Armenia or officially the Republic of Armenia is a country on the Southeast Europe. It occupies the north-eastern part of the Armenian Highland and Southwest Asia. It borders Azerbaijan, not recognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Georgia, Iran and Turkey. The capital of Armenia is Yerevan.
The country has a mountain continental climate. The summer in Armenia hot and dry and winter is severe. The climate in the mountain part of the country is more severe. In the foothills, the average summer temperature is +24 - +26°C and in the mountains the temperature is +12 - +22°C. Winter temperature is +5°C and in the mountains the temperature can reach -10°C. The greatest annual precipitation is in late spring and early summer. The most comfortable period for spending holidays in Armenia is the middle of spring and autumn.
The local population are the Armenians. Around 99% of Armenian population go to the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Armenian unique nature attracts many tourists. Those who love eco-tourism and country holidays can visit the lake Sevan and enjoy the amazing view of the Shaki and Kasakh waterfalls.
In winter, the lovers of skiing come to Armenia. The most popular ski resort is Tsaghkadzor which is 40 km from Yerevan.
The tourists choose almost all mountains in Armenia for mountain climbing and mountain hiking but the most popular routes are at or near Ararat.
The mountain climate is beneficial for the health and for this reason Armenia is traditionally a place for wellness tourism. Resorts in Aghveran offer everything you need to promote health and well-being. Hot springs in Jermuk will be beneficial or your health.
In Armenia, there are a lot of ancient architectural monuments. In the city of Alaverdi, the tourists can see such UNESCO sites as the Haghpat Monastery. Near Armavir, there are old churches and buildings. The Monastery Khor Virap offers an amazing view of the Mount Ararat.
The most convenient way to go to Armenia is by plane. It is truth for both tourists from CIS and European countries. Russian tourists can travel with Aeroflot, Transaero and Sibir.
Air Armenia offers flights from Moscow, Krasnodar, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi and St. Petersburg.
Airlines from Belarus and Ukraine have flights between Armenia and CIS countries. The United Arab Emirates, Israel and airlines of some other European countries also offer flights to Armenia.
We would recommend the Russians against traveling to Armenia by train because a direct railway communication between the countries is not restored yet. Armenia has a railway communication only with Georgia so far. It will take you about 4 hours to reach Armenia including all stops.
You can go to Armenia by bus from Vladikavkaz and Pyatigorsk. A transit trip with a stop in Georgia will take you about 24 hours (the Russians are allowed to travel this way to Armenia).
You can travel to Armenia by car through Georgia to the Armenian border and you will have to pay a transportation tax for your car when entering and leaving the country.
The Russians and CIS citizens can travel to Armenia without a visa. All you need is a valid international passport. If your passport is expected to expire in less than 90 days, you may face some problems with entering the country.
Your travel on the territory of Armenia is not restricted and the citizens of Russia and CIS do not need any registration while staying in Armenia.
The tourists from the EU countries also do not need a visa to travel to Armenia but the people from Canada, Australia and the USA have to apply for a visa.
According to the current customs legislation, the tourists can bring foreign currency in any amount. The cash should be declared if the sum is over 2.000 US dollars. When crossing the border, you should declare all your money. It is prohibited to export and import Armenian drams (AMD).
The tourists traveling to Armenia do not need to pay the fee for personal belongings if their total cost is not more that 345 US dollars. The tourists can bring alcohol and cigarettes.
Antiquities, jewelry and manuscripts having historic and literary value cannot be brought without permission of authoritative bodies.
Armenian cuisine has a history of thousands of years. National Armenian dishes cannot be imagined without herbs, greens and spices. The main ingredients of the authentic Armenian cuisine are meat, cheese, vegetables and world famous lavash.
If you happen to be in this amazing country, you cannot but try truly Armenian shashliks such as Khorovats (large pieces of meat), Gharsi khorovats (meat cooked over an open fire) and Khazani (meat prepared in a special casserole). Armenian Basturma (air-dried raw beef) and Sujukh are amazingly delicious. Staying in Armenia, take the advantage of trying Tolma and if you are a vegetarian, choose Pasus Tolma without meat. We are sure you will enjoy substantial pilaf with pomegranate seeds Nrov Plav and Chrov Plaw with dried fruits and nuts. Ishkhan khorovats is one of the most popular fish dishes with grilled trout skewers with tomatoes. The chefs also like to cook blue crabs from Sevan.
Do not miss a chance to try a classical Armenian soup Khash. The tourists often order Poch (broth made of cow tails), Krchik (wheat soup) and fruit soup Chirapour.
It is impossible to imagine Armenian cuisine without cheese. In Armenia, they often add herbs and spices to their cheese. For breakfast, you will be served cheese Matzoon.
Traditional Armenian lavash is still cooked in special clay ovens in accordance with the old recipe. The tourists are also impressed by Armenian soft and puffy bread Matnakash.
Those who have a sweet tooth can treat themselves to a traditional sweet pastry Gata, almond cookies Nshablit, baklava, Armenian walnuts in syrup, sweet Sujukh and candied fruits. Armenia is a country of peaches. In Italy, peaches are called Armenian apples and in Greece – Armenian plums. The Armenians make a jam from peach blossoms and from the fruits they make delicate fruit jelly.
Armenian wines deserve particular attention. The most popular alcoholic drink in Armenia is cognac which is internationally recognized. In the Ararat Plain, they grow cognac grapes to produce unforgettable Armenian brandy Ani, Armenia and Hobelianakan. Armenian mulberry vodka has a unique taste and a medicinal effect. It is commercially produced or homemade. As for non-alcoholic drinks, the tourists will be offered Tarkhun, a drink flavored with tarragon.
The Armenian drum (AMD) is the official currency in the country.
You can exchange the currency in the airport, at banks, in exchange offices and hotels. Some restaurants accept Euros and US dollars.
The ATMs are not very spread even in the capital of the country.
Large international hotels and restaurants accept traveler's checks and credit cards. We recommend having traveler's checks in US dollars.
The system tax-free is available in Armenia, so keep the receipts to reimburse VAT. The tax-free system has some restrictions:
- the minimal sum of a purchase in one store should be, at least, 100.000 drums;
- the cost of drugs, cigarettes and transportation costs is not reimbursed;
- items of cultural value are not reimbursed.
Armenia is one of the safest countries in the Southeastern Europe. The tourists can take cash with them without a fear of being robbed. You can feel safe and relaxed in Armenia even at night.
Details of interest
Armenian peoples preserved its centuries national, religious and cultural traditions. The Armenians respect and value their families and friends. Mutual support between the neighbors is a common thing here. And Armenian hospitality is truly legendary.
Sightseeing in Armenia
Armenia is rich in natural, historical and architectural monuments under UNESCO protection. The first UNESCO site is Haghpat Monastery in the city of Alaverdi which was founded in the 10th century and for three centuries it served as the spiritual center of Armenian culture. Sanahin Monastery is a must-see for all the tourists. Near Armavir, there are two sites included in the UNESCO World heritage List. They are the Church of St. Hripsime and the Church of St. Gayane.
20 km from Yerevan, in the city of Etchmiadzin or Vagharshapat, the tourists can see Etchmiadzin Cathedral which is the main cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church. This “Holy City” is spiritual, cultural and religious center of the Armenians. The complex of one of the Cathedrals consists of the house of Catholicos. Hundreds of thousands of tourists come here to tribute to the memory of John the Baptist, St, Stephen, apostles Bartholomew, Jude, Thomas and Andrew. In the Cathedral, there are parts of the True Cross, the crown of thorns and the spear which pierced Jesus.
Archaeological Site of Zvartnots is a wonderful example of Early Medieval period in Armenia. Being in Armenia, visit the Monastery of Geghardich is situated in the Upper Azat Valley and which is also under the UNESCO protection.
Include in your traveling plan the trip to the Tatev Monastery built in the 9th century. There is the world longest cable way leading to the Monastery and the cable way is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.
The Armenian Genocide memorial complex Tsitsernakaberd is built on the hill on the Hrazdan River. The Armenian Genocide Museum is in the list of 9 museums everyone should visit.
The market Vernisazh in Yerevan is the best place to choose gifts. You will find wooden figurines, lace napkins, pictures with Armenian landscapes and amazing Armenian carpets. In the shop Tufenkian carpets, you can buy an exclusive handmade carpet.
The best souvenir for men is cognac, of course. The brand store Ararat offers a great variety of this drink.
The mall Tashir is an ideal place for shopping with children because there is a playing area.
We also recommend such malls as Dalma Garden Mall and Yerevan Mall where you can buy gifts and entertain yourself.