Armenia is an ancient country that has preserved years of traditions and heritage. It has left a big presence in the world’s history and is now proving itself in the innovation and technological world. It has been a magnet for sightseers and vacationists coming from all the ends of the world. And if you are arranging to visit this little gem, here is a list of what you need to know before booking your ticket.
The capital city
Yerevan is the capital of Armenia and is the oldest city to be uninterruptedly inhabited. They call it “Pink City” because of the distinct stones used in constructing the architectural buildings during the Soviet period. The famous Republic Square occupies the core of Yerevan and that’s where the magic happens, especially at night, when the musical water fountain starts entertaining a whole crowd gathered around it. Noticeable places to visit in Yerevan are the Cascade, Mother Armenia monument and Vernissage – the city’s all-you-can-find flea market. And make sure to attend a musical or a ballet at Yerevan Opera Theater.
In 301AD, Armenia has adopted Christianity as its country’s religion and now almost 95% of Armenians are Christians. Hence this religion has shaped the values and cultures of Armenia and explains why the country is called “land of churches”. On average, four thousand churches exist in Armenia but of course you won’t be able to visit them all! The most visited churches are Etchmiadzin Cathedral (the oldest church), Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral (the biggest church), Khor Virap, Noravank and Tatev monasteries.
When to Travel to Armenia?
Armenia is jammed with tourists all year long! The country is mountainous hence the crazy weather. The climate is dry with four seasons and temperatures can fluctuate extensively between seasons. The preferable time to visit is the beginning and ending months of summer where you can comfortably enjoy the sun, your hike and the picturesque green sceneries. However, snow and ski lovers frequent the white-capped mountains of Armenia during winter time.
Hotels and Tours
The country offers plenty of hotels, motels and hostels that you will be overwhelmed while making your decision. The Armenian Inn hostel is a brand-new guesthouse that offers hotel services for the price of a hostel. It is also very convenient to book different tours during your stay in Armenia, many companies offer affordable and suitable trips. Armenians are very generous people and they will propose to help out even if they don’t completely understand your language.
How to Get Around?
If you’re staying in Yerevan, then going around the city is mostly and easily done by foot since the city is flat and all the sites that you should discover are nearby. Nevertheless, buses and minivans are accessible and relatively cheap, just ask anyone at a bus station which number to take for your destination and they will happily help you. Metros are also practical to use and currently, there are 10 active stations across Yerevan. If none of the mentioned means is suitable, then you can definitely spot a taxicab at the corner of each street.
Currency / Mobile Fees
The currency used in Armenia is Armenian Dram. 50,000 Armenian Dram is more or less equivalent to one hundred US Dollars, which will go a long way since accommodation and food are low-priced. You can spot an ATM machine and currency exchange shop almost at the entrance of all the supermarkets. If you are planning on buying an Armenian SIM card during your stay, you can do so immediately at your arrival at the airport after claiming your baggage. You will see two of their main mobile operators – Viva Cell MTS and Ucom – and purchase a very convenient package for a small fee.
You will never be thirsty in Armenia! Besides the fact that the tap water is one hundred percent drinkable, you can find more than two thousand drinking water fountains scattered on the streets of Yerevan and its suburbs. When you’re here, ask for the seasonal fruits, they’re organic and fresh. Some of the traditional Armenian cuisines are gata, ghapama, dolma and many more. They’re a bit inclined towards the Mediterranean foods but with fewer spices. Don’t forget to have pomegranates, after all, it is the symbol of Armenia.
Places to see
Armenia is famous for mainly two things: monasteries and nature, and most of the time, the two are combined in the same place. Starting with Sevan Lake, the biggest lake in the region, where you can also visit Sevanavank, an ancient church with a picturesque lake view. Then you can head east to explore Garni temple, the best-known structure for pre-Christian Armenia, and Geghard, a medieval monastery carved out of the adjacent mountain. Tourists also add Gyumri to their must-see list, the second-largest city in Armenia. Let’s not forget Jermuk and Dzaghgatsor, two different and distant from each other natural gems.
Armenia is known for its strong cultural presence hence a large number of museums found in the country. Matenadaran is an institute of ancient Manuscripts that will take you back through the history of Armenia. The Armenian Genocide museum should also be on the must-visit list and it’s known as Tsitsernakaberd. The History Museum of Armenia is located right in the middle of Republic Square. And even if you’re not a cognac fan, you must pass by Yerevan brandy factory for a walk through the cognac production process.
Reading about Armenia is one thing, actually seeing and exploring the country is completely different! Book that ticket now and enjoy your trip to Armenia, make sure to take as many pictures as you can. Armenian Inn hostel will ensure that you have the best time of your life.