10 things to do in Armenia to make your journey fun and interesting. We’ve collected 10 must-see and must-do things for you to explore.
Armenia is a wonderful country that offers many opportunities to explore, go on great adventures, and have lots of fun.
While it may not have been the first country on your travel list, or one that gets as much attention as countries such as Spain or France. However, there are so many things to do in this small country that is located in between Europe and Asia.
Hopefully, this list will inspire you to visit this ancient country that has tons of sites to explore!
Things to do in Armenia 1) Visit the only remaining pagan temple in the country in Garni
One of the things that Armenia is most well-known for is becoming the first Christian nation in 301 AD under the rule of King Tiridates and Queen Ashkhen.
Before adopting Christianity, Armenia was a deeply pagan nation, with its own myths, gods, and goddesses. However, after Armenia adopted Christianity, the new Christian leaders almost completely purged the entire country of its pagan past.
The only remaining pagan temple is located in the village of Garni in the Kotayk province of Armenia. It is believed to have been built by King Tiridates I during the first century AD.
The temple was originally dedicated to the Armenian sun god, Mihr. Then, it was converted into a summer residence for King Tiridates III’s sister, Princess Khosrovidukht.
There is a small sect of pagans in Armenia who continue to perform pagan rituals and ceremonies here.
The Garni temple is also a popular tourist attraction in Armenia, and is surrounded by a beautiful view of a canyon. It is definitely a site worth seeing if you choose to travel to Armenia.
Things to do in Armenia 2) Enjoy the cool waters at Lake Sevan
Considered to be one of the three great seas of ancient Armenia, Lake Sevan is the largest lake in the entire Caucasus region and the second highest freshwater lake in the world.
It covers approximately 5 percent of Armenia’s territory, which is huge considering how small Armenia is.
It is the only historical Armenian lake which is currently situated within the borders of the Republic of Armenia, and therefore is called the jewel of Armenia by many Armenians.
The water is rather cold, but it is a refreshing place to visit on a hot summer day. Many Armenians also like to rent jet skis or boats to go on the water, or gather with friends and family to eat barbecue on the seaside.
Things to do in Armenia 3) Go on a ride on the longest aerial tramway in the world
The longest aerial tramway in the world, called the Wings of Tatev, is located between the village of Halidzor and Tatev Monastery in southern Armenia.
It takes about twelve minutes and offers spectacular views of the lush, green mountains and the Tatev Monastery, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Armenia.
It is considered to be an important historical site, which has played a huge role in the Syunik region for economic, political, spiritual, and cultural activities.
It operated one of the oldest universities in the world centuries ago, and is considered to be the jewel of Armenian architecture.
The breathtaking views offered by the ropeway ride make the long trip to find the monastery completely worthwhile.
Things to do in Armenia 4) Go inside the pit where Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned
St. Gregory the Illuminator, known by Armenians as Grigor Lusavorich, is the patron saint of Armenia and the person who helped influence the Armenian king to make Armenia a Christian nation.
Initially, though, King Tiridates was completely opposed to St. Gregory and his attempts to spread Christianity among Armenians. He sentenced Gregory to prison in a pit underneath what is today the Khor Virap monastery.
Gregory lived here for 13 years. Today, tourists can climb down a ladder to visit the prison site. Also, the Khor Virap monastery is considered to be a major tourist attraction and pilgrimage site for Armenians all over the world, since it is considered to be one of the closest sites to Mount Ararat, which is very visible from there. Photographs of Khor Virap with Mount Ararat in the background are some of the most popular from all across Armenia.
Things to do in Armenia 5) Get lost in Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital city of Armenia, which is the perfect blend of ancient and modern. Yerevan is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and is even older than Rome.
It is also one of the most popular places to visit in Armenia and a large portion of the country’s population resides here.
There is much to do in Yerevan- go to museums, go to church (even if you are not religious, all of Armenia’s churches have a hint of deeply ancient history and beauty), go to restaurants or cafes, and more.
It is worth taking a day or so out of your trip to explore the streets of Yerevan and all the city has to offer.
Things to do in Armenia 6) Explore the contested region of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh)
Artsakh is one of the less-explored parts of the Armenian region, due to the fact that there is a massive territorial dispute with neighboring Azerbaijan over the region. Despite the war that still continues, Artsakh remains very safe besides the bordering villages and towns. The main city of Stepanakert was completely renovated and fixed after the war. The popular statue, Tatik Papik (Grandma Grandpa), is located in Stepanakert. There is also the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in the city of Shushi, the Gandzasar Monastery in Gandzasar, the hot springs in Karvachar, and so much more. It is highly recommended to take a few days and spend them in the beautiful mountainous region. Artsakh is very peaceful and beautiful, and when visiting, it is difficult to believe that a war continues over it.
Things to do in Armenia 7) Pay respects to the victims of the Armenian Genocide at Tsitsernakaberd
This is a popular pilgrimage site for many Armenians all across the world, as many Armenians are descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors. The Tsitsernakaberd memorial was built in 1967 in Yerevan.
Every year on April 24th, which is commemorated as the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, thousands of people gather here to pay respect to the victims of the brutal genocide and lay flowers at the site of the eternal flame.
There are twelve slabs which are positioned in a circular design, which represent the twelve regions of historical Armenia which are currently a part of the Republic of Turkey.
There is an eternal flame which is at a depth of 1.5 meters to represent the 1.5 million Armenians who perished. Underground there is a museum dedicated to the Armenian Genocide, containing many historical documents and photographs.
Things to do in Armenia 8) Visit the site where Armenia was saved at Sardarapat
The Battle of Sardarapat took place from May 22nd to May 26th, 1918, in the village of Araks, Armenia. It is considered to be one of the most important battles in Armenian history, due to the fact that Armenian armed forces were able to repel Turks and establish the First Republic of Armenia on May 28, 1918.
It is so important because many people believe that if Armenians had lost the battle, it would have resulted in the complete destruction of the Armenian people and nation.
There is a memorial dedicated to the battle site in Sardarapat, where the battle took place. The memorial features two winged oxen which were constructed of red tufa, a trellis with twelve bells which ring every year on the anniversary of the battle, Armenian-winged lion statues, and a memorial garden for those who died in the war in Artsakh.
There is also a museum located here, which is dedicated to the history of the battle. There is something just awe-inspiring about visiting a site which completely determined the fate of an entire nation, which should make this site one of the top places to visit on your list when traveling to Armenia.
Things to do in Armenia 9) Grab a bite of fresh food to eat at Gntuniq in Aparan
The Gntuniq supermarket and bakery located in the city of Aparan is one of the most popular bakeries in Armenia, even having been featured on worldwide social media blogs, despite the fact that it is located in a rather remote part of the country.
One of the most interesting parts about it is the fact that the bakers almost literally jump into the tonir- the oven used to bake bread- in order to stick the dough to the side so it can bake.
There are so many baked goods available here, from Armenian lavash, other breads, pastries, sandwiches, and more, that it is worth traveling to this remote location to grab a bite of freshly baked bread to eat.
Things to do in Armenia 10) Buy beautiful souvenirs at Vernissage
Vernissage is the most popular site in Armenia to buy souvenirs, and is also cheaper than most other souvenir spots in Armenia. It is recommended to go to Vernissage instead of other souvenir sites offered, because the prices are more affordable here.
Vernissage is located in Yerevan and has every type of souvenir one can imagine, from refrigerator magnets to paintings to statues and more.
It is also a nice place to walk around on a warm summer day. There is everything imaginable here, so it can make a great stop to buy souvenirs for all of your friends and family.
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