Armenia — Attractions
Armenia’s main attractions are undoubtedly linked to the country’s history and heritage. Armenia’s Catholic roots are evident in the cathedrals and monasteries, most notably the Echmisdzin Cathedral in Ejmistsin Town. There is also a great deal of culture to be absorbed, with several noteworthy galleries displaying the best of Armenian art, both past and present, like the Sergei Paradjanov Museum and the National Art Gallery. Many afternoons can also be spent exploring ancient Armenian architecture in the form of ruins and quaint villages.
Echmisdzin Town is the heart of Catholicism with the epicenter in the Echmisdzin Cathedral. Armenians are proud of the fact that their country was the first to adopt Christianity and this cathedral, built in 301 AD is a perfect way for travelers to learn more about their religious past. The building itself is also architecturally interesting with a detailed bell tower guarding the entrance and ornate lamps, thrones, frescoes and an altar which was built over an early pagan fire worshipping pit in the interior.
Address: Ejmistsin Town, Armavir Marz
Sergei Paradjanov Museum
Ahead of his time, Sergei Paradjanov was an eccentric and avant-garde artist and film director. His work is reflected in the house museum in Yerevan where his engaging pieces are on display for the public to appreciate. From collages and sketches to unique sculptures and film design, Paradjanov’s work is simply mesmerizing. Visitors need not be high culture experts to appreciate the museum as the art is approachable and for everyone. There is humor and a sharp wit underlying each creation that is bound to resonate with guests.
Address: 15/16 Dzorgyugh Poghots, Yerevan
The Matenadaran is Armenia’s collection of ancient manuscripts. The early Armenian archive is home to the world’s most detailed and comprehensive collection of books covering a wide range of topics. Visitors will find everything from ancient philosophy and medicine to cosmography and art history. Built in the 5th century, the Matenadaran looks after over 17,000 manuscripts and is well worth a visit.
Address: 53 Mesrop Mashtots Poghota, Yerevan
The Geghard Monastery in Goght village is one of the most breathtaking sights in Armenia. What was once an occupied monastery in the fourth century still boasts the most intricate and superb ancient carvings. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the monastery is nestled within a mountain range and many of the chambers are actually part of the mountain itself. Elevated 300 m above the Azat River, the Geghard provides not only a special opportunity to appreciate early Armenian architecture, but also stunning views of the area below.
Address: Goght village, Kotayk Marz
This giant stone stairway is one of the most recognizable sights in the country. The flight of stairs leads to the monument which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the established Soviet Armenia, but also links Kentron (an area in Yerevan) with the neighborhood. Many travelers have commented how nice an area this is for a simple cup of coffee or a quiet moment of contemplation. Climbing the stairs to the top may seem like a mammoth task, but the clear views of Yerevan and Mount Ararat are worth it.
Address: Opera Square Area, Yerevan
Near the colossal Cascade is the large, and partially overgrown, Haghtanak Park. The area is largely forested and has several attractions for both young and old. A small amusement park is a hit with the kids, the artificial lake is great for afternoon strolls and picnics, and the museum is a great way to learn about the role of Soviet Armenia in WWII. Beautiful views of the surrounding Yerevan area are also afforded at the park.
Address: Opera Square Area, Yerevan
A natural crossing at the bottom of the Vorotan Canyon, Satan’s Bridge is steeped in legend and nestled in natural beauty. Folklore has it that the bridge magically appeared when villagers trying to flee could not make it across the wild river. They were saved after a rock fell and created the massive overpass. Whatever the story may be, Satan’s Bridge is an interesting site and the spring-fed pools are wonderful for a swim. For the more adventurous, there is a rope ladder which leads from the river to the stunning limestone caves below. This is a dangerous little trip, though, so caution should be exercised.
Address: Vorotan Canyon, Tatev, Southern Armenia