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Armenia travel guide - Travel S helper


travel guide

Armenia, formally the Republic of Armenia, is a sovereign state located in Eurasia’s South Caucasus area. It is located in Western Asia, on the Armenian Highland, and is bounded to the west by Turkey, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the de facto autonomous Nagorno-Karabakh Republicand Azerbaijan, and to the south by Iran and Azerbaijan’s exclave of Nakhchivan. The Republic of Armenia is barely one-tenth the size of ancient Armenia.

Armenia is a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation-state with a long history. Urartu was founded around 860 BC, and by the 6th century BC, it had been supplanted by the Satrapy of Armenia. Tigranes the Great led the Kingdom of Armenia to its apex in the first century BC. Armenia became the world’s first state to make Christianity its official religion. The polity became the first Christian country in the late third and early fourth centuries. The official year of state conversion to Christianity is 301 AD. Around the early fifth century, the old Armenian monarchy was divided between the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires. The Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia was reestablished in the 9th century by the Bagratuni dynasty. The kingdom collapsed in 1045 as a result of battles against the Byzantines, and Armenia was shortly overrun by the Seljuk Turks. Between the 11th and 14th centuries, Cilician Armenia was an Armenian principality and subsequently a kingdom on the Mediterranean Sea’s coast.

Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the ancient Armenian heartland of Eastern and Western Armenia was governed by the Ottoman and Iranian empires, which alternately reigned throughout the ages. Eastern Armenia had been captured by the Russian Empire by the nineteenth century, while the majority of the western portions of the ancient Armenian country remained under Ottoman control. The Armenian Genocide occurred during World War I, when Armenians residing in their ancestral territories in the Ottoman Empire were ruthlessly killed. Following the Russian Revolution in 1918, all non-Russian nations proclaimed their independence when the Russian Empire ceased to exist, resulting in the formation of the First Republic of Armenia. By 1920, the state had been absorbed into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, and by 1922, it had become a founding member of the Soviet Union. The Transcaucasian state was disbanded in 1936, converting its component nations, notably the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, into full Union republics. During the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the current Republic of Armenia gained independence.

The Armenian Apostolic Church, the world’s oldest national church, is recognized as the country’s main religious institution by the Republic of Armenia. Mesrop Mashtots created the distinctive Armenian script in 405 AD.

Armenia is a member of the Council of Europe, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Armenia backs the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which declared independence in 1991.

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Armenia - Info Card




Dram (֏) (AMD)

Time zone



29,743 km2 (11,484 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language


Armenia | Introduction

Geography Of Armenia

Armenia is a landlocked nation in the geographical Transcaucasus (South Caucasus) area, situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and northeast of the Armenian Highlands. Armenia is bounded on the north by Georgia, on the east by Azerbaijan, on the south by Iran, and on the west and southwest by Turkey. Armenia is located between the latitudes of 38° and 42° N, and the meridians of 43° and 47° E.


The Republic of Armenia has a land area of 29,743 square kilometers (11,484 sq mi). The landscape is mainly hilly, with few trees and fast-flowing rivers. Armenia has a highland continental climate, which means it has hot summers and chilly winters. Mount Aragats reaches 4,090 meters (13,419 feet) above sea level, and no point is lower than 390 meters (1,280 feet).

Mount Ararat, which was traditionally part of Armenia, is the region’s highest peak. It is now situated in Turkey, yet it is plainly visible in Armenia, and the Armenians consider it as a symbol of their homeland. As a result, the mountain is still visible on the Armenian national symbol today.


Armenia has created a Ministry of Nature Protection and imposed fees on air and water pollution as well as solid waste disposal, the proceeds of which are used to fund environmental protection efforts. Trash management in Armenia is undeveloped, since there is no waste sorting or recycling at any of the country’s 60 landfills.

Despite the availability of numerous renewable energy sources in Armenia (particularly hydroelectric and wind power), the Armenian government is planning to construct a new nuclear power station at Metsamor, near Yerevan.

Climate In Armenia

Armenia has a decidedly continental climate. Summers are dry and bright from June until mid-September. The temperature ranges from 22 and 36 degrees Celsius (72 and 97 degrees Fahrenheit). The low humidity level, on the other hand, mitigates the impact of high temperatures. Evening winds sweeping down the slopes are appreciated for their refreshing and cooling impact. Autumns are lengthy and springs are brief. Autumn is well-known for its bright and colorful foliage.

Winters are cold and snowy, with temperatures varying between 10 and 5 °C (14 and 23 °F). Skiers love skiing down the slopes of Tsakhkadzor, which is situated thirty minutes outside of Yerevan. Lake Sevan, located in the Armenian highlands, is the world’s second biggest lake in terms of height, at 1,900 meters (6,234 feet) above sea level.

Demographics Of Armenia

Armenia is the second most densely inhabited of the former Soviet republics, with a population of 3,238,000 (as of 2008). Following the dissolution of the USSR, there has been an issue of population decrease due to high levels of emigration. Emigration has decreased in recent years, while population growth has been consistent.

Armenia has a rather significant foreign diaspora (8 million by some estimates, much outnumbering Armenia’s 3 million people), with communities located all over the world. Russia, France, Iran, the United States, Georgia, Syria, Lebanon, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Poland, Ukraine, and Brazil have the biggest Armenian community outside of Armenia. Turkey still has 40,000 to 70,000 Armenians living there (mostly in and around Istanbul).

The Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City is home to around 1,000 Armenians, a relic of a once-larger population. San Lazzaro degli Armeni, an island in the Venetian Lagoon, is entirely inhabited by a monastery managed by the Mechitarists, an Armenian Catholic community. Around 139,000 Armenians reside in the de facto nation of Nagorno-Karabakh, where they constitute the majority.

Ethnic groups

Ethnic Armenians account for 97.9% of the population. Yazidis account for 1.3 percent of the population, whereas Russians account for 0.5 percent. Other minorities include Assyrians, Ukrainians, Pontic Greeks (also known as Caucasus Greeks in the region), Kurds, Georgians, and Belarusians. There are also Vlachs, Mordvins, Ossetians, Udis, and Tats communities. There are also minorities of Poles and Caucasus Germans, but they are highly Russified. In 2016, an estimated 35,000 Yazidis lived in Armenia.

Azerbaijanis were historically the country’s second biggest population during the Soviet period (forming about 2.5 percent in 1989). However, as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh war, almost all of them fled from Armenia to Azerbaijan. Armenia, on the other hand, experienced a significant inflow of Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan, giving Armenia a more homogenous character.


Armenia was the first country to embrace Christianity as a national religion, which occurred in AD 301.

Christianity is the most widely practiced religion in Armenia. The Armenian Church has its origins in the first century. The Armenian Church is said to have been established by two of Jesus’ twelve apostles, Thaddaeus and Bartholomew, who taught Christianity in Armenia about AD 40–60. The Armenian Apostolic Church is the official name of the Armenian Church because of these two founding apostles.

Over 93 percent of Armenian Christians are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, a branch of Oriental (non-Chalcedonian) Orthodoxy that is highly ceremonial and traditional, similar to the Coptic and Syriac churches. Only a few churches within Oriental Orthodoxy are in contact with the Armenian Apostolic Church.

With over a thousand members throughout the nation, the Armenian Evangelical Church has a significant and positive influence in the lives of Armenians. Its origins may be traced back to 1846, when it was founded under the patronage of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople with the goal of training competent clergy for the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Other Christian denominations in Armenia that practice faith based on the Nicene Creed are the Pentecostal branches of the Protestant community such as the Word of Life, the Armenian Brotherhood Church, the Baptists, who are one of the oldest existing denominations in Armenia and were permitted by Soviet Union authorities, and the Presbyterians.

Catholics of both the Latin and Armenian rites exist in Armenia. The Mechitarists (sometimes spelt “Mekhitarists”) are an Armenian Catholic Church community of Benedictine monks established in 1712 by Mekhitar of Sebaste. They are most known for a series of academic publications including ancient Armenian translations of otherwise lost ancient Greek literature.

The Armenian Catholic Church has its headquarters in Bzoummar, Lebanon.

Armenia is home to a Russian group known as the Molokans, who follow a type of Spiritual Christianity derived from the Russian Orthodox Church.

Yazidism is practiced by the Yazidi Kurds, who reside in the country’s west. In 2016, the world’s biggest Yazidi temple was being built in the tiny hamlet of Aknalish. Non-Yazidi Kurds who follow Sunni Islam are also present.

Since independence, Armenia’s Jewish population has shrunk to 750 people, with the majority of immigrants heading to Israel. Armenia presently has two synagogues: one in Yerevan, the capital, and one in Sevan, near Lake Sevan.

Language In Armenia

Armenian is the country’s sole official language, and it has its own language group within the Indo-European language family. However, since Armenia was a part of the Soviet Union, nearly all Armenians can speak some Russian, and Russian remains a required second language in schools. English is becoming increasingly commonly spoken, especially in Yerevan; nevertheless, outside of the city, relatively few people speak English at all.

Mesrop Mashtots developed the Armenian alphabet with 39 letters (which are not comparable to Hebrew symbols) in 405 AD. The look of it seems very complicated when compared to Latin, but unlike English and many other languages, the spelling of Armenian is highly phonetic, so reading should not be a problem once you know the sound of each letter. However, since Armenian contains many distinctive consonants, it may be difficult for foreigners to reproduce certain sounds.

The last syllable of words is emphasized.

Internet & Communications in Armenia

Yerevan is teeming with cafés that provide free wifi. These are also starting to appear in a number of places outside of Yerevan. Many hotels and cafés provide free WiFi to their customers. Prepaid mobile phone cards may be used to make international calls from a landline. Mobile phone providers often provide specific prefixes to dial before the number in order to utilize VoIP, which is very inexpensive and provides a high quality connection. It is also possible to hire a mobile phone for a short period of time. Regular phone calls may always be made at the post office, and they are inexpensive inside Armenia, but they are a little pricey for international calls. Look for a phone office that utilizes the internet to provide considerably lower prices. Local calls may be made via kiosks or the occasional payphone.

Phone numbers in Armenia are of the format +374 312 57659, where “374” is the country code for Armenia, the next 2-5 digits (beginning with a 1, 2, 3 or 4 in the case of land lines), and the remaining 3 to 6 digits are the “local” part of the subscriber number that can be called from within that specific area code using abbreviated dialing.

Internet telephony service providers have been given area codes beginning with 6 in order to offer non-geographically based numbers. All mobile phone numbers begin with a 9 and contain two digit mobile prefixes indicating the originating network ( Nagorno-Karabakh mobile networks that used to start with a 7 have now been re-numbered to 97).

You must dial “0” before the geographic area code if you are calling from outside that area code (but when still within Armenia).

No matter where they are called from, mobile numbers in Armenia must always be dialed with all digits (including a “0” prefixing the “9n” from inside Armenia). The 9n is a mobile prefix rather than a “area code,” and the second and occasionally third digits (the n portion) indicate the original mobile network allocated. They may also be phoned inside or outside of Armenia using the international format, as is the case with most mobile numbers. Most Armenian toll-free and Premium Rate Numbers are inaccessible from outside Armenia. The format of these numbers is 800-23-456.

Mobile phone providers

In Armenia, there are three GSM service providers. It is highly recommended to get a temporary prepaid SIM card since they are inexpensive and handy, enabling both local and international calls, charging no for incoming calls, and charging no monthly cost. Mobile internet and UMTS are also available from all providers, in addition to the standard complete range of wireless services.

At the airport, VivaCell MTS and Orange provide kiosks where arriving guests may get free SIM cards. The majority of international tourists find their unlocked mobile phones (GSM 900/1800) functional with Armenian SIM cards.

  • VivaCell MTS is Armenia’s largest GSM service provider, providing high-quality service at affordable prices (owned by the Russian giant MTS). Outside of Yerevan, they have the greatest coverage. A VivaCell MTS pre-paid SIM card (“ALO”) costs between AMD 1100-7000 (USD 3-20), depending on the amount of beginning credit desired. VivaCell MTS’s flagship shop near Republic Square is extremely friendly to foreigners and will make sure you understand everything in English, French, or Russian. They provide extremely inexpensive rates for international calls made from your phone via VoIP (dial 77001+country code+the number! ); in fact, it is considerably cheaper per minute to call the US or Canada (13AMD/$0.03) or Russia (30AMD/$0.08) than it is to dial Armenian networks.
  • Orange (a newcomer to the country, having arrived in mid-2009) provides a pre-paid card called Let’s Talk with complex but reasonable pricing. Lower rates may apply inside the network or for nighttime calls in Armenia(35AMD/$0.09), the United States or Canada(15AMD/$0.04), and Russia(30AMD/$0.08).
  • Beeline (previously ArmenTel, but now known as the Russian brand) sells a pre-paid card for 1000 AMD.

VivaCell MTS and Beeline claim to reach 90% of the Armenian population with 2G services and up to 60% with 3G services. Orange presently has the least amount of 3G coverage, although it is quickly expanding. Orange’s 2G coverage reaches about 70% of the population, while Orange’s 3G coverage only covers the capital and the two second largest cities, Gyumri and Vanadzor. All of these networks are constantly developing and extending their 2G and 3G service coverage.

VivaCell MTS launched its 4G (LTE) network in January 2012, making them the first operator in Armenia to do so.

Economy Of Armenia

The economy is largely on on investment and assistance from Armenians living abroad. Prior to independence, Armenia’s economy was primarily focused on industry — chemicals, electronics, machinery, processed food, synthetic rubber, and textile – and was heavily reliant on foreign resources. The republic had established a sophisticated industrial sector, providing sister republics with machine tools, textiles, and other manufactured products in return for raw resources and energy. Recently, Intel Corporation, together with other technology firms, decided to establish a research center in Armenia, indicating the development of Armenia’s technology sector.

Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, agriculture accounted for less than 20% of both net material output and total employment. Agriculture’s significance in the economy grew significantly after independence, with its proportion of GDP and total employment reaching more than 30% by the end of the 1990s. This rise in the significance of agriculture was due to the population’s need for food security in the face of uncertainty during the initial stages of transition, as well as the collapse of the non-agricultural sectors of the economy in the early 1990s. As the economy steadied and growth resumed, agriculture’s proportion of GDP fell to little more than 20% (2006 statistics), despite the fact that agriculture employed more than 40% of the workforce.

Copper, zinc, gold, and lead are all mined in Armenia. The overwhelming majority of energy is generated using fuel imported from Russia, including gas and nuclear fuel (for its only nuclear power plant); hydropower is the primary local energy source. Small coal, gas, and petroleum reserves exist but have yet to be exploited.

Armenia’s economy, like that of other newly independent nations of the former Soviet Union, suffers from the collapse of old Soviet trade patterns. Soviet investment in and support for Armenian industry has practically vanished, leaving just a few large companies in operation. Furthermore, the impacts of the 1988 Spitak earthquake, which killed over 25,000 people and displaced 500,000, are still being felt. The Nagorno-Karabakh war with Azerbaijan has not been settled. The closing of the Azerbaijani and Turkish borders has wreaked havoc on Armenia’s economy, since the country relies on foreign sources of energy and most basic commodities. Land routes via Georgia and Iran are either insufficient or unreliable. Between 1989 to 1993, the GDP dropped almost 60%, but subsequently began rapid development. For the first several years following its introduction in 1993, the national currency, the dram, experienced hyperinflation.

Nonetheless, the administration was able to implement broad economic changes that resulted in much reduced inflation and stable growth. The 1994 cease-fire in the Nagorno-Karabakh war aided the economy as well. Armenia has had significant economic development since 1995, building on the previous year’s recovery, and inflation has been low for many years. New industries like as precious stone processing and jewelry manufacturing, information and communication technology, and even tourism are starting to complement more traditional areas of the economy such as agriculture.

As a result of its consistent economic growth, Armenia has gained growing assistance from foreign organizations. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and other international financial institutions (IFIs) and foreign governments are providing significant grants and loans. Since 1993, Armenia has received more than $1.1 billion in loans. These loans are intended to help reduce the budget deficit and stabilize the currency, as well as to help grow private companies, energy, agriculture, food processing, transportation, the health and education sectors, and continuing reconstruction in the earthquake zone. On February 5, 2003, the government became a member of the World Trade Organization. However, the Armenian diaspora continues to be a key source of foreign direct investment, funding significant portions of infrastructure rebuilding and other public projects. Armenia, as a developing democratic state, expects to get greater financial assistance from the West.

A liberal foreign investment legislation was passed in June 1994, and a privatisation law, as well as a privatisation program, were passed in 1997. Continued development will be contingent on the government’s ability to improve macroeconomic management, which includes boosting tax collection, strengthening the investment environment, and combating corruption. However, unemployment, which stood at 18.5 percent in 2015, remains a significant issue as a result of the inflow of thousands of refugees fleeing the Karabakh war.

Armenia was rated 85th in the 2015 UNDP Human Development Index, the lowest ranking among Transcaucasian countries. Armenia rated 95th out of 168 nations in the 2015 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). Armenia scored 54th in the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, ahead of nations such as France, Portugal, and Italy.

Entry Requirements For Armenia

The majority of tourists come by aircraft, but entrance from Georgia and Iran is not an issue. Borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey have been closed.


From 1 January 2013, EU and Schengen area passport holders will be among the fortunate few (CIS, Georgia, and Argentina who will not need a visa for tourist trips of up to 90 days.

Visa on arrival

Except for a small number of mostly African non-Westerners (see below), 21-day tourist visas are available upon arrival at Yerevan International Airport and at land borders (3,000 dram for 21 days; 15,000 dram for 120 days).

Before customs and immigration, there is money exchange and an ATM at Yerevan International Airport. There is a high fee of about US$10 for changing traveler’s checks, which are not often used in Armenia.

Border guards will gladly accept foreign currencies at land crossings, but only at pitiful exchange rates. Try to get some Armenian dram before crossing the border. Some visitors have been charged as much as US$20 (about three times the official fee), however as of August 2015, the Bagratashen-Sadakhlo border crossing charges US$10 for a 21-day visa. Border guards and customs officials will not be able to exchange a $100 bill (about the average Armenian monthly income), so don’t even attempt.

Visa in advance

The e-Visa is a somewhat more costly (at least officially) alternative (US$10 for 21 days; US$40 for 120 days). These e-Visas are entirely online and may be granted in as little as two business days. They enable entrance into Armenia via Yerevan Airport and the following land border crossings: Ayrum railway station, Bavra, Bagratashen, and Gogavan from Georgia; and Meghri from Iran.

A 21-day visa purchased in advance at an embassy (rather than online) costs $US8.

An Armenian visa also allows you to remain in Russia for up to 5 days: the two countries have an agreement to make land transit easier for tourists. To be cautious, verify with a Russian embassy before purchasing a ticket.

Those unfortunate few who are unable to get a visa on arrival must apply for a visa at an embassy or consulate prior to arrival and need an invitation.

Destinations in Armenia

Regions in Armenia

Central Armenia

Much of Armenia’s museums and cultural venues are located in Yerevan, the religious hub of Echmiadzin, the 4100 m high volcano Aragats, and the Monasteries of Geghard and Khor Virap. The flat and arid Ararat valley dominates most of this area, yet the hidden beauty of Khosrov Preserve is seldom seen.

Lake Sevan Region

This area is centered on Lake Sevan, which is 2,000 meters high and surrounded by historic structures, churches, and monasteries, as well as famous beaches. The biggest khachkar cemetery in the world, the beaches surrounding Sevanavank Monastery, and the many fish and crayfish eateries along the shoreline are all highlights. Windsurfing was recently restored to the list of leisure activities.

Northern Armenia

This hilly area, which borders Georgia to the north, is home to a plethora of stunningly beautiful and remote churches and monasteries. Many of them may be found in the Debed River Canyon, and the isolated Shamshadin area offers a glimpse of a practically unexplored and picturesque Armenia.

Southern Armenia

A very lovely region of Armenia extending south to the Iranian border, with fascinating caverns and more distant, lovely Christian sites. Tatev Monastery, Noravank Monastery, Mozrov Cave, Selim Caravanserai, and the hundreds of petroglyphs on Ughtasar Mountain are among the highlights.


A de facto autonomous republic that had previously been a part of Azerbaijan prior to the Karabakh War. The ethnic Armenian community has strong ties to Armenia, and the area can only be reached via Armenia. Apart from the rolling green hills, towering mountains, hiking routes, and great monasteries, visitors are attracted to the enormous ruins city of Aghdam and the partly repopulated city of Shushi, both of which were destroyed during and after the war. Stepanakert, the region’s capital, is home to about 50,000 of the region’s 150,000 inhabitants.

Nagorno-Karabakh is treated independently from Armenia and Azerbaijan since that is how the situation is in practice. This is not an endorsement of any of the conflict’s parties.

Cities in Armenia

  • Yerevan is the capital and by far the biggest city in Armenia.
  • Alaverdi is the location of the UNESCO World Heritage landmark Sanahin Monastery and the adjacent Haghpat Monastery.
  • Dilijan is a famous woodland retreat known as Armenia’s “Little Switzerland.”
  • Echmiadzin, Armenia’s spiritual capital and seat of the Armenian Catholicos, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Gyumri — Armenia’s second-largest city, previously overshadowed Yerevan. The little old town area still bears the scars of the 1988 earthquake.
  • Jermuk is well-known for its mineral waters, which emerge at very high temperatures and may be experienced in spas. Ski lifts are currently being built.
  • Tsaghkadzor is Armenia’s ski resort.
  • Vanadzor is Armenia’s third biggest city, and it has a few beautiful cathedrals.

Accommodation & Hotels in Armenia

Throughout Armenia, you may discover charming bed and breakfasts that will offer you a real flavor of Armenian culture. If you do not speak Armenian or Russian, the language barrier will be considerable in the rural regions of Armenia, but if you have a phrase dictionary with you, you should have no problem since people are patient. If you don’t know any Armenians, one way to see the real Armenia, away from the Westernized hotels and “Armenian branded” hotels, is to locate a trustworthy travel agency established in Armenia.

There are a few hostels in Yerevan. Outside of Yerevan, there are a few major recreational locations with extremely affordable lodgings, although you will have to forego certain comforts. Some hotels on Lake Sevan and in Northern Lori Marz are on the upper end (50 kilometers from the Georgian border). You will not be disappointed here, but you will have to pay Western rates for your lodgings. There are a variety of villas and motels located around Lake Sevan. Prices start at $10 per day for a cabin with electricity and within walking distance of Lake Sevan. Because of its closeness to Yerevan, the city of Sevan is the most popular location on Lake Sevan, but the history, culture, and non-Western feel of the lodgings alter as you go south on Lake Sevan.

Tavush Marz is a fantastic summer destination. Dilijan and Ijevan are lovely places to base yourself in, with day excursions to the numerous old churches that dot this isolated area. The prices are extremely cheap, and Dilijan is well-known for its Soviet-era sanatoriums. Expect no hot water at all hours of the day, but for around $20 per day, you may get a beautiful room that can house a family, including meals. Spend an additional $20 to rent a vehicle for the day and explore the nearby historical places.

Lori Marz, after Vayots Dzor, is the most beautiful area. It contains numerous health resort places, such as Stepanavan and Dendropark (Sojut), which are located near the hamlet of Gyulagarak. Lori is known as the Armenian Switzerland. It is home to a plethora of churches, monasteries, historic bridges, and monuments. The Stepanavan region is ideal for trekking, sampling fresh dairy products, and so on. Stepanavan, Odzun, Tumanian, and other nearby towns have small hotels and B&Bs.

Tsaghkadzor is a popular winter destination. It has several beautiful hotels and is popular all year. Check with a travel agent to get the best price based on the activity you want to do. Jermuk, made famous by the bottled water of the same name, is a lovely getaway, but you’ll have to leave your western expectations at home.

Things To See in Armenia

Armenia is considered the birthplace of Christianity since it was the first nation to be evangelized by two of Jesus’ own followers. There is still a richness of religious history to be seen today. Beautiful cathedrals and monasteries abound, some dating back up to 1700 years. Several of the most significant are included on Unesco’s World Heritage list. To begin, there is the Geghard monastery, which was built out of a mountain slope and is spectacularly positioned between the magnificent rocks of the Azat river canyon. Once there, the Garni Temple, with its Greek temple-style structures, is only a short walk downriver. The Etchmiadzin Cathedral in Vagharshapat is the world’s oldest cathedral, with sections going back to the 5th century. The Monastry of Sanahin, which means “this one is older than that one,” is just a short distance away from the Haghpat Monastery. Both date from the tenth century. The 7th century ZvartnotsCathedral is currently in ruins, although it is regarded to have significant archeological significance.

If you want to see more, go to Yererouk’s basilica and archaeological site, or the remains of Dvin’s ancient city. Some historic sites are located in lovely valleys. The monastery of Noravank is located in the picturesque Amaghou Valley, while the monasteries of Tatev and Tatevi Anapat are located in the Vorotan Valley, which is beautiful and studded with churches.

The monastery of Khor Virap is unlisted yet undeniably magnificent. It has excellent views of Mount Ararat, which is now officially part of Turkey but appears on the Armenian national flag. This is where Noah’s arc landed, according to the Book of Genesis.

This well-known peak can be viewed from the nation’s capital, Yerevan, and is the Armenian cultural center, with enough of opera and theater to go around. The Armenian Genocide Memorial & Museum has a tragic but important narrative to tell, as does the State Museum of Armenian History. Visit the bustling Vernisaj Market or ascend the steps of the Yerevan Cascade for a more laid-back vibe. Lake Sevan is another popular destination for both local and foreign visitors. During the summer, the beaches of this enormous high-altitude fresh water lake (one of the world’s biggest) are a popular destination for anything from day excursions to camp site vacations and resort holidays.

Food & Drinks in Armenia

Food in Armenia

  • Khorovats are barbecued pieces of pig, lamb, poultry, or beef (called Shashlik in other post-Soviet countries). It is usually seasoned with onions and other Armenian spices. Tomatoes, eggplant, and bell peppers are also served with khorovats. Kebab is a ground-meat variant of khorovats that is less expensive.
  • Harissa – A porridge composed of previously cooked and boned chicken or lamb and roughly crushed soaking shelled wheat. The meal has a long history and is typically served during Easter. It is considered Armenia’s national dish and is frequently made by Armenians all over the globe.
  • Borscht is a popular Ukrainian vegetable soup. It is typically prepared using beetroot as a major component, giving it a bright red hue. It’s typically served warm with a dollop of fresh sour cream.
  • Khash is a typical dish from the Shirak area. It was formerly considered a healthy winter dish for the rural poor, but it is today considered a delicacy and is eaten as a festive holiday dinner. Most tourists consider it an acquired taste since it is made from less frequently utilized animal parts.
  • Tolma (stuffed grape leaves; there is also a variation with filled cabbage leaves, bell peppers, and aubergines).
  • Byorek – Phyllo dough is folded into triangles and filled with cheese, spinach, or minced meat, which is usually seasoned. Spinach, feta, cottage cheese (or pot cheese), and a dash of anise-flavored vodka is a popular combo (such as raki).

Desserts and snacks

  • Gata or Nazook – Flaky pastry filled with a sweet filling.
  • Alani – packed pitted dry peaches with crushed walnuts and sugar
  • Kadaif (ghataif) – soaking in sugar syrup shredded dough with cream, cheese, or chopped walnut filling
  • Anoushabour – stewed dried fruits with barley, topped with chopped almonds or walnuts (a traditional Christmas pudding).

Armenian fruits and vegetables are one-of-a-kind. You should certainly try these since you will never forget the flavor of Armenian apricot, peach, grapes, pomegranate, and so on. Watermelons grown in Armenia and surrounding countries with comparable altitude and environment have a better flavor.

Armenian bread is delicious. Bread comes in a variety of flavors, including black, white lavash (a soft, thin flatbread), and matnaqash.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to sample milk products. Along with regular milk products, there are several that are both traditional and very delicious and refreshing. Matsun (yogurt) is an ancient Armenian dairy product with a long history. It includes a number of naturally occurring microelements with significant metabolic activity. It’s very refreshing, particularly when served cold during the hot summer months. Okroshka is a chilled soup made with kefir, cucumber, and dill that is both nutritious and pleasant. Spas is a delicious hot yogurt soup with grains.

In Armenia, café culture reigns supreme, and the finest locations to people-watch are sidewalk cafés. Anywhere near the Opera is certain to be packed late into the warm evenings. “Jazzve” (many locations around the city, notably near the Opera and off Mesrop Mashtots Avenue) is a popular business that serves a wide variety of tea and coffee as well as delicious pastries.

Drinks in Armenia

Vodka, tutti oghi (mulberry vodka), honi oghi (cornelian cherry vodka), Tsirani oghi (apricot vodka), local beer (Kilikia, Kotayk, Gyumri), wine (pomegranate wine), and brandy Karas, Karasi, Kataro, Armenia, and several new wines on the market are among the well-known wines. Many are produced using Armenian grape varieties that are only cultivated in Armenia. Areni is a prominent grape variety from which the majority of red wines are produced, as well as the name of Armenia’s wine region, while khndoghni is a variety cultivated in southern Karabakh from which the Kataro wine is manufactured.

Tan (yogurt mixed with water and salt), Jermuk (mineral water), masuri hyut (rose hip juice), chichkhani hyut (sea buckthorne juice), bali hyut (sour cherry juice), Armenian coffee, and herbal teas are some more options.

Money & Shopping in Armenia

Armenian carpets, cognac, fruits, handicrafts, and Soviet artifacts are among the most popular items brought back from the country. The majority of them may be found in Vernissage, a seemingly never-ending weekend flea market adjacent to Republic Square, with the more touristic items in the rear part, farther away from Republic Square.


The Armenian currency is known as the “dram,” and it is abbreviated as AMD (Armenian Dram). The dram is accepted everywhere, although in certain rare instances, US dollars are accepted for bigger transactions – despite the fact that the dram is the sole legal currency for trade. Almost everywhere in the nation, US dollars, Euros, and Rubles may be converted, and other major currencies are also easily swapped. Exchange booths and commercial banks don’t charge commissions, and rates are nearly always competitive.

ATMs (Bankomats) are commonly accessible in bigger cities; however, outside of Yerevan, you must have a major system on your card, such as Visa or MasterCard, for it to function.

Outside of Yerevan, credit cards are not commonly accepted.

Trading hours

The majority of stores and restaurants are open every day, while businesses and schools are open Monday through Saturday. Mornings are often sluggish, and businesses do not open early or even on schedule.

Purchasing customs

Bargaining is rare in Armenian shops, but it may be acceptable when buying costly goods or in quantity. However, bargaining is essential at marketplaces!

Tipping is becoming more prevalent in Armenia, particularly in cafés and restaurants. Many Armenians just round up their checks or leave 10%. Some café employees are solely paid in tips, but you can’t necessarily tell by the service they give. Many restaurants have started to levy a ten percent “service fee,” which is typically not shared with the waiters and is unclear for what purpose it is utilized. This charge is not often clearly mentioned on the menu, so if you want to know, you should inquire. Tipping is not often required in cabs, although rounding up is not unusual.


Vernisage Crafts & Flea Market – Every Saturday and Sunday in Republic Square, there is a large outdoor market with excellent shopping for visitors and residents alike. There are huge areas for ancient carpets, complex wood carvings and backgammon boards, paintings, souvenirs, antique china and old kitchenware, and smaller parts for needlework and embroidery, stone work, books, military excess, and many other odd items.

The GUM Shuka farmers market is a huge covered market near the Tashir Mall, at the junction of Tigran Mets Ave and Movses Khorenatsi Street. Inside, you’ll find fresh fruits and veggies, as well as excellent dried fruits, a butcher area, and a dry herb section. Outside, there are additional butchers on one side and fresh fruit and vegetable sellers on the other, along with a row of handcrafted metal wood-burning stove booths.

A visit to the secondhand book market may be quite fascinating for Armenian and Russian-speaking tourists. Thousands of books are sold at a park near the intersection of Abovyan and Moskovyan Streets, close to the Yeritasardakan Metro Station. You may attempt to negotiate.

Traditions & Customs in Armenia

In their manners and lifestyle, Armenians are similar to other Europeans, although on the more traditional end of the spectrum in certain respects.

Feel free to talk about the Karabakh conflict and its resolution in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Unlike in Azerbaijan, it is not a delicate issue that must be avoided.

Turkey continues to deny the Armenian Genocide, in which up to 1.5 million Armenians were murdered by the Young Turk government during World War One. If you questioned whether it occurred, you would most likely be labeled stupid or impolite. Visit the exhibit at the ‘Tsitsernakaberd’ Genocide Memorial to learn more about the Armenian Genocide.

Many Armenians feel that Russian authority rescued their country from total annihilation at the hands of the Turks, and many Armenians are Slavophiles. Unlike in several other post-communist nations, Armenians don’t object if you talk to them in Russian.

On public transportation, it is quite customary to give up your seat for an older person. Men will usually give up their seat to women as well. It is also regarded courteous to allow women board the bus or train first, or to enter a room first, and the “ladies first” norm is essential.

Both men and women are expected to dress modestly while visiting churches (i.e. no shorts, miniskirts, sleeveless shirts/tops, etc.), but most churches do not say anything to visitors passing by. Because admission is free, lighting a candle is a lovely, but entirely optional, gesture. When visiting a church, you should always speak softly.

Culture Of Armenia

Armenians have a unique alphabet and language. Mesrop Mashtots created the alphabet in AD 405 and it consists of thirty-nine letters, three of which were added during the Cilician era. Armenian is spoken by 96 percent of the population, while Russian is spoken by 75.8 percent of the population, but English is growing more popular.


Television, periodicals, and newspapers are all run by for-profit and for-profit businesses that rely on advertising, subscriptions, and other sales-related income. Armenia’s constitution protects freedom of expression, and the country ranks 78th on Reporters Without Borders’ 2015 Press Freedom Index, between Lesotho and Sierra Leone. Armenia’s media system is changing as a result of the country’s change.

Attacks on journalists working for non-state-sponsored media pose a significant danger to Armenian press freedom. The frequency of attacks has lately decreased, although journalists’ physical safety remains jeopardized.

Music and dance

Armenian music is a blend of indigenous folk music, probably best exemplified by Djivan Gasparyan’s well-known duduk music, light pop, and substantial Christian music.

Instruments such as the duduk, dhol, zurna, and kanun are prevalent in Armenian folk music. Artists such as Sayat Nova are well-known for their contributions to the development of Armenian folk music. The Armenian chant, the most prevalent form of religious music in Armenia, is one of the earliest types of Armenian music. Many of these chants date back to pre-Christian times, while others are more recent, including many written by Saint Mesrop Mashtots, the creator of the Armenian alphabet. During the Soviet era, Armenian classical music composer Aram Khatchaturian became globally renowned for his music, for numerous ballets, and for the Sabre Dance from his ballet Gayane.

The Armenian Genocide resulted in massive diaspora, resulting in the settlement of Armenians in nations all over the globe. Armenians maintained their traditions, and some diasporans came to prominence via their music. The so-called “kef” type Armenian dance music, which included Armenian and Middle Eastern traditional instruments (sometimes electrified/amplified) and some western instruments, was popular among the post-Genocide Armenian population of the United States. This style maintained Western Armenian traditional songs and dances, and many performers also sang current popular songs from Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries where Armenians moved.

Richard Hagopian is probably the most well-known performer in the traditional “kef” style, and the Vosbikian Band was renowned in the 1940s and 1950s for creating their own brand of “kef music” strongly inspired by popular American Big Band Jazz at the time. Later, stemming from the Middle Eastern Armenian diaspora and influenced by Continental European (especially French) pop music, the Armenian pop music genre rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s, with artists such as Adiss Harmandian and Harout Pamboukjian performing to the Armenian diaspora and Armenia, as well as artists such as Sirusho performing pop music combined with Armenian folk music to this day.

Other famous Armenian diasporans include world-renowned French-Armenian singer and composer Charles Aznavour, pianist Sahan Arzruni, and notable opera sopranos Hasmik Papian and, more recently, Isabel Bayrakdarian and Anna Kasyan. Certain Armenians, such as the heavy metal band System of a Down (which often integrates traditional Armenian instrumentals and style into their songs) and pop diva Cher, choose to perform non-Armenian songs. Armenian revolutionary songs are popular among the young in the Armenian diaspora. These songs promote Armenian patriotism by focusing on Armenian history and national heroes.


On Saturdays and Wednesdays, the Yerevan Vernissage (arts and crafts fair) near Republic Square bustles with hundreds of merchants offering a variety of products (though the selection is much reduced mid-week). The market sells woodcarving, antiquities, exquisite lace, and hand-knotted wool rugs and kilims, which are a speciality of the Caucasus. Obsidian, which may be found locally, is fashioned into a variety of jewelry and decorative items. Armenian gold smithery has a lengthy history, with a variety of gold goods occupying one part of the market. The Vernisage also sells Soviet antiques and souvenirs made in Russia recently – nesting dolls, clocks, enamel boxes, and so on.

On weekends, a major art fair occupies another municipal park across from the Opera House. Armenia’s lengthy history as an ancient global crossroads has resulted in a landscape teeming with interesting archaeological sites to visit. Sites from the Middle Ages, Iron Age, Bronze Age, and even Stone Age are all within a few hours’ drive of the city. All save the most magnificent are practically unknown, enabling tourists to see cathedrals and castles in their natural surroundings.

The National Art Gallery in Yerevan has almost 16,000 pieces dating back to the Middle Ages, illustrating Armenia’s rich narratives and legends of the period. It also contains works by several European masters. Other notable collections of fine art on exhibit in Yerevan include the Modern Art Museum, the Children’s Picture Gallery, and the Martiros Saryan Museum. Furthermore, there are numerous private galleries in operation, with many more opening every year, with rotating exhibits and sales.

The Armenian government announced a modification in legislation on April 13, 2013, allowing freedom of panorama for 3D works of art.


Armenian cuisine is as old as the country’s history, a fusion of many flavors and fragrances. The cuisine often has an unique fragrance. Different spices, vegetables, seafood, and fruits mix to create distinct meals that are closely linked to eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. The primary features of Armenian cuisine are the use of herbs, the use of wheat in a variety of forms, legumes, nuts, and fruit (as a principal component as well as to sour food), and the stuffing of a broad range of leaves.

That country is represented by the pomegranate, which has a symbolic connection with fertility. The apricot is the country’s national fruit.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Armenia

Stay Safe in Armenia

Overall, Yerevan is a secure city, although theft and pickpocketing are not uncommon, especially among foreigners. When going along the street at night, use common sense and normal precautions, particularly if you’ve been drinking.

Female tourists should be informed that seeing solo ladies after dark is uncommon. A single lady strolling alone at night on the outskirts of the city may draw notice.

Taxis from the airport cost about 5,000 dram. People at the Zvartnots airport will also ask you if you need a cab as you leave. They will often give a lower cost (approximately half the amount) than the official taxi since they have previously dropped off a customer and are seeking for any potential fare return – however you will have to travel a little farther to get to their cab. However, if they attempt to charge you more than the agreed-upon amount at the end, alleging a misunderstanding or anything else, refuse and threaten to contact the cops. They will pay the agreed-upon sum.

Stay Healthy in Armenia

When you dine with Armenians, they will feed you till you are full. Even from roadside khorovats booths, the food is usually safe.

Although tap water is usually safe since it comes straight from the mountains, it is better to use bottled water. On virtually every street corner, you can buy both mineral water with gas and regular spring water. This water is accessible in both rural and urban locations.


Armenia has strong anti-smoking regulations that are frequently disregarded. The nation has the highest rate of male cigarette smoking in Europe. You may smoke if there is an ashtray on the table.

Non-smoking restaurants and cafés are becoming more popular. Non-smoking areas are common in French bakery-style restaurants and wine bars.



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Yerevan is the capital and biggest city of Armenia, as well as one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities (since 1918). Yerevan, located...