The 15 best places to visit in Armenia

 

In the south east of the country close to the border with Azerbaijan is the historic cave village of Old Khndzoresk, where past generations of Armenian's carved their homes into the mountainside. In 2012 a 160 metre (525 ft) bridge was built to cross the gorge, giving easy access to the old village and becoming an attractions in its own right.

15. Khndzoresk Bridge

 

Completed in 1980 after 9 years of construction is the Yerevan Cascade, a giant stairway connecting two central areas of the countries capital, Yerevan. The multiple levels are adorned with statues, sculptures and fountains, some with buildings connected where shops or cafes can be found. The high vantage point allows unhindered views over the centre of the city out towards Mount Ararat.

14. Yerevan Cascade

 

Built in the 9th century is the Sevan Monastery Complex, located at the northern edge of Lake Sevan in the east of the country. The two churches; Surp Arakelots, meaning the 'Holy Apostles' and Surp Astvatsatsin, meaning the 'Holy Mother Of God' have become one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country, due in part to their picturesque lake location.

13. Sevanavank

 

Built in 1967 in the countries capital, Yerevan, on a spot where once stood a statue of Joseph Stalin, stands the 51 metre (167 ft) Mother Armenia statue, supposed to represent the female personification of Armenia. The tallest statue in the country, located in Victory Park, from its vantage point high upon a hill it also offers one of the best views over the city.

12. Mother Armenia

 

Dating from the 13th century, south east from the capital, Yerevan, is the Norovank, literally meaning 'New Monastery'. Located within a narrow gorge of the Amaghu River, the picturesque gorge is known for its tall, sheer, brick red cliffs, making for a beautiful backdrop to this ancient structure. Best known for its two storey Surb Astvatsatsin or 'Holy Mother of God' church, access to the second floor is by way of a narrow stone staircase jutting out from the face of the building, known to be one of the earliest examples of cantilever architecture.

11. Noravank

 

In the countries capital, Yerevan, is the Republic Square, the cities central square located right at its heart. Mostly built and completed in the 1950's, the square consists of a pool of musical fountains surrounded by five neoclassical buildings considered to be the countries most outstanding architectural ensemble. It has been described by some as one of the finest central squares created anywhere in the world during the 20th century.

10. Republic Square

 

To the east of the capital, Yerevan, built in the 1st century at an elevation of 1,396 metres (4,580 ft) above sea level is the Temple Of Garni, the most well known structure of pre-Christian Armenia. Having collapsed in 1679 AD during an earthquake, the structure was re-built in the late 19th century. Today this neo-pagan shrine is one of the countries most visited attractions.

9. Temple Of Garni

 

In the far north of the country close to the Georgian border is the Haghpat medieval monastery complex, consisting of several religious buildings built half way up a mountain between the 10th and 13th centuries. Described as a masterpiece of religious architecture of the middle ages, the Haghpat Monastery has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

8. Haghpat Monastery

 

To the west of the capital, Yerevan, are the ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral, meaning 'Celestial Angels'. Completed in the 7th century, it later fell in the 10th century for reasons unknown. Excavated in the 19th century, the remains today have been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 

Pictured in front of Mount Ararat across the Turkish border.

7. Zvartnots Cathedral

 

In the extreme south of the country, close to the border with Iran is the 344 square kilometre (133 square mile) Arevik National Park, protecting an area of the Meghri Mountains. Home to animals such as leopard, brown bear, striped hyena and Armenian vipers among many other species, the park encompasses a landscape of forests, open woodlands, alpine meadows, semi-deserts, mountain steppes and high peaks that are among the most rugged and spectacular in the country. Its location in the deep south make Arevik National Park one of the least trodden areas in Armenia.

6. Arevik National Park

 

East of the capital, Yerevan, close to the Temple of Garni is the Geghard Monastery complex, carved from the mountain it is wonderfully surrounded by steep cliffs. Founded in the 4th century, the name translates to 'Monastery of The Spear', so named from the spear which wounded Jesus and was later supposed to have been brought to this location. Set within beautiful surroundings, the towering cliffs along with the monastery itself have been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Geghard Monastery

 

To the west of the capital, Yerevan, in the town of Vagharshapat is the countries most important Christian shrine, the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in the world. First constructed in the year 303 AD, the cathedral has undergone many restorations following invasions as well as years of neglect, showcasing many styles of Armenian building work throughout the centuries. Due to its age and cultural significance this ancient monument has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. Etchmiadzin Cathedral

 

In the south of the country where it narrows between Azerbaijan and the landlocked Nakchivan Autonomous Republic, also belonging to Azerbaijan, is the Tatev Monastery. Built in the 9th century this wonderful monastery complex stands upon a large plateau on the edge of a deep gorge, giving it one of the finest natural locations in the country, and making it one of the most visited places in Armenia.

3. Tatev Monastery

 

In the east of the country north of Lake Sevan is the 240 square kilometre (92 square mile) Dilijan National Park, known for its mountainous forest landscape, rich biodiversity and medicinal mineral water springs. The park also holds a collection of very important cultural monuments, which in keeping with the rest of the country include monasteries and churches dating back to the 10th century.

2. Dilijan National Park

 

South of the capital, Yerevan, on the border with Turkey and close to Iran is one of Armenia's most iconic sights, the monastery of Khor Virap, a name that translates as 'Deep Dungeon'. Though what stands there today is a 17th century construction on the site of the earlier 6th century building, its location surrounded by vineyards and green pastures in view of the Turkish Mount Ararat has become the single most iconic sight in Armenia.

1. Khor Virap

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