Armenia is known for its beautiful landscapes, its cuisine, culture and history. Since Armenia was the first country to officially adopt Christianity, you can find some of the world’s oldest churches and monasteries located in the extremely beautiful natural settings.
Regarding safety, Armenia is one of the safest countries in the world with very low crime level. Especially in summer, you can find a lot of locals and tourists walking on the street till midnight. The locals are quick to help you if you seem to be confused or lost. It is also comforting to know that there are uniformed police officers almost everywhere.
As you can see, Armenia has plenty to offer for every tourist and everybody will find something for himself /herself there. Therefore, if you have not been there yet, you should definitely do it as soon as possible. When you buy a tour to Armenia you should know certain things about the country and Armenia history.
Here are the 7 most interesting facts about Armenia.
1: Armenia is an ancient country
Its history dates back to well before the Bronze Age and traces the beginnings of civilization.
Armenia has a rich and unique heritage that is fascinating to explore… For instance, Ughtasar Petroglyphs date back to 12000 BC. The world’s oldest known leather shoe dates back to 3500 BC discovered in Areni.
Along with Iran, China, Greece, Egypt and Japan, Armenia is among the 6 ancient countries that has survived for thousands of years. Armenia was first mentioned in king Darius Behistun manuscript in 520 BC. Armenia was also mentioned by ancient Greek author Herodotus and Xenophon in the V century BC.
2: First country to adopt Christianity
Armenia is the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion. Today, 97% of the Armenia’s population are Christians, and Armenia has one of the most beautiful churches in the world. Gregory the Illuminator (Lusavorich), who baptized Armenia in 301, became the first Catholicos of All Armenians.
Armenia became the first Christian state. The first church in the world was built in Armenia. Holy Etchmiadzin was the first state church built in the world back in the early 4th century. This place is also the headquarters of all the churches in Armenia and it’s one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the world.
3: Armenia has its own alphabet
There are interesting facts about Armenian language. Armenia has its own alphabet and it is one of the most advanced in the world. The Armenian alphabet was created in 405-406 AD by a scholar and monk Mesrop Mashtots. Mashtots’ alphabet consists of 36 letters. Scientists consider the Armenian alphabet to be one of the most advanced in the world. The monument to the Armenian alphabet and its creator Mesrop Mashtots is in the village of Artashavan, on the slope of Mount Aragats.
4: Armenia is home to the world’s oldest winery
First of all – you probably don’t associate Armenia with wine. At least that’s what the archaeologists claim: in 2011 they discovered what is thought to be the oldest winery on the planet, found in a cave near the village of Areni but it is in fact 6100 years old!
Yet the country produces some of the really good wines and not only from grapes but also other fruits (be sure to try the pomegranate or apricot wine!).
5: Armenia has a record-breaking cable car
This might come as a surprise but you will find the longest Aerial Tramway in the world in Armenia. According to Guinness World Records, the longest non-stop double track cable car is the Tatev Aerial Tramway, which clocks in at 5,752m (18,871ft) long. The spectacular cable car called Wings of Tatev connects the village of Halidzor with the Tatev Monastery (one of the most important monasteries in the country) offering spectacular views across the Vorotan River Gorge en route.
6: Yerevan is one of the oldest cities in the world
The Armenian capital, Yerevan, is one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities. Founded in 782 BC by King Argishti, it is even older than Rome! What you see now is a modern capital in the European style but the origins of the city are really impressive!
7: UNESCO World Heritage List
Lavash, a soft, thin, flatbread, found place on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
It has three other intangible cultural heritages: Performance of the Armenian Epic “Daredevils of Sassoun” or “David of Sassoun”, Armenian Cross-stones art, and Dudak and its Music.
There are six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Armenia: Haghpat Monastery, Sanahin Monastery, Echmiadzin cathedral and churches, Zvartnots archaeological site, Geghard Monastery and Azat Valley.
Why are Armenian women so beautiful? Why is their culture so different from the West? And why do they, generally, tend to have a dark complexion?
They are West Asian by heritage so it makes sense that their culture is different from the West. There is a misconception that Armenia is like every other Eastern European country. Not only is Armenia geographically located in Asia but culturally, it is evident that it is very different from any country in Europe. For example, their Armenian taraz is very similar to Persian styles of clothing. Their music often uses an instrument known as the Duduk that sounds very similar to middle eastern wind instruments. Armenian music is even listed in the same category as middle eastern music on wikipedia. (I know wikipedia is not always accurate). Armenian food is very similar to North African food from Egypt. For example, their dolma and tabbouleh. They have a darker complexion due to the fact that they’re not European. Armenia is fully in the continent of Asia.
If you are planning a trip here, here are some of the most beautiful places to add to your itinerary.
A visit to Armenia isn’t complete without traveling to its capital – Yerevan. The city is full of interesting places to visit and areas to explore. Stroll down the streets, climb up the Cascade for panoramic views, visit the many museums, and indulge in local cuisine. The perfect geographical location of the city also makes it possible to schedule various day trips from here.
Located only a 30-minute drive from Yerevan, the city of Echmiadzin plays an important role in the history of the country. Armenia was one of the first countries to make Christianity its official religion, and the cathedral was built on the site of an ancient pagan temple to commemorate the event.
When traveling throughout Armenia, you’ll notice that the country is rich in monasteries, and Noravank is one of the most impressive ones in the whole country. Smooth brick-red hills shield the monastery, which was built in the 13th century. If you are short on time and undecided which site to see while planning your trip here, do choose Noravank.
Another magnificent place to explore is the Noravank Gorge located in Vayots Dzor Province. Wander through the captivating caves that are home to ancient wine-making utensils and prehistoric shoes dating from the Chalcolithic Period. Moreover, the area is famous for a wide variety of birds, including vultures and eagles, as well as striking rocky walls that change colors according to the time of the day.
Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia and one of the most beautiful places to visit. The lake serves both as a cultural and leisure site. It’s surrounded by many gorgeous monasteries for you to explore, but if you are looking for a more relaxing getaway, head to some of the many beaches along the lakeshore. As the country doesn’t have a coastline, Sevan is a good place to sunbathe, swim, or windsurf.
Gyumri is the second largest city in the country, and it is worth planning a visit here. After exploring city life, head to the Black Fortress for picturesque views of Gyumri, and don’t forget to visit the Mother Armenia statue situated nearby. Museum lovers will also enjoy their time here, as the city is home to some of the most significant cultural institutions in the country such as the Dzitoghtsyan Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life, the Sergey Merkurov House Museum, and the Aslamazyan Sisters House Museum.
Amberd Fortress is one of the most astonishing places in the country to explore. The name translates into English as ‘the fortress in the clouds’, and the view from here is stunning. Dating back to the 7th century, the fortress is about an hour’s drive from Yerevan. However, note that during the winter months, snowfall can block the road towards the fortress.
The Upper Azat Valley is home to Geghard Monastery, another incredible site in the country. Even though the main chapel was built 800 years ago, the history of the monastery goes back to the 4th century. Founded by Gregory the Illuminator, it is believed to have housed one of the spears used during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps the best place to enjoy the breathtaking views of Mount Ararat is from the Khor Virap Monastery. The area plays a significant role in Armenia’s history, as Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned here for 14 years before curing King Trdat III of a disease. Afterward, the King converted to Christianity and determined the religious future of the country.
History buffs will like Dvin, the oldest city and a former capital of medieval Armenia. Founded in the around 330, the city stood still until it was destroyed during the Jalal Ad-Din’s and Mongols’ invasions in the middle of the 13th century. You can wander through the ruins of the city and admire the archeological findings. In addition, the city also has modern sights to explore, such as St. Harutyun Church, which was built 18 years ago.
Tatev Monastery and Shaki Waterfall
Tatev Monastery is another unforgettable place to visit in Armenia. The drive is a bit long, around four hours from Yerevan, but the scenery is worth it. The medieval monastery located at the end of a deep gorge and is surrounded by marvelous mountainous landscapes. You need to take a cable car to get to the monastery, taking another 20 minutes but offering fantastic panoramic views.
Selim Pass used to be part of the famous Silk Road that linked Asia to Europe. Located between Yerevan and Lake Sevan, the site is full of ancient caravanserai that still stands intact. Caravanserais used to be complexes that encompassed a meeting point, a hotel and a shopping place for the merchants traveling along the road.
If you are looking for a popular spa destination, travel to Jermuk, famous for 40 thermal springs. The healing properties of the mineral water and the mild climate attract many locals. Visit the Gallery of Water for free tastings of the mineral water and Jermuk Waterfall, the second largest waterfall in the country.
The Syunik region is home to another attractive site – the cave town of Khndzoresk, where people used to live up until the 1950s. The site is a unique settlement where time seems to have stopped. A new bridge was built to connect the two parts of the village, from where you can enjoy magnificent views of the area.
Why you need to visit Armenia right now
Everthing you need to know about Armenia the land of Noah