Discover this little-explored Eurasian nation, which features dramatic canyons, medieval monasteries and a relaxed capital with a thriving café culture.
Relics of several thousand years of civilization lie in mountainous terrain in the Eurasian country of Armenia. After rule by several empires, in the fourth century Armenia became one of the first nations to adopt Christianity. Here you’ll find fortresses from early times and some of the world’s oldest monasteries. Discover ancient history and traverse the beautiful landscape, which lies at an average elevation of over 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) above sea level.
Yerevan, Armenia’s capital and largest city, offers cultural and historical attractions. Civilization has existed on the site of Yerevan since the eighth century B.C. Look for a surviving piece of the city’s origins at the excavated fortress of Erebuni on a southeastern hill. Learn about the region’s history at the History Museum of Armenia on the central Republic Square. See a testament to Armenia’s more recent history with the 144-foot (44-meter) stele of Tsitsernakaberd, a memorial to the Armenian genocide.
Explore the wider Yerevan region to see two of Armenia’s most magnificent religious structures. Carved into the eastern rocky hills is the 12th-century Geghard Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. South of Yerevan, the 17th-century Khor Virap stands on a hill before Mount Ararat, a Turkish mountain and the region’s tallest peak.
Head to eastern Armenia and Lake Sevan to appreciate its natural beauty. On the lake’s northwest bank is a large peninsula featuring the tiny Sevanavank monastery and panoramic views of the southern Caucasus Mountains across the water. Beaches on the peninsula’s south side are popular summer destinations. Head into the mountains to the forested town of Dilijan. The 13th-century Haghartsin Monastery stands proudly among the peaks.
Reach Armenia by plane via Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport. Armenia can be difficult to access by land, since Turkey and Azerbaijan have at times blockaded their borders with the country. If you’re driving, enter Armenia from Georgia through the beautiful Debed Canyon. See two nearby ancient monasteries, Haghpat and Sanahin, as your first views of the country’s historic beauty.