We are a country of abundant sunshine, resilient culture and warm-hearted people.
From mediaeval churches in major cities to monasteries sprouting from mountains, the awe-inspiring architecture of religious sites will make you go back in time in the country with three million residents and five millennia of history. The first nation to adopt Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD – Armenia has 4000 monasteries and churches that stand as some of the most impressive man-made structures to ever exist. Your first destination may be Echmiadzin, the oldest cathedral on earth that promises a peek into history as you marvel at ornaments and frescoes of scenes from the Old Testament. Make sure you visit Zvartnots Cathedral and Geghard Monastery, UNESCO World Heritage sites. They have a charm and magic that can rival that of Gothic architecture. In other words, Armenia’s monasteries and churches will transport you centuries back to tell a story of people who never abandoned their faith and left a tremendous legacy to the future generations.
Armenia, a landlocked country of Transcaucasia, is well-known for its leading tech companies, gold medal chess players, thousands of churches, Churchill's favorite brandy, and the Kardashians. Armenians are indigenous to the Armenian Highlands. Among the many legends existing about the origin of the Armenians, one relates to the battle of giants in 2492 BC when Hayk, patriarch and founder of the first Armenian nation, defeated Bel. Today Armenia boasts an illustrious history that stretches back more than 5000 years. The museums, fortresses and churches hold an extensive collection of material culture, artefacts of civilizations, long gone and forgotten. It is not all history though, with cosmopolitan Yerevan and its Soviet relics, neoclassical government buildings, the world’s longest ropeway and zipline, and an entire wine street there is sure to be a lot going on while you are visiting.
Birthplace of the Vine
If you have ever wondered where the world’s oldest-known winery and most unique wines of the Old World are, pack your backpack and travel to Armenia. A 6100-year-old winery in the Areni-1 Cave complex, Vayots Dzor region is a palpable display that Armenia is the cradle of winemaking. Bottled sunshine - every drop of an Armenian wine holds Armenia’s scenery and flavour. Join locals at Saryan street, a wine lover’s heaven, and uncover the stories of wines originating in different regions. Sample some of the country’s best bottles aged in Caucasian oak barrels. Here you will meet winemakers and artists, politicians and tourists who enjoy sitting in the city’s wine street. Wine tours will take you to small, mostly family-owned wineries throughout Armenia and let you discover Armenia sip by sip, from the timeless beauty of Vayots Dzor vineyards to captivating peaks of Aragats. Cheers to a-ha moments!
If you thought Armenian food was only khorovats (barbecue), then think again. Mante, tabbouleh, harissa, beef kufta and dolma - various dishes that will make your mouth water. Food in Armenia is historically loaded with meats, cheeses, and carb-rich foods such as pastries and dumplings. In many restaurants and eateries across the country, you will particularly appreciate the emphasis on fresh, locally grown ingredients and excellent produce. What desserts to eat in Armenia? All. Armenian cuisine prides itself on its old traditional pastry desserts and certainly the most popular variety is baklava and gata. Sweet, savory, tangy – no matter what your pick, you are sure to find some local Armenian food that will please your taste buds.
Land of Mountains and Lakes
Yerevan saw major development in the past decade, among others, resulting in more restaurants, cafés, shops and hotels – a city you can visit on a budget. If you prefer robust nightlife, visiting museums or having a picnic at beautiful parks, Yerevan is the ideal and most affordable place for you. See the city from the top of the Cascade, shop for local art at the Vernissage, and sip on brandy at Ararat Brandy Company, founded in 1887. Want to explore nature and go offroading? Armenia is an endless expanse of rolling hills, lakes, and vineyards, set against the backdrop of the inspiring Mount Ararat. If you are a lover of hiking, hit the new Transcaucasian Trail, a more than 1,800-mile trail linking Armenia and Georgia. Travel along the shore of Lake Sevan and through the Dilijan National Park woods, enjoy Lake Parz and feel the hospitality of the locals along the way. Would you want to explore the gorges and the mountains more? Travel to the Syunik Region to see the sky hitting rocks and mountains, and ride the longest cableway to Tatev Monastery, a 9th-century complex that clings to a grassy cliff. The 5752-meter climb won the Wings of Tatev a Guinness World record for the world's longest reversible cableway. Once you arrive in Syunik, take an hour or two to visit Karahunj, 'Armenian Stonehenge,' one of the oldest astronomical observatories in the world which is at least 3500 years older than British Stonehenge. Every region throughout Armenia is a showcase for just how beautiful mountain scenery, valleys and lakes can be. Located on the northern tip of Armenia, the Lori and Tavush Regions welcome lovers of ecotourism and adventure. For those who want to push their limits, and enjoy adrenaline rush adventures such as paragliding, rock climbing and zipline, Yell Extreme Park has so much to offer. Dedicate a day or two to experience probably something different.
Festivals All Year Round
One of the many great ways to explore the local culture and get to know its customs and rituals is to attend festivals in a foreign country. Armenians love to celebrate various occasions, so you will have plenty of opportunities to discover the country and people. Some of them come from ancient times like Vardavar, when people go out and drench each other with water, some are fairly recent but also popular among tourists such as Yerevan Wine Days and Sheep Shearing Festival. Come and experience Armenian hospitality during these festivities, join the crowds in splashing water, taste the country's numerous wines and dishes or attend a film festival. Create memories that will warm your heart!
When you encounter hospitality in Armenia, you are unlikely to forget it. Armenians have long been known for their hospitality to outsiders – a result of the country's historic position on the Silk Road. Here people are described as hospitable, polite and compassionate who honor elders, have a gentle attitude towards children, and have strong family values. While in other countries feeling secure is a luxury, it is what Armenians are used to. We can’t say that there is no crime here, but the rates in Armenia are lower than in many other countries. You will feel safe and free to go clubbing or pub crawling and enjoy what Armenia has to offer. You can enjoy parks and playgrounds, discover the best hidden gems of the country, go for a picnic, explore the forest, climb mountains and bike to your heart’s content.
The World’s Next Tech Hub
Beyond its popular tourist attractions - Armenia has some top tech companies and world-class education centers including TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, 42 School, Yandex Data School, and COAF SMART Center. With limited natural resources, Armenia chose to invest in technology and education which eventually became the driving forces of the economy. Today, information technology, software development and high-tech startups form the backbone of the nation. Armenian engineers enjoy a solid reputation in the tech space and many startups around the world are outsourcing their tech talent here. In other words, Armenia feels inspiring - so come and experience.