Like visiting any country, travelers shouldn’t just book a plane ticket and “wing” it. Sure, it’s fun to keep an open mind about what you’ll do and see, but showing up without any knowledge of a country’s culture, language, history, and current events will not only impact what you get out of the trip, but it’ll affect how the country and its people respond to you.
Traveling to Armenia soon? Here’s what you should know beforehand.
Located in the mountains of the Caucasus region, Armenia is bordered by Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The capital of the country is Yerevan, which is located towards the center of the country, and the official language is Armenian.
Most of the country is mountainous, but there are also flat valleys and rivers, with the most famous river being the Araks. At 1,792 meters above sea level, Armenia has one of the highest elevations in the world. As for the climate, the country has a continental climate with all four seasons, including hot, dry summers and reasonably cold winters.
Explore Before You Go
Virtual reality is changing the world we live in today, from how shop to how we work. It’s also changing how we learn about the world, offering us the chance to virtually explore new places before we get a chance to visit. To further familiarize yourself with Armenia and its history, take the opportunity to explore some of the country’s famous historic sites before you visit through the VR app called My Virtual Armenia.
Especially when you only have so much time on a trip, this will help you to narrow down what you want to see or determine what you want to focus most of your attention on. That way, you won’t feel like you missed anything major or didn’t have enough time to see all that you wanted to see.
Where to Visit and What to Do
The first stop on your list, or one of the first stops, should be touring Yerevan. While in the city, you’ll find Matenadaran, also known as the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, which has an incredible selection of Armenia manuscripts on science, art, and literature. Those interested in history should also visit the Armenian Genocide Museum (or Tsitstsernakaberd).
Additionally, walk around Republic Square and check out the fountains and sculptures, or head to the History Museum of Armenia, which is roughly a five-minute walk from the Square. Nearby there’s also the Missak Manouchian Park, Eduard Isabekyan Gallery Yerevan (an art gallery), and the Martiros Saryan House Museum. In the area generally, you’ll find plenty of art and history museums, pubs, and gift boutiques.
You’ll also find many free walking tours in Yerevan and throughout the country, which of course, is great for travelers on a strict budget. If you’d rather learn more about the country’s history while visiting and actually seeing the country, this is the way to do it.
Throughout the country, some of the most popular sights are the Swinging bridge of Khndzoresk, Lake Sevan, the Khor Virap church, the Temple of Garni, the Noravank monastery, and the Sevanavank monastery. For getting around all of the sights and cities, transportation is typically very cheap, whether you’re taking a train or taxi.
Besides visiting the major historical sites and touring the country, you can’t visit Armenia without sampling the local cuisine. The cuisine is similar to Mediterranean cuisine but with local herbs and flavors. They are particularly known for their fruits (like apricots and pomegranates) and pastries, and bread is also a major part of every meal. They also have incredible wine, beer, vodka, and cognac.
Of course, before you go, you’ll need to do more research than this on Armenia. But the above will help you in getting started. Armenia is a beautiful country with plenty to see and do. May you have safe travels and have fun!