Armenia,  Asia,  Travels

Around Armenia

Are you going to visit Armenia? That’s a fantastic idea! Below you can find an example of a travel plan around Armenia for 7 days. Additionaly, you can find a description of the most interesting Amenia’s attractions on the way.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Armenia was the first country which accepted the Catholic faith.,  Therefore, in the large part of interesting places you can find, churches, monasteries, and temples. For Armenian people, faith has large importance.

Also, for history lovers, there are many places worth to visit. For example, through Armenia goes a Silk Road. It was the most important ancient network of trade routes which connected the East and West. Below, you will find out which way it goes.

In addition, for nature lovers, Armenia offers amazing and unforgettable views during the whole journey around the country. But below, you can find a place, which certainly you will love.

In short​, I would like to invite you to read the whole post, to find  out, how to spend a great time during the trip in Armenia.

Day 1

Firstlym we arrived at Zvartnots Airport in Yerevan, so the travel plan starts from this place. Secondly, rent a car and enjoy your time in Armenia.

1. Garni Temple

It is the only standing Greco-Roman colonnaded building in Armenia. Garni temple is an Ionic pagan temple, the best-known structure, and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia. It is one of the main tourist attractions and the central shrine of Armenian Neopaganism.

The temple probably was built in the first century AD by king Tiridates I as a temple to the sun god Mihr. When Armenia accepted the Catholic faith, in the early fourth century, it was converted into a royal summer house of Khosrovidukht, the sister of Tiridates III. Unfortunately, the temple collapsed in 1679 by the earthquake but was renewed.

The temple of Garni is located in a small village named Garni, at the edge of a triangular cliff which overlooks the ravine of the Azat River and the Gegham mountains. It is daily open from 9.00 am to 10.00 pm. The ticket costs 2 000 AMD.

The temple of Garni in Armenia
The temple of Garni in Armenia
Garni Temple - It is one of the main tourist attractions and the central shrine of Armenian Neopaganism
Garni Temple – It is one of the main tourist attractions and the central shrine of Armenian Neopaganism
2. Geghard Monastery

It is a medieval monastery listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with enhanced protection status. The monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave, but the main chapel was built in 1215.

Originally, the Monastery was named Ayrivank meaning ‘the Monastery of the Cave’, but today’s name, Geghard, more fully Geghardavank, originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude and stored amongst many other relicts. Geghard in the Armenian language means exactly ‘spear’. Now the spear is displayed in the Echmiadzin treasury.

Geghard Monastery is open daily from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm. The entrance is free.

A view of Geghard Monastery
A view of Geghard Monastery
Entrance to the caves adjacent to the monastery
Entrance to the caves adjacent to the monastery
Wedding ceremony in Geghard Monastery
Wedding ceremony in Geghard Monastery
Geghard Monastery in Armenia
Geghard Monastery in Armenia
3. The Khor Virap monastery with Mount Ararat

The monastery of The Khor Virap is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Armenia. A chapel of the monastery was initially built in 642 at the site of Khor Virap by Nerses III the Builder as a mark of veneration to Saint Gregory. The interesting fact is that Gregory the Illuminator was initially imprisoned here for about 14 years by King Tiridates III of Armenia for being first Christian in the world. Subsequently, he became the king’s religious mentor, and he led the proselytizing activity in the country.

The monastery is located on a hillock in Pokr Vedi in the Ararat plain in Armenia, about 100 meters away from the closed Turkish-Armenian border. It is surrounded by green pasture lands and vineyards with a view of Mount Ararat.

The monastery is daily open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm. The entrance is free.

The Khor Virap monastery with the Little Ararat Mount
The Khor Virap monastery with the Little Ararat Mount
The Khor Virap monastery in Armenia
The Khor Virap monastery in Armenia

Mount Ararat is a snow-capped and dormant compound volcano in Turkey. It consists of two major volcanic cones: Greater and Little Ararat.

Greater and Little Ararat
Greater and Little Ararat

Mount Ararat is a very important and sacred place for Armenian. It has been widely accepted in Christianity as the resting place of Noah’s Ark. Being in Armenia, you will notice that Mount Ararat is the principal national symbol of Armenia – almost everything has its name, eg. brandy, cognac, cigarettes, beer, etc. Also, it is featured prominently in Armenian literature and art.

Yerevan Brandy Factory
Yerevan Brandy Factory

Day 2

1. Noravank Monastery

It is a 13th-century Armenian monastery, located in a narrow gorge made by the Amaghu River. The gorge is known for its tall, sheer, brick-red cliffs, directly across from the monastery.

Noravank was founded in 1205 by Bishop Hovhannes. The monastery is the only two-storied monastery in Armenia.

The monastery is daily open from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm. The road to Noravank follows the Gnishik River Canyon with amazing views of spectacular rock formations.

Noravank Monastery in Armenia
Noravank Monastery in Armenia
Surb Karapet (St. John the Baptist) Church
Surb Karapet (St. John the Baptist) Church
Noravank Monastery
Noravank Monastery
 Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) Church
Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) Church
2. Shaki Waterfall

The way to Tatev is so long, so I recommend making a stop to discover outstanding Shaki Waterfall. It is located 5 kilometers away from the main road to Tatev. There are two ways how to get there. We followed GPS navigation, which leads us through the city. We parked a car close to pasture and the rest way we walked. This way leads you to the top of the waterfall. On the right side, you can find a way down to the waterfall.

The road to Shaki Waterfalls
The road to Shaki Waterfalls
Shaki Waterfalls
Shaki Waterfalls
3. Tatev Monastery and the longest cable car in the world

It is a 9th-century Armenian Apostolic monastery located on a large basalt plateau near the Tatev village. It is one of the oldest and most famous monastery complexes in Armenia.

A view of Tatev Monastery
A view of Tatev Monastery
Tatev Monastery
Tatev Monastery

In 2010 was opened Wings of Tatev, a cableway from Tatev to Halidzor Village. It is the world’s longest non-stop double track cable car. The total ride time is about 12 minutes.

Wings of Tatev - the longest cable car in the world
Wings of Tatev – the longest cable car in the world

We decided to take the one-way ticket from Halindzor to Tatev and go down through a snake path leading to Devil’s Bridge. On the way, you can visit Tatevi Mets Anapat, the ruins of the shelter of the Kharants hermits.

Tatevi Mets Anapat
Tatevi Mets Anapat
The ruins of the shelter of the Kharants hermits
The ruins of the shelter of the Kharants hermits

Wings of Tatev is open daily except for Mondays from October to April between 10.00 am and 6.00 pm, in May from 10.00 am to 7.00 pm, in June from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm, and daily from July to August between 9.00 am and 8.00 pm.

One way ticket costs for adult 5 500 AMD, roundtrip 7 000 AMD (or 9 000 AMD for a roundtrip with flexible hours).

More information about Wings of Tatev, you can find at the official website: http://tatever.am/en

Day 3

1. Goris Stone Forest

It is a unique natural phenomenon, which was created by blowing winds. Goris Stone Forest is an amazing labyrinth of colored columns, pyramids, cones and towers, which make an incredible impression. You can find there many caves, where people lived for centuries. Goris Stone Forest is located in the valley of the Vararak River, where surrounding the city Goris.

Goris Stone Forest
Goris Stone Forest
It is an amazing labyrinth of colored columns, pyramids, cones and towers, which make an incredible impression
It is an amazing labyrinth of colored columns, pyramids, cones and towers, which make an incredible impression
Goris Stone Forest
Goris Stone Forest
Sheep in Goris Stone Forest
Sheep in Goris Stone Forest
A view of the Goris Stone Forest
A view of the Goris Stone Forest
2. Winery

On the way back from Tatev, I recommend a short break in one of many wineries located in Armenia. You should know that Armenia is one of the oldest wine-producing regions of the world. In the winery, you will find out how to make and lay down wine, you will see butts of wine and you will have an occasion to try delicious wines. I love the sweet wine of pomegranate.

Butts of wine in one of many wineries in Armenia
Butts of wine in one of many wineries in Armenia
3. Old Bridge in Yeghegnadzor and Orbelian’s Caravanserai

As I mentioned earlier, you will find out more about The Silk Road. The Silk Road, was the most important ancient route for trade and communication. The goods destined for the Near East, from the Central and South-Eastern Asia.

Thanks to geographical position, Armenia has been on the very crossroads of The Silk Road. Through the current territory along the Ararat valley, stretches one of the principal branches of the Road. One of the most famous regional fairs of the Chinese silks took place in the early medieval capital of Armenia – Dvin, which in the 5th century replaced Artashat. In the 9-10th century Armenian towns Artsn, Ani and Kars started to play an essential role in world trade.

Till today, in Vayots Dzor region of Armenia was saved the ancient Orbelian’s caravanserai and old bridge. The ancient Orbelian’s caravanserai has served as an inn for traders who passed through the Silk Road. Through the old bridge which is located close to Yeghegnadzor, leaded a Silk Road.

Old Bridge in Yeghegnadzor
Old Bridge in Yeghegnadzor
Through the Old Bridge in Yeghegnadzor leaded the Silk Road
Through the Old Bridge in Yeghegnadzor leaded the Silk Road
The ancient Orbelian’s caravanserai has served as an inn for traders who passed through the Silk Road
The ancient Orbelian’s caravanserai has served as an inn for traders who passed through the Silk Road
Day 4
1. Sewan Lake

It is the largest lake in Armenia and the Caucasus region, and additionally, it is one of the largest freshwater high-altitude (alpine) lakes in Eurasia (it is located at an altitude of 1,900 meters above sea level). The interesting fact is that it is fed by 28 rivers and streams. The only Hrazdan River drains from Sewan.

Lake Sewan is considered the “jewel” of Armenia and its national treasure. It has significant economic, cultural, and recreational value.

From Yerevan to Sewan lake is about 65 kilometers.

Sewan Lake
Sewan Lake
2. Sewanawank Monastery

It is a medieval monastery, located on a peninsula at the northwestern shore of Lake Sevan. According to an inscription on one of the churches, the monastery was founded in 874 by Princess Mariam, the daughter of Ashot I.

Sewanawank Monastery consists of two churches: Surp Arakelots meaning the “Holy Apostles” and Surp Astvatsatsin meaning the “Holy Mother of God”.

The monastery is open daily from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm. The entrance for visitors is free.

Sewanawank Monastery
Sewanawank Monastery

Day 5

1. Dilijan National Park

Close to Sewan Lake is located one of the four national parks of Armenia – Dilijan National Park. I recommend making a long stop there and hiking. There are many interesting hiking trails. During hiking, you will find a lot of important cultural monument, for example: Haghartsin Monastery, Goshavank, Jukhtak Vank or Matosavank.

If you need a map of Dilijan National Park or some advises, in Dilijan is located Tourists Information Center. It is open daily from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm.

A stream in the Dilijan National Park
A stream in the Dilijan National Park
Dilijan National Park
Dilijan National Park

Day 6

1. Armenian Alphabet Monument

In Artashavan village of Aragatsotn region, is located Armenian Alphabet Monument. The complex was built in 2005, on the 1600th anniversary of the creation of Armenian alphabet. The Armenian alphabet was created by Mesrop Mashtots. It was created in 405 AD and it is still used to present the Armenian language in written form.

The monument consists of 39 giant carved Armenian letters and figures of the great Armenian thinkers.

Armenian Alphabet Monument
Armenian Alphabet Monument
In Artashavan village of Aragatsotn region, is located Armenian Alphabet Monument
In Artashavan village of Aragatsotn region, is located Armenian Alphabet Monument
2. Saghmosavank Monastery

It is a 13th-century Armenian monastic complex located in the village of Saghmosavan. The monastery is situated atop the precipitous gorge carved by the Kasagh river.

The name ‘Saghmosavank’ in Armenian means ‘the monastery of the Psalms’.

Saghmosavank Monastery
Saghmosavank Monastery
The monastery is situated atop the precipitous gorge carved by the Kasagh river
The monastery is situated atop the precipitous gorge carved by the Kasagh river

Day 7

1. Echmiadzin and Yerevan

I recommend committing at least two days to visit Echmiadzin and Yerevan. There are many interesting places worth to visit, for instance, Echmiadzin Historical & Ethnographic Museum where you can find the spear by which the body of Christ has was pierced.

More information about attractions and must-see places in Echmiadzin and Yerevan you can find in other post.

Have you ever been to Armenia? How was your trip? Share with us your experience.

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