Top 4 reasons to visit Armenia

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Panoramic view of Yerevan from Cascade. Photo: Ara Chahvekilian, Flickr via CC.

Armenia is often overlooked as a tourist destination but visiting this country is a must if you want to experience a rich cultural heritage where ancient sights and delicious food abound. CNN listed the Armenian capital city Yerevan as one of the top 20 beautiful European cities to visit last month.

Armenia is the smallest of the former Soviet Republics. It is a landlocked country, between the Black and Caspian seas, bordered on the north and east by Georgia and Azerbaijan, and on the south and west by Iran and Turkey. It is a safe and stable country despite the volatile countries that surround it. 

Explore The First Country To Adopt Christianity 

13th-century monastery, Noravank. Photo: Alex Bagdasarian.

Armenia is a country that has roughly 4000 monasteries across the nation so visiting a few of the religious monuments is at the top of most visitor’s to-do list. A full day would allow you to visit Noravank, Sanahin or Tatev monasteries. But, if you’re short on time,  Etchmiadzin Cathedral is a must-see. It’s about 30 minutes away from Yerevan and is often considered the oldest Christian cathedral in the world. 

Enjoy Delicious Cuisine 

Armenian sweet bread, gata. Photo: Rita Willaert via WikiCommons.

Armenian dishes offer a wide range of diverse and tasty food that will leave you wanting more. Food popular with local residents include kyufta (meatballs) or tolma (minced meat wrapped in grape leaves). Visitors, especially Australians who love to eat barbecue, should definitely try the khorovats. As for desserts, gata is a typical Armenian sweet bread with each region having its own way of displaying it to consumers.

Shop At The Vernissage Market

Vernissage is a large open-air market in Yerevan. On weekends, it is the best time to visit as it is more lively. The market is known to sell souvenirs, handmade arts and crafts, ceramics and jewellery. 

Paintings at Vernissage Market. Photo: Lindsey, via Flickr CC.

Socialise With The Hospitable Locals

There is an old Armenian saying, ‘a guest is a gift from God’. Tourists will be warmly welcomed and the locals will do everything to make them feel comfortable. In Armenia, people take every opportunity to celebrate. This culture is quick to set the table for dining with their relatives and friends. 

Do not be surprised if, during your stay in this country, complete strangers will invite you to their home and treat you to food and drink, making sure you don’t leave their house hungry or thirsty. 

Armenian Hospitality. Photo: Armenia Travel.

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