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In Armenia, many beautifully preserved ancient temples and monasteries contrast with the churches of modern construction. A huge number of museums scattered throughout the territory of Armenia reveals completely new sides for a tourist who is unfamiliar with the history of the country. Guides in Yerevan will help you get acquainted with the numerous sights of the country. Don't know what to see in Armenia? Especially for you, we have compiled a list of popular places in this country, where we have included the most interesting sights of Armenia.
What to see in Armenia in the first place
A little advice for those who are interested in excursions in Armenia – do not try to visit several cities in one day and see dozens of monasteries, cathedrals or natural parks. It is better to highlight those places that are of most interest and pay more attention to them so that the memories of each of them remain in your memory. Now more about the sights of the country.
1. Karahunj Observatory (Sisian city)
Mysterious megalithic complex Karahunj
If you don't want to travel far to see one of the “places of power”, go to Armenia. 223 stones, each weighing about 10 tons, arranged vertically – this mysterious ancient monument on the territory of Armenia still causes a lot of controversy about its origin. The most popular theory is that it is an ancient observatory. Even older than the English Stonehenge. Some historians attribute to her the age of 5 thousand years, others – 7 thousand. Scientists came to the conclusion that Karahunj was also used as a temple of the sun god, which was worshiped by the ancient Armenians, and as a university. Jewelry and swords were found under one of the stones. This prompted the idea that Karahunj is a cemetery for warriors.
Zorats Karer, Zorakarer (Mighty Stones), Goshun Dan – also called Karahunj – is located two hundred kilometers from the capital of Armenia, near the city of Sisian at an altitude of more than one and a half thousand kilometers. The entire complex covers an area of approximately 14 football fields. Many stones have a through hole in the upper part – through these holes, ancient scientists observed heavenly bodies. The stones are arranged in a circle. Near the complex there are the remains of ancient dwellings and other historical artifacts.
You can go here not only to quench your thirst for learning new things, but also to feel real peace and tranquility.
Official site: http://www.mshakuyt.com
2. Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral (Yerevan city)
Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Yerevan
When traveling in Armenia, be sure to visit the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator. This is one of the largest cathedrals, which was erected in memory of Gregory the Illuminator. It was he who gave the basis for the spread of Christianity in the country.
The construction was started in 1997, in honor of the 1700th anniversary of the introduction of Christianity in Armenia, and completed in 2001. Today it is the most significant building among the sights of the city. The temple keeps the relics and relics of the saint, which they managed to return to their homeland from Italy.
The sights of Armenia are distinguished by their severity. The Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator is no exception. During its construction, they adhered to a strict ascetic style. The building has angular shapes, it is decorated with niches and triangular arches. In order to emphasize the contrast, strict colors were chosen. You will not find a single painting on the walls. Inside the temple, on the contrary, everything is very bright and bright. This expands the space.
The complex consists of a cathedral and two churches. The buildings are very tall. Due to this, they can be seen from all over the city. The cathedral and churches can accommodate 1,700 people at the same time.
For tourists, the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator is a unique attraction. For local residents, it is a symbol of the spirituality of the people, the preservation of their faith and unity.
3. Goshavank Monastery (Gosh village)
Goshavank Monastery – a medieval monastery complex
If you are looking for what to see in Armenia, head to Goshavank Monastery. This is one of the most popular attractions. The monastery is located 22 kilometers from the Dilijan bus station. This is a medieval complex surrounded by dense oak forests. No walls were erected around the monastery, so it is surrounded by simple rural buildings. The monastery was built in the classical style. Here you will not see elaborate decor elements. But this is what makes it beautiful – its austerity and minimalism.
The first church of this landmark of Armenia is the church of Astvatsatsin. It is distinguished by original artistic decor and a rich interior. Nearby is the building of the book depository with a bell tower. On the western side of it is a room that was intended for classes and meals. It was a center that united both faith and knowledge in one place.
The monastery is famous for its khachkars (stone steles), made with special awe and skill. They are considered the most beautiful in Armenia. The patterns on the stones seem to be embroidered. The unique technique of execution is striking.
Today, the monastery complex is a reserve, the church does not function in it. But this is one of the most favorite places for tourists and locals to visit.
Official website: http://www.armeniapedia.org
4. Lake Sevan (Gavar city)
Large and beautiful alpine lake Sevan
When traveling around Armenia, do not forget to take a walk along the coast of Lake Sevan. This reservoir is located 8 kilometers from the city of Gavar, at an altitude of 1900 meters. The name Sevan comes from the Urartian language Sunya and means “lake”.
The rich fauna of the lake feeds the entire population of the country. The permanent prey of anglers is Sevan trout and silver carp. In the Sevan basin there is a state park of the same name. It includes reserves and sanctuaries where Armenian gulls settle. The territory vacated as a result of the decrease in the water level in the lake is planted with trees and shrubs.
The cemetery of khachkars on the coast of Sevan is included in the category “Sights of Armenia, mandatory to visit.” Burials are located in the village of Noratus. Artifacts older than 2000 years have been found here. Now they are kept in the museum of Yerevan.
Finding yourself on the lake, get acquainted with the ancient architecture of such monasteries as Sevanavank, Ayrivank, Vanevan, Kotavank. Walking around the surroundings of Sevan, you will undoubtedly feel the spirit of the times of different eras and peoples. The calm water surface and the surrounding landscape will forever remain in your pleasant memories.
5. Matenadaran (Yerevan city)
The world's largest repository of ancient manuscripts Matenadaran
The historical sights of Armenia have always attracted a large number of tourists. The Museum of Ancient Manuscripts in Yerevan deserves to top the list of must-see places in this country. This amazing collection of ancient manuscripts will resonate not only with scientists who came here for academic purposes, but also with ordinary visitors. Here you can see the first translations of the Bible into Armenian, works on medicine, geometry, history. Amazingly beautiful miniatures and titles made by ancient artists, elegant frames made of precious metals will make you forget about the 21st century rustling outside the window for a long time.
In addition to the amazing age of the books, the stories of how they have come down to our time are also awe-inspiring. The basis of the collection is the collection of books of the Etchmiadzin Monastery. But many copies have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries as the greatest family treasure.
There are books written in different languages, created by representatives of different religions. All this treasure has about 17 thousand exhibits.
In this amazing place, you can realize yourself as a part of the history of mankind, absorb the powerful energy of the wisdom of hundreds of previous generations and become its guide to the future.
Matenadaran is the best answer to the question of what to see in Armenia first.
Official website: http://www.matenadaran.am
Must see this is a beautiful video about Armenia!
6. Mount Ararat (Armenian Highlands, Turkey)
The monastery against the backdrop of the sacred Mount Ararat
Any native inhabitant to the guest’s question “What to see in Armenia?” The answer is Mount Ararat. This is the main symbol of Armenia, despite the fact that Ararat is located in Turkey. According to legend, it was at the foot of this mountain that Noah's ark found its last resting place. To this day, the search for his remains continues on the volcanic massif, but so far they have been unsuccessful. Despite the common name Ararat, the indigenous people used to call the mountain Masis. If you want to see the sights of Armenia, you simply cannot do without visiting Mount Ararat.
The height of the peak is 5165 meters, so you need to carefully prepare for climbing it. The first attempt to conquer the summit took place in 1829. However, today the climbing program is available to everyone under a special tourist program. There is a version that Ararat is a former volcano, which has been considered extinct for the last few millennia. During the last eruption, accompanied by showers and mudflows, the Arguri settlement was destroyed. At the foot of the mountain there is a national park covering an area of about 90 thousand hectares, which includes not only two mountain peaks, but also the area where, according to legend, the biblical ark crashed.
7. Blue Mosque (city Yerevan)
The Blue Mosque is a silent witness of history
Tours in Yerevan are never complete without a visit to the Blue Mosque. Today it is the only functioning Muslim temple in the country. Having great architectural and historical value, this building has become a symbol of Iranian-Armenian friendship.
It is difficult to find other sights of Armenia that would have such dimensions. The total area once allotted for the construction of the temple is 7 thousand square meters. m. A high (unfortunately, today it is the only one) minaret rises as much as 24 meters above the ground.
The Blue Mosque is a very peaceful and spiritual place. The locals are convinced that here one can find much-desired peace and tranquility for one's soul.
The Persian language is taught daily in the library of the mosque. Today you can see Islamic values and attributes associated with the construction of the mosque in several exhibition halls of the temple. The building is decorated in a traditional Muslim style. The minaret itself and the domes are decorated with faience tiles with majolica.
The Blue Mosque is an ideal place to relax for those who want to hide from the scorching local sun in the shade of apricot trees, admire the rose bushes, think about the eternal.
Despite the fact that the majority of the population of Armenia are Christians, the Blue Mosque the locals are respectful. Representatives of different faiths love to visit this attraction.
Official website: http://yerevanmasjed.ir
8. Aram Khachaturian Museum (Yerevan city)
Aram Khachaturian's house-museum is the repository of the fame of the great composer
When exploring the streets of Yerevan, be sure to visit the museum of the Armenian musician and author of many musical works Aram Khachaturian. For his services to the fatherland, the heads of Armenia decided to create a museum in honor of the honorary citizen.
The basis for the museum was the house where Aram lived when he was passing through Yerevan. There were no special changes in the appearance of the mansion, only a two-story extension appeared in the garden. And the facade was transformed by five massive arches, similar to tuning forks.
The composer only managed to approve the plan for the future museum, but did not live to see its opening. The current director of the museum is the outstanding pianist Armine Grigoryan.
Musical evenings and festivals are constantly held within the walls of this majestic landmark of Armenia, meetings with cultural figures are organized, various exhibitions are held.
Having visited the museum, you will see Aram’s personal office, his bedroom, dining room and, of course, the piano, on composed and played by a talented musician. Also get acquainted with many things, from the conductor's baton to personal letters. Every year the museum receives valuable exhibits from all over the world, one way or another connected with Aram Khachaturian.
Official site: http://www.akhachaturianmuseum.am
9. Yerevan brandy factory (Yerevan city)
Storage of the Yerevan Brandy Factory
Yerevan Brandy Factory is the leading producer of alcoholic beverages in Armenia. Its history began in 1887 from the moment it was founded by the merchant Nerses Tairov. After 12 years, the plant became owned by Nikolai Shustov. Today, the brandy factory is the leader in the export of alcoholic beverages in Armenia. Many of the drinks produced are up to 20 years old, for example, Nairi, Vaspurakan, Armenia, 25, Dvin. The arsenal of YBC also contains unique brands of cognac, which are produced and bottled according to a special recipe in a limited series. Such drinks cannot be bought on the shelves of supermarkets, among them Erebuni, Kilikia, Noah's Ark, etc.
The products of the Yerevan Brandy Company are supplied to 25 countries of the world and have 47 registered trademarks. According to local residents, it is best to start acquaintance with Armenia with a visit to the factory. To do this, you can visit a fascinating tour and see the production of alcoholic beverages from the inside. If you decide to see the sights of Armenia, the brandy factory will be a great start for traveling around the country and getting to know its culture.
Official website: https://araratbrandy.com
10. Khor Virap Monastery (Mount Ararat)
Ascetic beauty of Khor Virap Monastery
Near Mount Ararat rises the ancient monastery of Khor Virap. The two popular attractions complement each other. According to legend, Noah's ark ran aground on Mount Ararat. Khor Virap is located on the territory of the former capital of Armenia – Artashat.
The foundation of the monastery is an underground prison, where the king imprisoned St. Gregory the Illuminator for 15 years. After the adoption of Christianity by Armenia, the monastery became the center of spiritual development. Divine services are held in the church on the territory of the monastery. And today the monastery is considered one of the most frequently visited places for pilgrimage.
Access to the underground prison is open to every visitor, the entrance is through the chapel of St. Gregory. Initially, a chapel was erected around the underground prison, and later the monastery itself.
Do not hesitate to explore these legendary ancient sights of Armenia. Going down the winding stairs to the dungeon to a depth of 6 meters, any tourist can feel how hard it was for the prisoner here, because the width of the room is only 4.4 meters. After such a trip, there will be enough impressions for a year ahead.
Sights of Armenia: what else to visit while in Armenia
No matter how tempting it may seem to be able to see all the interesting places on your own, it still makes more sense if you are accompanied by guides in Armenia. You can discuss the excursion route with them, taking into account the information that you learn from our descriptions of the country's tourist sites.
11. Tatev Monastery (Goris city)
Tatev Medieval Monastery in Armenia
Tatev Monastery is a complex of monasteries located 20 kilometers from Goris. For many centuries the complex was the main center of spirituality in the historical region of Armenia Syunik.
This complex is a real treasure for the tourist. Here is the habitat of the monks of Tatevi Anapat, the Wings of Tatev hanging rope route (the money received from visiting goes to the revival of the entire complex), a natural bridge, and caves. Interesting sights of Armenia are collected in one place. At the end of the 20th century, they even wanted to include the Tatev Monastery in the UNESCO list.
During the prosperity of Syunik, more than ten hundred people lived under the arches of the monastery. The monastery existed by collecting tribute from the surrounding villages. In the Middle Ages, a miniature school was formed on its territory, which served as a noticeable development of the population.
The complex was quite badly destroyed after the earthquake that occurred in 1931. At the moment, the restoration process is still going on, but there is no ban on visiting.
While on the territory of the monastery, conduct a fascinating exploration of temples and tombs.
12. Selim caravanserai (Yerevan city )
Preserved Selim caravanserai in Yerevan
The winding serpentine of the Selim pass is a favorite route for tourists traveling around Armenia. The pass is located at an altitude of 2500 meters. Due to the high amount of precipitation in winter, it is almost impossible to get there, so you should plan a trip in late spring, summer or autumn.
A motor road passes through the pass, along which travelers travel from the city of Yerevan to Lake Sevan and back. On the way you will meet a beautiful view of the valley, surrounded by green grass and indented by many streams. It will be possible to capture Mount Ararat. As you advance, you will find yourself at the lower level of a narrow gorge, where the famous Selim caravanserai was built.
In the distant past, the Silk Road passed here, and the Selim caravanserai was an overnight stay for caravans going to Europe. In the 15th century, the caravanserai was destroyed, but in the middle of the 20th century it was restored again. The oldest sights of Armenia fascinate with their views. The Selim caravanserai also belongs to them.
The basalt building includes a hall divided into rooms for people and animals to spend the night. Once here, you can imagine how people rested after a long journey.
13. Tsitsernakaberd, Museum of the Armenian Genocide (Yerevan city)
Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan
Going on a trip and making up an itinerary for yourself on what to visit in Armenia, do not disregard the museum of the Armenian genocide. It is located in Yerevan. The museum was opened in 1995 on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the terrible tragedy, which Armenians mourn to this day. About 1.5 million Armenians were destroyed in the period 1915-1917. This museum was founded in memory of the tragedy.
Its building is built on a mountain, on its very slope. This is where the memorial is located. A magnificent view of Mount Ararat opens from the roof of the museum complex. In the very center of the courtyard of the museum there is a memorial stele made of stone.
The museum itself is unique. His building is completely submerged in the ground. As planned, it should be a tomb, and its internal structure – the circles of hell.
All expositions of the museum are collected with great difficulty. Many archival documents were destroyed or are still classified. The main part of the museum consists of three rooms. The first one presents a huge map of the Armenian Highlands, which was carved on the wall. The settlements where the most people were destroyed are marked here. Photo archives of peacetime before the genocide are presented. Books and photos are displayed in the second room. In the third room there are demographic tables indicating the number of deaths.
The purpose of the museum as a landmark of Armenia is not only to honor the memory of the dead, but also to clearly show the enormity of what happened in order to prevent such tragedies.
Official website: http://www.genocide-museum .am
14. Smbataberd fortress (village Artabuynk)
Ruins of Smbataberd fortress
The fortress is located to the east of the village of Artabuink in the Vayots Dzor region. Being on a hill, it is a medieval fortification complex built on the site of an observation post of the 5th century. Most historians believe that the fortress was named after Prince Smbat Orbelyan, the ruler of the 13th century. He was a skilled warrior, knew 5 languages, was a diplomat with an innate talent.
The absence of dense plantations of trees in this place was beneficial for the builders of the Smbataberd fortress, because it made it impossible to storm the defensive structure. It was difficult to break through thick walls, and the enemies did not want to fight in an empty area where there was not a single tree.
When a siege came, the fortress did not give up. The enemies did not know that a secret water supply was connected to the fortress, and inside there were many warehouses with provisions. Thanks to this, we managed to survive hard times.
They tried to restore the ruined fortress (in 2006-2007), but a significant part of it was not restored. Getting to this attraction of Armenia is very easy. You can walk here by walking 2 km to the east from the village of Artabuink.
15. Sanahin Monastery (Sanain village, Alaverdi city)
An outstanding monument of Armenian architecture is Sanahin Monastery
Sanahin Monastery is one of the most inaccessible beauties of Armenia. After all, to get here, you have to overcome about two kilometers on foot.
The location of the monastery was chosen deliberately. Here the monks were hiding, wishing to avoid the disfavor of the Byzantine ruler Romanos Lecapinus. Built in the 10th century, the monastery was later not only a place of residence for the clergy, but also a school, an academy. Famous scientists in the Middle Ages taught here.
Many sights of Armenia, including the Sanahin Monastery, are famous for their beauty, as well as excellent preservation. This building was damaged more than once during earthquakes, but each time it was restored by caring people. The place received a complete restoration in 1996, and then it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Being here, it is impossible not to look at the building in the center, around which the rest are located. Surb Astvatsatsin is a restored domed church made of blocks of basalt. Inside the small temple there are restored frescoes. Other churches of the complex are Amenaprkich, St. Grigor Chapel.
16. Yerevan Cascade (Yerevan)
Square on the way to the Cascade on the slopes Kanaker Hills in Yerevan Dmitry Karyshev
Radiant Armenia beckons guests with gentle sun, magnificent mountain landscapes, amazingly delicious national cuisine and cordiality of the people. What to see in May, if it was during this period that the trip fell? In late spring, when the flower beds are in bloom and the greenery pleases with fresh colors, it is worth visiting the Cascade in Yerevan, surrounded by a beautiful park. It is a unique architectural complex designed to connect two parts of the city. Superbly decorated staircases, picturesque fountains, colorful flower beds and various sculptures along the Kanaker hills form a kind of cascade connecting the lower and upper parts of Yerevan. At the top of the Cascade there is an observation deck, from where breathtaking views of the city open up against the background of the horizon, decorated with a border of Small and Big Ararat. The total length of the composition of the Cascade is 0.5 km, and the difference between the heights is about 100 meters.
Official website: https://www.cmf
17. Geghard Monastery (Kotayk region)
Aerial view of the monastery complex of Geghard among the cliffs of the gorge of the mountain river Goght in Armenia
Geghard is a monastery complex, an amazing architectural structure and the main thing that Armenia is famous for in the Kotayk region. The monastery is located about half an hour from the capital, in the beautiful gorge of the Goght River, where pilgrimage tours are often made. It is believed that St. George the Illuminator founded the monastery back in the 4th century AD, on the site of a sacred spring, which to this day is located near the monastery and gives the purest water. Part of the buildings of the monastery was hollowed out right inside the rocks, the other part is complex structures, partly walled, partly sunk into the stronghold of the cliff. The monastery has another, more modern name – Geghardavank (Spear Monastery), derived from the spear of Longinus, with which the body of God's Son was pierced after the execution. In the 13th century, the Apostle Thaddeus brought a spear to Armenia – the legendary shrine is now kept in the Armenian Museum of Etchmiadzin.
18. Etchmiadzin Cathedral (Vagharshapat)
< /p>Etchmiadzin Cathedral – one of the ancient Christian temples of the planet Vigen Hakhverdyan
Each branch of Christianity has its own revered shrines. If we talk about the holy places of Armenia, the most important of them can be called the Etchmiadzin Cathedral. The ancient city of Vagharashpat, where the cathedral is located, is the largest center of Christian culture in the territory of Armenia – Christianity was recognized here as the state religion back in the 4th century. In past centuries, the walls of the Etchmiadzin Cathedral were covered with frescoes with scenes from the Holy Scriptures and images of especially revered saints, but part of the painting was lost over time. As a result of a thorough restoration in the 20th century, fragments of the painting were updated, many structural elements were strengthened. On the side of the temple, you can visit the buildings reserved for museum exhibits. Their collections include paintings by famous Armenian artists, embroidered robes, church utensils, staves, crosses and other valuable church attributes.
Official website: https://www.armenia
19. Temple of Mihr in Garni
Pagan temple in Garni, dedicated to the sun god Mihr, on the territory of Armenia
If you look at the sights of Armenia on the map, then about 30 kilometers from Yerevan you can see the only pagan temple in Armenia, built after the adoption of Christianity. It was dedicated to one of the most revered gods in Ancient Armenia – Mihr, after whom it was named. This unique object is located near the village of Garni, right above the gorge of the Azat River. The temple was built from smooth-hewn blocks of basalt, fastened with staples and pins, following the model of Hellenistic architecture. 9 high and massive steps stretch along the entire length of the facade, and the pylons on both sides of the stairs are covered with reliefs depicting Atlanteans sitting on one knee with raised hands and supporting altars. The dimensions of the temple are rather small – only a statue of a deity was placed here, and the temple itself was intended only for the royal family. Ancient historical monuments have been preserved in the vicinity – the ruins of an ancient fortress, the royal palace and a bath built in the 3rd century.
20. St. Hripsime Church (Vagharshapat)
The 17th century St. Hripsime Church at the entrance to the city of Vagharshapat in Armenia D-man
The most ancient city of Vagharshapat, Armenia belongs to the category of the main world shrines and heritage of mankind. The top attractions in this city are crowned by the 7th century St. Hripsime Church, which is part of the complex of the Etchmiadzin Monastery. The relics of Saint Hripsime, brutally murdered by the pagans, are kept inside. Presumably in 301, several Christian girls came to Armenia from a Roman monastery, among them was Hripsime. With her beauty, she so subdued the Roman emperor that he offered her marriage. The girl, refusing, was forced to hide from the wrath of the monarch in Armenia. The Armenian king, also captivated by the beauty of Hripsime, caught fire with the same desire, but was rejected, for which he ordered the execution of all the girls who arrived. This cruelty led the emperor to demonic possession, from which Gregory the Illuminator cured him – the Son of God appeared to this saint in a dream, who indicated the place for the construction of a temple in honor of Hripsime. In the north, Armenia borders on Georgia, a country where a proud but hospitable people lives, where wine flows like water, and mountain landscapes are so beautiful that almost all famous Russian writers mentioned them in their works! While in Armenia, think about visiting Georgia. Read about the sights of Georgia and get inspired for your further journey through the Caucasus region!