Province is a home to number of water resources. One of the most underrated of them is the Aparan Reservoir, which is an artificial reservoir. Nearby, you can check out the ruins of church St. Poghos Petros, built in the 4th-century, and the nearby ancient tombs.
Another treasure of the province is the mountainous Kari Lake. The lake is situated at an altitude of 3,200m and is surrounded by ice, the water is very cold year-round, even if you’re are planning to visit in the hot summer months.
There is no trip to the Aragatsotn province without visiting the Armenian Alphabet Monument, a monumental tribute to every Armenia letter. It is one of the most visited places in Armenia, and you can see both locals and tourists walking around, finding the letter that corresponds with the first letter of their name, and taking pictures of it.
The Aragatsotn province has a lot to offer its visitors, so make sure to add it on your travel bucket list, when you are in Armenia.
The Ararat Province
The Ararat province is probably one of the most underrated provinces of Armenia. It is the province where you can still feel the Hellenistic breath. The Ararat province is naturally named after the biblical Mt Ararat, where, the Book of Genesis says Noah’s Ark came to rest on after the Great Deluge.
Catch some of the best attractions and sights worth to visit in Ararat:
The capital of the province is Artashat, beside it, the two of the ancient capitals of Armenia, Dvin and Artashat are also within the province, which we will talk about later.
One of the most remarkable places of the province is the Khosrov State Reserve. The forest being both historical and natural monument is one of the first artificial forests in the world. It was initially founded as a hunting ground in the 4th century by the Armenian king Khosrov II Kotak. The forest was declared as a reserve in 1958. Khosrov Forest State Reserve is home to endangered animals and plants, for example, the Persian Leopard, Marbled Polecat, European Wildcat, brown bears, and the Bezoar Ibex. There are also 33 species of reptiles found in Khosrov and two of the main snakes are the Armenian Viper and the Mountain Grassland Viper. All in all, the Khosrov Forest is definitely a great spot for nature lovers. Another remarkable fact about the forest is that within the Khosrov Forest State Reserve, you will see a 2000-hectare area that is protected for its unique biodiversity. It is the CaucasusWildlife Refuge, the first private protected area in all of the South Caucasus.
However, the Khosrov Forest is not only nature and wildlife, as we mentioned above it is also remarkable historic sight as there are several notable attractions and landmarks, worth to visit.
The Kakavaberd Fortress of 9th century located within the Khosrov Forest State Reserve is probably one of the most underrated and untouched places in Armenia. The Kakavaberd is well-preserved but it is inaccessible from three sides because of the steep terrain. Inside the fortress, you will find the ruins of several structures, including a church.
Another underrated fortress in Armenia is the Gevorg Marzpetuni Castle of 10th century (also known as Tapi Fortress) which is technically within the forest, however, it is sort of detached from the main forest as the fort is located on the Mount Kotuts in the Kotuts Mountains, a branch of the Yeranos Mountain chain. Take into account that It might take a little long time to get inside, as it requires a 13-kilometer hike.
When we are thinking of the Ararat Province, the Khor Virap Monastery immediately comes into mind. The Monastery is probably the leading tourist attraction in the entire province and is absolutely worth the visit, aside it is one of the best observative desks for the Mt Ararat.
Originally, before Khor Virap was a symbol of Christian Armenia, it was a royal dungeon that was built by King Artashes who founded the historic capital of Armenia, Artashat, in 180 BC during the Artaxiad Dynasty.
King Artashes and later other royals was using the royal signet for a strategic purpose, much more for their personal enemies, hence Khor Virap literally means “deep dungeon”.
Gregory the Illuminator, made famous by helping to make Armenia the first nation to adopt Christianity as a state religion, was actually locked up for 13 years at Khor Virap in a dungeon. However, the monastery is strongly connected with a special person, Grigor the Illuminator the one who first preached Christianity and was the key reason that Armenia eventually became the first Christian country in the world in 301.
Before preaching Christianity, the Illuminator was an advisor to King Tiridates III, who believed in many gods and practiced Paganism in Armenia and was not satisfied with the information that Gregory was preaching Christianity, a one God religion, in his kingdom. That is one of the most significant reasons Grigori ended up being dropped into that dungeon to his death while he massively executed all Christians inside of the territory of the kingdom.
Later in 5th century a chapel was built in Khor Virap. A much larger one was built in 1662. Now the church and its composition started to become an icon in Armenia.
Another underrated town in the province is Artashat, located along the Aras River, 30 kms south of Yerevan. As mentioned before, it was founded by the King Artashes in 180 BC and was one of historic capitals of Armenia.
As historian Moses the Chorene mentioned in the 3rd century BC, Artashat was chosen on the advice of the Carthaginian general Hannibal. Antique writers Strabo and Plutarch called Artashat “a beautiful and large city”, “Armenian Cartagena”.
As the town used to be the most Hellenized one back in the days and largely dealt with the western culture, there are a lot of ruins and artifact evidencing it. Noteworthy to say the town and its surroundings used to be strongly involved in the cultural movement, which was conditioned by the political and economic rise in the country. It is a legit reason, that the town is one of the most renowned places for archaeology and history lovers.
Another ancient city is the Dvin, which was the capital of medieval Armenia in its early stages. It was located about 35 kilometers south of Yerevan along the Metsamor River. There have been many excavations in Dvin that have shown proof of civilization and Armenian culture between the 5th and 13th centuries. Noteworthy to mention that during excavations an ancient step pyramid, which form strongly resembles the pyramids located in Egypt and Mexico, was discovered in the village of Getazat, near Dvin. The investigations led the archaeologists to an unusual structure which was built in the 3th-2th millennia BC.
Another historic structure founded in the Ararat Province is the Turkmen Mausoleum. This Qara Qoyunlu mausoleum was built in 1413 when Armenia, due to its strategic significance, was constantly fought over and passed back and forth between Safavid Persia and the Ottomans. Now it is located the village of Argavand. The Funerary Tower was built to honor Turkmen Amira Pir Husein, a past ruler of Yerevan. It is also an amazing place to visit and witness a piece of local history.
Another must see place in Ararat is the stunning Angels’ Canyon. Surrounded by yellowish-orange rocks near the town of Vedi. There a hiking experience is needed and a it Is truly fantastic place to connect with the nature.
The Armavir Province
The Armavir Province in the West of Armenia, is probably one of the most renowned provinces among both locals and tourists. It is named after the ancient city of Armavir founded in 331 BC. Located in the Ararat valley, the biggest and the most fertile of 40 valleys of Armenian upland, the province is dominated by Mount Ararat from the south and Mount Aragats from the north, its capital is the town of Armavirwhile the largest city is Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin). The province shares a 72 km long border with Turkey to the south and west.
When you think of Armavir, Etchmiadzin (town and cathedral) is the first thing that comes to mind, however, the province has a lot to offer its visitors.
Catch some of the best attractions and sights worth to visit in Armavir:
The most significant site of the province is the religious and spiritual center of the Armenian Apostolic Church – The Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. The monastery was built by the King Trdates III and Gregory the Illuminator (the founder and first patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church). between 301-303 CE. Here you can visit St. Echmiadzin monastery complex, which is the key place of pilgrimage and the seat of the Catholicosate of all Armenians. This historically and culturally-rich city is located about 20 kilometers from the capital city and according to history, Etchmiadzin is the exact place, where two students named Saint Thaddeus and Saint Bartholomew came to Armenia to spread Christianity and wound up.
The Armavir province is home to one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Armenia, the ruins of the Zvartnots Cathedral. This UNESCO World Heritage Site sits right on the left side of the road, which leads to Etchmiadzin. it was the biggest and oldest tetraconch church of Armenia throughout its history. Built in the 7th century CE, Zvartnots Cathedral was a rare architectural monument because of its unique design and it was destroyed because of a devastated earthquake back in the 10th century. Now the sight is one of the most leading tour attractions across the entire country. Near the ruins of the cathedral there is a museum, where you can see rare artefacts excavated from the area.
Overall, there are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the small city and almost all of them survived enemy invasions and earthquakes that happened throughout its many centuries.
One of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage churches in Etchmiadzin is the Saint Gayane Church, a small church surrounded by a little garden of apricot trees. The church was built in 640 CE, there are still holding wedding and other traditional ceremonies. It is considered to be one of the coziest and most peaceful places in Etchmiadzin.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Saint Hripsime Cathedral. This 7th-century Cathedral is located right at the entrance of the city and gives tourists a great impression as they pass through.
The triangle of this churches completes the 7th-century Shoghakat Church. Unfortunately, it did not survive and had to be rebuilt in the 17th century by Prince Aghamal Sorotetsi. The name ‘Shoghakat’ in Armenian means ‘drop of light’ and this was the given name because of the light that shines from the heavens onto one of the virgin martyrs.
Not to mention The Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin, which is the most significant cultural and religious gem not only in the province, but also in the entire country. As mentioned at the bottom of the article, it is the exact place where Christianity started in Armenia, since it is the first Christian church in the world. The original church was built in the early 4th century between 301-303 CE by Armenia’s patron saint Gregory the Illuminator, later in medieval era an extension was added to the church, turning It into a cathedral.
Inside of The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin facility, there is oldest restaurant in the Caucasus and has been welcoming guests since the 17th-century. the restaurant has a spacious interior that can accommodate a lot of guests as well as a terrace that overlooks a beautiful rose garden.
Another archaeological and historic site worth to visit is the Metsamor Historical and Archaeological Museum. It is another joint open-air and indoor museum that the Armavir province. This museum is located about 16 minutes away from Etchmiadzin. This site dates back to the 5th millennium BC and stayed populated until around the 18th-century. The neolithic stone circles dating back to around 5000 BC, was excavated in 1965. The site has become a museum only during the Soviet Era, in 1968. It is another favourite place for history and archaeology lovers.
Another great and underrated point to visit is the village of Sardarapat. Right in this town you can find an astonishing memorial complex and museum built from red tuff stone. The Sardarapat Memorial Complex is dedicated to the battle of Sardarapat (May 21-29,1918). The entrance is flanked by huge winged oxen made of red tuff stone. A flight of steps leads to a square from which a 26-metre-high bell tower rises. This beautiful trellised structure with its twelve bells can be seen from afar. This is another great place to get acquainted with the history of Armenia.
The Armavir province is not surrounded by forests and high mountains as the other parts of Armenia, since it is flat, however, the Armavir province is rich in fruits and vegetables which is exactly why the Ararat Valley is famous for growing a large percentage of Armenia’s exported produce.
The Armavir province has a lot to offer its visitors, so make sure to add it on your travel bucket list, when you are in Armenia.
The Gegharkunik Province
The Gegharkunik Province is in the East of Armenia. It Is probably the most overvisited provinces among the other ones both by locals and tourists. Gegharkunik is the largest province in Armenia, however, 24% of the territory is covered with Lake Sevan. The capital of the province is the town of Gavar.
When you think of Gegharkunik, Lake Sevan is the first thing that comes to mind, and for a good reason. This astonishing lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the entire region, noteworthy to say it has a significant and vital meaning for a mankind.
Lake Sevan is a high-altitude lake surrounded by the Geghama Mountain chain, where it is possible to see the amazing landscape, ancient churches situated on the top of the hills and rocks facing the lake.
One of the most visited spots around the lake is definitely the Sevanavank Monastery. It is a 9th century monastery, and the highlight of this fascinating area, and the most famous historical and cultural monument in Gegharkunik region. The monastery is located on the peninsula of Lake Sevan, on the top of a hill that overlooks the lake. Worth to mention the north-western part of the lake used to be an island and during the Soviet period, the lake was drained a bit, creating a peninsula out of the former island. The monastery is surrounded by outstanding views and many khachkars (Armenian cross stones). The monastery is a great place to spend some time.
Another astonishing extension to the visit of Sevanavank is the Hayravank Monastery. It is a mesmerizing 9th century monastery located right on the edge of the Lake Sevan, near the village of Noratus. This is probably the most underrated ones in the entire region; however, its doors are open to its visitors, and there are still holding weddings and other spiritual ceremonies. Overall, it is a fantastic stop off of the main highway.
Another place to visit near the Lake Sevan is the Noratus Cemetery, the largest cemetery in the world. It is a home to the largest collection of cross stones. This cross-stone field has a significant meaning both for historians and archaeologies; however, it is truly a sight to behold for everyone. The present-day village was founded in 1829. There are two churches in this area: the first, dedicated to the Mother of God, is situated in the center of the village and was founded in the 9th century by the prince Sahak. Noteworthy to mention this astonishing field is added to the UNESCO list of intangible Cultural Heritage.
Did you know that Sevan is a home to one of the Sevsar Ancient Astronomical Observatory? Recent studies suggest the birthplace of naming constellations and the creation of the zodiac is in the Armenian plateau. One of such places used for star observation is located on the western slopes of Mt. Sevsar, east of the Martuni-Selim Pass. An ancient observatory with a unique image of bolide carved on a huge stone block, astronomical calendars and pictograms from 3rd – 1st Millennia BCE are easily noticeable. There are all together 15 pictured rock-pieces within an area of 50 by 20 meters. There is a theory that the big round image represents a bolide, and the adjoining pictures are constellations. Here, an assumption can be made that this is a stellar map, which shows a sector of the sky from which the bolide descended.
However, worth to mention, that beside the cultural, historic and religious things to do in the Gegharkunik province, there are a lot of recreation sites across the lake. The recreation points are greatly welcomed by both locals and tourists.
The Gegharkunik province has a lot to offer its visitors, so make sure to add it on your travel bucket list, when you are in Armenia.
The Kotayk Province.
Kotayk is the central province of Armenia. it is the only one that has no borders with foreign countries. Kotayk province is probably one of the only provinces in Armenia that has a lot of historical sites within it. The province is home to many ancient landmarks and tourist attractions, including the 1st-century Hellenic Temple of Garni, the medieval Bjni Fortress, 11th-century Kecharis Monastery and the 13th-century monastery of Geghard. Kotayk is also home to the popular winter sports resort and the spa-town of Tsaghkadzor and the mountain resort of Aghveran.
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The Monastery of Geghard is probably one of the gems of the province. It has become a favorite tourist attraction for both locals and tourists over the years. This stunning monastic complex surrounded by rocky and lush mountainous landscapes, was founded back in the 4th century; however, it was reconstructed and re-established in 13th century, since the monastery, with historic ups and downs, has been trough a lot. Geghard Monastery is one of the most fascinating monasteries in Armenia, so fascinating that it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Noteworthy to say that the monastery has a lot of artefacts; however, the most important and special artifact was the spear (Holy Lance) brought by Apostle Thaddeus, a Roman legionary who nailed Jesus Christ on a cross. The word Geghard means spear and the Geghard Monastery means “Monastery of the Spear”. Today, the spear is kept in the Holy Etchmiadzin Church museum and it’s available for everyone who wants to see it.
No tours to Geghard monastery are completed without a visit to the temple of Garni. It is an amazing combined route where you can see two remarkable Armenian sights in one day. The Temple of Garni is one of the most iconic sights in Armenia. The temple of Garni was built during the era when Armenia practiced belief of many gods and paganism. It was built in the 1st century by Tiridates I, as a king’s summer holiday residence, right on the edge of the breath taking Azat Gorge (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The temple is the only survival of the Hellenic epoch in the whole territory of the Caucasus. The architecture of the Temple of Garni is an ancient, classical Greek style that is often associated with the 7th-century BC. Next to the pagan temple of Garni you can find ruins of a Christian church from the 7th-century. In addition, the construction is recognized by UNESCO.
There is another mesmerizing natural monument all the way down to the village of Garni and Garni gorge, where the temple is located. It is the Symphony of the Stones. It attracts its visitors with its unique resemblance of his natural monument is the result of the collapse of the volcanic rocks. It considered to be one of the must-visit places in Armenia.
All the way down to Yerevan there is another stop. It is the Miracle Cave, a miraculous subterranean cave of 21 meters’ depth. After descending 80 stairs you find yourself in a round hall, in a pavilion decorated with candles. Each person should enter here individually and making a wish they should light a candle. As the master used to say, a candle lit here by all means serves its purpose and the wish comes true. It took more than two decades to the Master to build this cave-shrine. This cave is often compared with the Noah’s Ark and considered to be the second ark which is to save the humanity not from flood but from fire.
Beside the cultural things, the Kotayk province offers wide range of recreation facilities. The province has its mineral-rich springs, called Arzakan Hot Springs, which is one of the favorite places for locals and tourists to visit.
If you ever wonder where do people go for skiing in Armenia, here is the answer. It is impossible to imagine the Kotayk Province without the popular spa town of Tsaghkadzor, which is a home to the most popular ski resort in Armenia. It is Tsaghkadzor, home of skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. Tsaghkadzor is worthwhile to visit, because it has so much to offer, then just winter activities. The town is one of the most famous health resorts in all of Armenia along with Jermuk, Arzni, Bjni, and Aghveran. Tsaghkadzor is surrounded by mind-blowing mountains and gorges with lush green forests, and of course, full of flowers during the shoulder season, since the town’s name literally means ‘’Gorge of flowers’’. When you’re in Tsaghkadzor, make sure to visit the Kecharis monastic complex, which Is a 11th century stunning monastery, located all the way down from the Tsaghkadzor city centre. Kecharis Monastery is a great place to get in touch with another side of Tsaghkadzor. Beside it, it is noteworthy to say, that Tsaghkadzor is a home to Open International Chess Tournament, which is an annual tournament where the players are chosen from hundreds and span across 20 different countries. So if you are a chess lover, Tsaghkadzor is happy to host you during this period; however, make sure the dates of the tournament is quite changeable, and the only thing here left to do, is to follow up the official website (tsaghkadzoropen.chessacademy.am), to see the different dates.
The Kotayk province is a home to one of the stunning manmade reservoirs in Armenia, the Azat Reservoir. It is located in a picturesque area where colourful range of mountains surround the reservoir, turning it into a glowing mirror between the rocks. The Azat Reservoir can be reached from Garni Gorge by following the Azat River.
Another local water body in the province is the Lake Akna, which is a crystal-clear lake, located in the Kotayk province in the range of the Geghama mountains and it is one of favourite places for hikers, campers, and nature lovers. The Akna Lake is located in an altitude of 3032 meters.
Noteworthy to mention that the Kotayk province has become one of the most favorite destinations both for locals and tourists.
The Kotayk province has a lot to offer its visitors, so make sure to add it on your travel bucket list, when you are in Armenia.
The Lori Province
The Lori Province is apparently one of the greenest provinces of Armenia. Lori is located in the north of Armenia, bordering with Georgia. the town of Vanadzor is the capital of the province. Noteworthy to mention that the name Lori first appeared in the 11th century when King David I Anhoghin founded the fortified city of Lori. The fortress-city became the capital of the Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget in back in the 1065.
The province is a perfect combination of monasteries, cities, historical sights, mountains, forests, and more.
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The city of Vanadzor is probably one of the most underrated cities not only in the province, but in entire country. It is the third largest city in Armenia. However, Vanadzor is definitely a perfect base for a trip to the Lori province. Vanadzor used to be economically one of the greatest towns in its heyday, back in the Soviet period, when it was called Kirovakan. Unfortunately, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Armenian industrial giant Vanadzor started to collapse and many factories closed, were left abandoned. During your trip to Vanadzor you can see bunch of factories, mansions and more from the Soviet era. Nowadays, Vanadzor is a city that is still recovering economically and trying to attract travellers and investors to pay attention to it because Vanadzor and the Lori region is easily one of the most beautiful places in all of Armenia. Right on the entrance of the city the St. Gregory the Illuminator church is greeting its visitors. The church is visible mostly everywhere from higher spots of Vanadzor. However, the building is one of the youngest ones in the province (built in the 1990s) it is a very photogenic construction that has beautifully painted walls from the inside.
Another great point is the Lori Gorge or as locals say the Dzoraget Canyon. This astonishing 176 km long canyon looks like a giant crack down in the middle of the Earth. This is one of the most prominent features in the Lori. The Lori Gorge is worthwhile to visit, since it is home to many natural and historical monuments like Lori Fortress, Kobayr Monastery, the Debed River where you can go rafting, Horomayr, Odzun, many hiking trails, and much more.
The picturesque Lori Fortress is another favorite place for both locals and tourists. it is a 11th century fortress, that have been through a lot over the entire period of its existence.
It is not possible to imagine the Lori province without these historic and cultural twins – Haghpat and Sanahin Monasteries. Haghpat Monastery is situated up high in the mountains and is one of the finest examples of the combination of the nature and mankind. It is a medieval monastery complex built between the 10th and 13th centuries. The monastery was founded by Queen Khosrovanuysh, wife of the Bagratid king Ashot III, probably in 976.
Nearby monastery is at Sanahinwhich was built around the same time. The name Sanahin literally translates from Armenian as ‘this one is older than that one’, presumably representing a claim to having an older monastery than the neighbouring Haghpat Monastery. Sanahin and Haghpat Monasteries have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is another fascinating place worthwhile to visit.
When you are in the Lori province Odzun becomes one of the must-visit places in your travel bucket list. The village is located above Debed Gorge, it is just a few kilometers south of Alaverdi and is famous because of the Odzun Church, one of the most breath=taking and oldest monasteries in the country. The church has an extraordinary architecture for 5th-7th centuries; however, it still remains unique for this reason.
One of the greenest villages of the Lori province is definitely the village of Debed, located not far from the Vanadzor. Debed is situated on the Araleks River and is a great stopping point on the highway. Noteworthy to say, that in 2018, COAF (Children of Armenia Fund) opened a SMART center there which is an education hub for children and adults.
Another great spot worthwhile to visit is the village of Ardvi, which is also covered with lush green mountains. The village gained its popularity as a filming location for Sergei Parajanov’s ‘The Color of Pomegranates’. In the village of Ardvi, you can give a visit to the spectacular Surb Hovhannes Monastery which sits a bit up on the hill. The Red Church is worth to visit as well, since it is at the entrance of the village. Both are special and will definitely take your breath away.
One of the most renowned towns of the Lori province is the town of Stepanavan, due to its stunning arboretum, or Dendropark. The Stepanavan Dendropark was founded in 1931 and has hundreds of different species of trees and plants that have been grown in a 35-hectare area. It is also a must-visit if you’re in the area.
One of the most underrated villages in the province is probably the village of Kurtan. It is known for its stunning Hnevank Monastery. It is situated near the Kurtan village in a gorge of the same name. It dates back to the 7-12th centuries and it literally means ‘Old Monastery’ in Armenian. it is also worthwhile to visit because of its gorgeous architecture and, of course, breath-taking view opening from the monastery.
If you have ever heard of the most famous Armenian poet, Hovhannes Tumanyan, then the village of Dseghis definitely a great place for you to visit. When you’re in Dsegh, you can visit a museum dedicated to him called the House-Museum of Hovhannes Tumanyan. In addition, there are a lot of amazing hikes in the area.
Did you know that the Lori province is a home to a Greek village in Armenia? It is the village of Madan, or Lernahank, an abandoned Greek mining village up in the mountains near the town of Alaverdi. There is an amazing story about the establishment of the village. Back in the 1760s, Georgia’s King Irakli brought Greek miners to Alaverdi and they established several mining operations in Lori. There were 5000-7000 Greeks living in the region but after the Soviet Union, and even throughout Soviet times, they slowly started moving away, abandoning their homes and village. Today, around 30-40 people live in the village, and most can trace roots back to Greece.
Another beautiful and haunting point in all of Armenia is the gorgeous St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker Russian Orthodox Church. Unfortunately, the church is not operating, since it has been left to the nature since 1988’s Spitak Earthquake. The village, where the church is located, was founded in 1852 by Slavic families that relocated to Amrakits from Borjomi in Georgia. Nevertheless, the village and church are starting to gain popularity within the country.
Beside the nature and operating monasteries, the Lori province has tons of hidden and mysterious monasteries and churches that are in ruins now. One of the most renowned one is the Kobayr Monastery, located in the village with same name. This 12th century monastery is undergoing some reconstructions but it is definitely worth a visit. It is a small hike to get up to it from the main road but the path is carved out and it is easy.
There is no completed itinerary without a visit to the Akhtala Fortress and Monastery. It is an absolutely stunning place to visit. It is also known as Copperchurch, Akhtala Fortress and Monastery construction began back in the 10th-century and is merely one kilometer away from the town of Akhtala.
One of the most popular places in the province is the Mendz-Er Cave. It literally means “Big Cave” in Armenian. This complex is a restaurant, museum, and masterclass facility that is built right on the upper part of Alaverdi. Beside it offers a stunning view over the Lori. It is definitely a “can’t miss” destination.
Noteworthy to mention that the Lori province has become one of the most favorite destinations both for locals and tourists due to its amazing combination of nature, history and more.
The Lori province has a lot to offer its visitors, so make sure to add it on your travel bucket list, when you are in Armenia.
The Shirak Province
The province of Shirak is located the most north-western part of Armenia. It shares borders with Turkey in the East and Georgia in the North. Shirak Province is classified as a mountain meadow. The capital of the province is the stunning city of Gyumri. There are parts of Shirak which are considered some of the oldest settlements in Armenia.
The Shirak Province offers a lot of attractions starting from city tours to hiking trails. Needless to say, about historical heritage of the Shirak Province.
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Since the main and popular tourist attractions are located in the capital city of Gyumri, most of the people think that there is nothing to do outside of the city.
One of the most popular things to see in Shirak Province for nature exploration is the Trchkan Waterfall. It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls of Armenia. The 23.5-meter high Trchkan Waterfall is situated in a picturesque area on the left bank of the Pambak River where many hiking trails are situated.
There is no complete itinerary of a nature lover without a visit to the Lake Arpi National Park. Needless to say, that the park is one of the most favourite places for both locals and tourists. One of the best things about the park is that it is located an hour and half away from the city of Gyumri, and it has a variety of wildflowers, a gorgeous lake, rich and rare flora and fauna. The area offers its visitors a fishing, camping, hiking, and picnic facilities.
There is a stereotype, that skiing in Armenia is only possible in the town of Tsaghkadzor (in Kotayk province); however, Shirak province offers way better facilities and options for skiing. The Ashotsk Ski Centre is apparently the most underrated spots, since it is known as one of the coldest places in Armenia during the winter season; however, it is an amazing place to learn how to ski and be inspired by the natural surroundings.
As we mention above the Shirak province is rich with historical heritage, and the main one are located either in the city of Gyumri, or close.
The city of Gyumri is definitely the gem the province, and of course, the entire country due to its charming streets and architectures. The city itself is quite historic, since it has seen a lot of historic formations. Back in the 19th century, during the Russian empire era, the city used to be called Alexandrapol, and it had a significant meaning for the empire. As the times changed, the city changed its name and role as well, and it recalled Leninakan during the soviet period. However, during these times, when Gyumri experienced its ups and downs it didn’t lose it charm and enchanting beauty. Right in the city center, where the Vartanants Square is, there are two stunning churches of 19th century, Yot Verk and Amenaprkich.
Another must-visit site in the city is the Sev Berd or Black Fortress. It is a perfectly circular black fortress, which used to be a Russian imperial fortress back in the 19th century. It never underwent a siege, but was of strategic importance in victories over the Turks in subsequent wars that lasted through 1878. The fortress was downgraded to “second-class” status in 1887, after the final Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 that saw Russia gain strongholds in Kars and Batumi.
Now the fortress in a tourist attraction, and there are a lot of event scheduling.
Gyumri is worthwhile to visit for its museums. One of the most popular and beloved is the Aslamazyan Sisters House-Museum, Mher Mkrtchyan’s memorabilia, The Museum of National Architecture, Hovahannes Shiraz House-Museum, Museum of Illusions, etc. Almost all of them are located in the central parts of the city.
One of the most favourite places for history and archaeology lovers is the Yereruyk Basilica. The Basilica was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, it is known as one of the earliest surviving Christian monuments in Armenia. The basilica, as highest achievement of the early Armenian ecclesiastical architecture, is one of the classic examples built between the 4-5th century, made of fine orange tuff stone. The basilica is located in on the eastern banks of the River Araks, facing the historic city of Ani. The Yererouk Basilica has been badly damaged during the 1988 earthquake and is currently in a dreadful state. However, the beauty of the basilica is still noticeable.
One of the most picturesque places of the Shirak province is inevitably the Harichavank Monastery. The Monastery Complex is one of the unique gems of Armenian medieval architecture. The Monastery is located in the village Harich and dates back to as early as the 7th-century. During a number of excavations, various working tools, tombs, the remains of the 3-5th century medieval castle, and luxury items were found nearby. Harichavank Monastery is definitely a must-visit, when you are in the province.
The Shirak province is one of the fewest ones where you can find a cultural or historical artefacts of foreign origin. The Muslim Cemetry of the Shirak province is located on a small hill between Zorakert and Lake Arpi. It has 100 painted and hand-carved headstones, but in fact, there are not painted, they just gained the colour naturally decades ago. When you are in area, you will find many vibrant symbols of Islamic religion carved on both fallen and still standing headstones.
Another historical monument of a foreign origin is the Zorakert Mosque. It is nestled on the northeast section of Lake Arpi in the small village of Zorakert. The Mosque was built in the 19th-20th century and was operating until the beginning of the Soviet era, during which it was closed and turned into a warehouse. If you are planning to visit there, all you can see are the abandoned ruins of the Mosque, which include 4 outer walls with arched windows. One of the walls still has the remains of the shrine, which in turn has Arabic inscriptions written over it.
Close to the city of Gyumri, there is an amazing location to visit. It is the Gorge of Cherkez. The gorge was famous among locals and visitors since the 19th century for its unique nature, surrounded by shady trees and green hills. But the place is a must-visit not only for the nature, but also for the best fish you can taste around Gyumri. Right in the gorge there you can find the ‘Cherkez Dzor’ restaurant with its own fish farm, where you can choose a particular fish, which will be caught and cooked especially for you. It’s one of the famous places for celebrations and rest for Gyumretsis.
Noteworthy to mention that the Shirak province has become one of the most favourite destinations both for locals and tourists due to its amazing combination of nature, history and more.
The Shirak province has a lot to offer its visitors, so make sure to add it on your travel bucket list, when you are in Armenia.
The Syunik province is apparently one of the most diverse provinces in Armenia due to its wide range of tourist attractions, nature and, of course, historical heritage. It is located in the South of Armenia. The capital of the province and largest city is the town of Kapan. Syunik is a mountainous province, mainly covered with thick green forests. One of the most stunning mountains in Armenia, the Zangezur mountain range occupies most of the territory of Syunik. The highest peaks of the province are the Mt. Kaputjugh (3905m) and Mt. Gazanasar (3829m) mostly covered with lush green forests. Noteworthy to say that the Syunik province is one of the fewest in Armenia that has wide range of national parks and protected areas, and for this exact reason, many of the forests are protected by the government, including the Arevik National Park, the Shikahogh State Reserve, the Boghakar Sanctuary, the Goris Sanctuary, the Plane Grove Sanctuary, the Sev Lake Sanctuary, and the Zangezur Sanctuary.
The Syunik Province offers a lot of attractions starting from city tours to hiking trails, and more.
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When you think of the Syunik province the Tatev Monastery and the longest cabin car in the world comes to mind; however, you can find a lot of mesmerizing places to visit.
If you are in the Syunik province and looking for one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the region, then you are in the right place. The Shaki Waterfall is one of the hidden gems of the province. This stunning waterfall forms from the Vorotan River, and cascades down 60 feet above the Shaki River. Not only the waterfall, but the surroundings of it will make your jaw drop from its mesmerizing beauty.
When you are in the Syunik province the city of Goris is definitely needs to be added to your travel bucket list. The charming Goris is located in the southernmost edge of Armenia, and it is the second-largest city of the province. The city of Goris is one of the oldest cities in the region, as the Urartian period history states that people were settling there since the Stone Age, which was mentioned in a cuneiform left by King Rusa I (8th century B.C.). Walking down the enchanting streets of the city you will enjoy the 19th century buildings, stone pyramids and medieval cave dwellings, or the 4th-century basilica of Surp Hripsimé, and St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, and more. These are the most perfect places where you can witness the unique culture of Armenia.
The Syunik province has another mysterious and hidden gem that amazes most of the visitors. It is the 7500 years old ancient observatory of Carahunge (Karahunj) or The Armenian Stonehenge. This prehistoric complex is also known as “Zorats Karer,” which basically translates as “speaking stones” and only in 2004 it was officially named Karahunj Observatory since the evidence state that it once served as an ancient astronomical observatory. Noteworthy to mention that this megalithic complex is more than 4500 years older than the British Stonehenge and features about 222 basalt slabs. Make sure to visit one of the most mysterious places, when you are in Syunik.
Beside the Armenian Stonehenge Syunik has another hidden gem that resembles to the infamous Machu Picchu of Peru. It is the jaw-dropping 2nd-century BC Hin Khotvillage is in a gorge that was actually inhabited all the way until the 1970s. The Hin Khot is a quite convenient hiking trail, since the hike goes from Khndzoresk all the way to Khustup.
One of the finest examples of the Armenia architecture is the 9th-c entury renowned Tatev Monastery. This historic monastery is included on most of the itineraries of Armenia and for a good reason. Located near the Tatev village on the edge of the Vorotan Gorge, Tatev Monastery used to be the spiritual and educational center of the region. Another interesting fact about the Armenian monasteries is that they were famous for being extremely multifunctional. Throughout the Middle Ages the Armenian Church used to be one of the strongest social institutions of the state. It was the locomotive of freedom, education, social life, and even law and constitution. It is worth mentioning that, for centuries Armenian monasteries were not only a place of worship and prayer, but also a strong educational center, and Tatev Monastery, along with the other ones, is definitely the best example proving it, since there has been established a university with the same name back in the 1373. Worth to say that scholars of the Tatev University contributed to the preservation of Armenian culture and creed during one of its most turbulent periods in its history.
Besides driving to the Tatev Monastery, you can also take a cable car there. The Guinness World Record “Wings of Tatev” is the world’s longest non-stop double track cable car that will take you 5.7 kilometers above the gorge. It is an alternative way, that helps visitors get to the Tatev Monastery from Halidzor.
Another great place to pay a visit is the Vorotnavank Monastery, this 10th century monastery is one of the mot underrated places in the Syunik Province. The monastic complex is surrounded by a high stone wall for defense against foreign invasions and once housed workshops, stores, a seminary, resort, cemetery and an alms-house.
Needless to say, that the Syunik province is a home to one of the most iconic mountains in Armenia – Mt. Khustup, which is a part of the Bargushat Mountain range. It is a dream destination for hikers, rock climbers, campers, and lovers of rich and wild nature. Mt. Khustup is 3201 meters high and is covered with alpine meadows and forests and is located near the city of Kapan.
Another must-see in the province is the village of Khndzoresk, which is probably the most famous abandoned cave village in Armenia where people were inhabited until the 1950s in half cave houses. The fascinating landmark is located in the near the town of Goris, in the mountains surrounded by lush green forests and caves. To get there, you need to cross a hanging bridge, which is 63m in height and 160m in length and is one of the noteworthy places of the village. It is another tourist attraction, especially for extreme and adventure lovers. It really is worth to visit.
One of the most underrated places in Armenia where travelers can see a rare mountain nature and ancient petroglyphs is the Ughtasar, it offers hikers diverse trails in the region as they will see rare flora and fauna as well as prehistoric petroglyphs. However, it is not easy to get there, make sure to plan your trip during the warmer months.
Another great and really underrated destination to add in your travel bucket list is the Arevik National Park. The park is in the south of Syunik and it contains a rich geological and biological ecosystem with diverse nature and wildlife. it is home to Armenian mouflon, brown bears, Bezoar goats, the rare Caucasian leopard, and other animals. Nevertheless, the area is protected by the Armenian government, you can still plan a trip to the park, which will not harm the ecosystem.
The second-largest forest reserve in Armenia is the Shikahogh State Reserve. It is home to massive oak, beech, and other trees within the forest as well as rare species of animals like bears, leopards, vipers, snowcocks, and more. Being located nearby the Khustup Mountains, it offers wonderful hiking opportunities, rock climbing, and camping in the area.
Every traveller’s goal, when they are in Syunik, is to give a visit to the Devil’s Bridge. Over millions of years, nature created this wonder with petrified lava and water. It is definitely worth a stop if you’re near the Tatev Monastery or anywhere around the city of Kapan.
Another great place to visit is the town of Meghri, which in Armenian means “Honey Town”. This is the southernmost town in Armenia, which borders with Iran and has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. There are quite interesting places to pay a visit, especially the 17th-century churches ofSt. Astvatsatsin and St. Hovhannes (known for its frescos), a public library dating back to 1882, which also serves as a Cultural Center and Art School for Children, ethnographic museum from the 18th century, and an 11th-century fortress. Close to the town of Meghri there is another fascinating pace to visit. The Prime Butterfly Area still remains underrated; however, you can still visit and see the rare and endangered species of butterflies.
The Syunik province has another mysterious place which is worthwhile to visit. It is the Tolors Reservoir in the south of Sisian at an altitude of 1650m. Tolors Dam is built of sandstone and measures 178m in length and 68m in height. it is considered to be one of the strongest hydroelectric power plants. One of the interesting fact about the reservoir is that you can see ruins of an old church right in the middle of the dam.
Noteworthy to mention that Syunik province has become one of the most favourite destinations both for locals and tourists due to its amazing combination of nature, history and more.
The Syunik province has a lot to offer its visitors, so make sure to add it on your travel bucket list, when you are in Armenia.
Tavush is obviously one of the most visited provinces of Armenia, occupying the north-eastern part of it. The province of Tavush is often referred to the green lungs of Armenia, for its lush forests and unique nature. The province entirely lies among the mountains of the Lesser Caucasus. The highest point of Tavush is the Miapor peak with a height of 2993 meters. Most of the Tavush territory is covered with thick forests, mainly around the towns of Dilijan, Ijevan and Berd. The province has a number of protected forests including the Dilijan National Park, Gandzakar Sanctuary, Ijevan Sanctuary and Zikatar Sanctuary, etc. Overall, the entire Tavush province is worthwhile to visit, since it is home to wide variety of cultural and natural heritage. The administrative centre of the province is the town of Ijevan.
Tavush Province offers a lot of attractions starting from city tours to hiking trails, and more.
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When you are in Tavush province the stunning Haghartsin Monastery simply can’t be missed out. It is considered to be one of the most visited monasteries in Armenia. The 10th century Haghartsin Monastery is located in lovely Dilijan National Park, in the middle of the forest, merely 20 minutes away from main town of Dilijan. Around the area of the monastery, you will find ancient khachkars, amazing architectural elements that were used to build the church.
Another great place to visit is the Goshavank Monastery, which is often a great extension to Haghartsin and Dilijan National Park tours. Goshavank located in Dilijan National Park, is one of the most significant monasteries in Armenia It is home to the famous “Aseghnagorts” khachkar which translates to “The Needle Carved” in Armenia. Located about 22 kilometers away from town of Dilijan, this monastery was named in honour of Armenian scholar Mkhitar Gosh who wrote the civil code of laws and Canon law. He also founded a school there, making the monastery multifunctional.
Another great place to visit is the Gosh Lake, which is located in the heart of Dilijan National Park, surrounded by dense forests. The length makes 100 m, width – 80 m with an approximate depth of 8 m. Lake Gosh is named after medieval scientist, scholar and public figure Mkhitar Gogh, who is also the founder of Goshavank monastery.
Another great place to give a visit is the Matosavank Monastery. It is probably one of the most underrated, mysterious and fascinating monasteries hidden in the forests of Dilijan National Park. This astonishing monastery is located only 3 kilometers away from town of Dilijan. This 13th-century monastery has become popular really quickly, as it is one of the most desirable places for hikers to set off for and see this ancient cultural center, surrounded by lush forests.
While we are mentioning Dilijan National Park, we can’t miss it. Located in the Tavush province, surrounding the town of Dilijan, Dilijan National Park is one of the most beloved spots for both locals and tourists. This is one of the most picturesque corners of Armenia where the lush forests uncover some great and underrated gems like waterfalls, historical remains, alpine meadows, mineral springs, diverse wildlife, and more. Dilijan National Park is one of the best places to hike and camp because the area offers beautiful trails passing through the rivers, waterfalls, and mountain views.
The province of Tavush is not only combination of cultural monuments and monasteries, there you can find great destinations for adventure tours, extreme activities, hiking trails, and more.
One of the greatest places to pay a visit is the Lastiver. It has become popular due to its picturesque, mysterious, and fabulous sceneries. If you are looking for the infamous treehouse camp, then you are in the right place. There are several treehouses in the area, where you can enjoy your stay. Lastiver is located in the Tavush province, about 10 kilometers away from the town of Ijevan. Lastiver has a lot to offer its visitors, for example, the ancient cave called Anapat where locals hid from Mongol invaders, wooden treehouses to camp in, hidden hiking trails, a gorgeous river, and a waterfall.
A great extension to Lastiver is definitely the Yell Extreme Park. It is one of the most picturesque adventure parks in Armenia, located in the mountains of the Yenokavan village. The park is only 25 kilometres away from the city of Ijevan, where you can experience some exciting activities like zip-lining, a rope park, off-roading, horseback riding, and more.
Another natural spot that is located in the center of Ijevan is the Ijevan Arboretum, also known as Dendropark. It is one of the most underrated places to visit in the city. The unique atmosphere of Ijevan Dendropark offers visitors to explore the lush green hills of the area, and enjoy the colorful arrays of flowers and trees throughout.
When you are in the province of Tavush you can’t miss the Parz Lake. It is absolutely incredible area, less than one kilometer from the Dilijan town center in the mountains. There you will find a hidden lake called Lake Parz. If you’re visiting Dilijan, it is imperative to drive up to Lake Parz (or hike there), enjoy a cup of coffee next to the cafe, and take a boat ride. Also, it’s a great hiking destination as there is a loop trail that goes to the lake.
Noteworthy to mention that Tavush province has become one of the most favourite destinations both for locals and tourists due to its amazing combination of nature, history, culture and more.
Tavush province has a lot to offer its visitors, so make sure to add it on your travel bucket list, when you are in Armenia.ations both for locals and tourists due to its amazing combination of nature, history, culture and more.
Vayots Dzor Province
Vayots Dzor is the south-eastern province of Armenia. It is the most sparsely populated province in the country. The capital and largest city of the province is the town of Yeghegnadzor. Vayots Dzor is a mountainous region. It is mainly divided into 3 mountain ranges: the Vardenis mountain range at the north, the Arpa range in the middle and the Vayk range at the south. At a height of 3522 meters, the Vardenis volcano in the north is the highest point in the province, while the Areni valley, at a height of 850 meters, is the lowest point. The 2586 meters-high Vayots Sar volcanic cone is located almost at the centre of the province.
The province is home to many ancient landmarks and tourist attractions in Armenia including the Areni-1 cave complex and Areni-1 winery of the Chalcolithic period, the 8th-century Tanahat Monastery, the 10th-century fortress of Smbataberd, and the 13th-century monastery of Noravank. Vayots Dzor is also home to the spa-town of Jermuk. The village of Gladzor in Vayots Dzor was home to the 13th and 14th-century University of Gladzor.
Vayots Dzor Province offers a lot of attractions starting from city tours, historic sightseeing tours to hiking trails, and more.
Catch some of the best attractions and sights worth to visit in Vayots Dzor:
One of the most infamous winemaking places in Armenia is right in the Vayots Dzor province. It is the Areni Wine Village. It is believed to be one of the oldest wine-making and production place in the world that we currently know of and it is an essential point to add in an itinerary when you are in Armenia.
The Areni wine village of Vayots Dzor is surrounded by picturesque and colorful mountains, Areni village is probably one of the most convenient and great places to visit and try the local wine, hike to the church located up in the rocks, and take a part in one of the most famous wine festivals in Armenia known as theAreni Wine Fest. It is an annual wine festival that takes place in October. It is considered to be one of the biggest festivals in the entire region, since it is great to experience a big wine festival in world’s oldest wine-making areas.
The village of Areni is an essential place especially for wine-lovers, since Areni is a home to the Indigenous grape varieties like Areni Noir, Kharji, and others.
Noteworthy to say that the Areni village is not only wine and festivals, there you can find a prehistoric cave, called Areni-1 Cave. In 2008, right in this cave, archaeologists discovered the world’s oldest winery dating back over 6100 years to the Early Bronze Age. The Areni-1 cave is located alongside the Arpa River where inside it is possible to see the ancient wine barrels where the wine was once made as well as human remains from ceremonial burials. You can also see the cave where the oldest leather shoe, dating back over 5500 years to the Chalcolithic period, was discovered.
Another great place the Vayots Dzor is known for, is the Noravank Monastery. This 13th century iconic monastery is one of the greatest historic landmarks in Armenia. After passing the village of Areni, you will end up in a narrow cliff road to the monastery where you will see red cliffs, colorful mountains, and the powerful Amaghu River. The views surrounding the Noravank Monastery is beyond beautiful. It is one of the most visited places in Armenia, there is no completed Armenian travel bucket list without a visit to the monastery, so make sure not to miss this fascinating place out.
The Vayots Dzor province is one of the fewest provinces in Armenia, that has its own spa town. The infamous Jermuk spa town, alongside the Jermuk Hot Springs is located right in the Vayots Dzor. In the spa town of Jermuk, it is possible to drink renowned Jermuk mineral water at different temperatures and the minerals contained are exceptional for your health. In addition, when you are in Vayots Dzor, you can venture to the mountains around Jermuk and soak in the hot springs.
Another great place to visit in the spa town of Jermuk, is the Jermuk Waterfall. This waterfall is truly unique as it is a 72 m high sliding waterfall and the water drops into the Arpa River. The local legend refers to the waterfall as “the hair of the mermaid” because the girl was using her hair to help her beloved man climb up to her.
One of the oldest monasteries of the province is the 8th century Tanahat Monastery. Just like many other religious centers, Tanahat Monastery has a rich history and survived an earthquake but it contains some of the most interesting stone artwork such as details where an eagle clawed a ram or where a lion attacks a bull. It is also considered to be another great place to stop by, after visiting Areni.
One of the most renowned fortresses of Armenia, the Smbataberd Fortress can be found in Vayots Dzor. This 10th-century fortress is located in the Vayots Dzor, between Artabuynk and Yeghegis villages and was constructed by Bagratuni King Smbat II. Over the centuries, it became one of the most interesting places to visit in Armenia. On your way back, if you are a soviet fanatic, make sure to stop in the village of Arin and check out the Lenin statue.
Another historic spot, very close to the Smbatashen fortress is the 10th century Tsaghats Kar Monastery. It is covered with ancient stone ornaments, khachkars, and other ruins nearby. The monastery and its surroundings are beyond beautiful and to experience it a little hike is required.
Vayots Dzor is truly worthwhile to visit, since it hides another historic site in its territory. It is the Orbelian’s Caravanserai, which was part of the Great Silk Road. It was constructed in 1332 in Vayots Dzor region in the Vardenis Mountains at an elevation of 2400 meters. Also called Selim Caravanserai, Orbelian’s was a stopping point for caravans along the Silk Road. The Caravanserai is located in the Selim Pass, stretching between Gegharkunik and Vayots Dzor. The inside buildings are covered with medieval stone works and ornaments and was where caravans used to stop by and spend a night before continuing on their journey west.
Noteworthy to mention that Vayots Dzor province has become one of the most favourite destinations both for locals and tourists due to its amazing combination of nature, history, culture and more.
Vayots Dzor province has a lot to offer its visitors, so make sure to add it on your travel bucket list, when you are in Armenia.
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