I wrote this post with a big help from google about its history because most of the places we visited in Armenia are listed as UNESCO World Heritage site and I don’t want to write something neglected about this beautiful country which may lead to misrepresentation. 1. Yerevan
The capital of Armenia.
Yerevan, is marked by grand Soviet-era architecture. The basalt Matenadaran library, housing thousands of ancient Greek and Armenian manuscripts, dominates its main avenue.
Republic Square is the city’s core, with musical water fountains and colonnaded government buildings. The 1920s History Museum of Armenia on the square’s eastern side contains archaeological objects like a circa-3500-B.C. leather shoe.
Yerevan was named the 2012 World Book Capital by UNESCO. Yerevan is an associate member of Eurocities.
2. Armenian Taste
First thing we did is food hunting, because we got some hungry tummy from our short travel. Definitely food in Armenia is the best! as they say food in Armenians is a serious matter for them.
From fast food to restaurant so far all we’ve tasted are two thumbs up. We tried kfc over & over during our stay and the chicken taste so great me & my bff finished a whole bucket, I don’t know if they have special rituals or marination to their chicken but for real…
They were so good! We also tried Paulaner Teryan restaurant, its a beer house actually and I regret I didn’t taste their beer. All the food we ordered were fantastic I’m running out of words to describe it, in fact we finished them all with empty plates. We tried pork bbq, pasta, rice, fries & ice cream.
9:00am is our call time for the driver to pick us up for our day tour, it’s a different guy from the one who picked us up in the airport.
He is wearing a blue terno track suit and doesn’t speak english at all so the whole trip has been quite difficult to us due to miscommunication.
It was funny and challenging actually because we told him we want to stop by in a breakfast restaurant or store to buy some food so we can eat breakfast while traveling to lessen the time consumption, since he doesn’t know english we use the universal language to understand each other… The sign language & warm smile.
We just passed kfc, coffee shop & etc., he then stop in a big supermarket and signaled us to go down and buy the things we want, i think he thought we want to do grocery shopping because he dropped us in a supermarket.
We tour around and found no ready made breakfast meals, i went to bread section but all displayed goods were sweet desserts & cakes. We bought bottled waters & chocolates instead.
Good thing there was a coffee vendo machine, we tried it and their coffee is not your regular 3in1 … Its aroma smells really great & it tasted really good. Too good to be true for a coffee in vendo.
We reached the site in a good sunshine weather, around 30-45mins. travel period. Garni temple is slightly different from other monasteries & church visits because upon entering the gate you need to pay for an entry fee. Kids fee is lesser than regular adult fee or around 1,000 dram I forgot exactly how much.
Garni is a major village in one of the provinces of Armenia, it has an ancient history and best known for the Hellenistic Garni Temple the only Pagan temple. According to some scholars it was not a temple but a tomb and thus survived the universal destruction of pagan structures. Reconstructed in the 1970s, it is the only known Greco-Roman colonnaded temple in Armenia. It is perhaps the best-known structure and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia.4. Geghard Monastery
We visited Garni & Geghard in one trip because Garni just nearby further down.
The monastery is covered by think snow when we arrived, yet the beauty of this historical place still left us in undeniable awe. In a few moments after we get back to ourselves we went inside, light up candles & pray.
Geghard meaning Spear is a medieval monastery in the Kotayk province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs.As I’ve mentioned earlier Geghard is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While the main chapel was built in 1215, the monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. The monastery had thus been originally named Ayrivank, meaning “the Monastery of the Cave”.
The name commonly used for the monastery today, Geghard, or more fully Geghardavank, meaning “the Monastery of the Spear”, originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Echmiadzin treasury.
Our trip for this day has ended… We head back to the hotel, bought lunch, rest for a bit, and change clothes. 5. Republic Square
It’s just few minutes walk from Elyseum Gallery Hotel to Republic square, the large central town square & heart of they Yerevan City. It was known as Lenin square, the statue of the Sovietleader Vladimir Lenin was erected in the southwestern forehead of the square in 1940 and dismantlement in 1990, prior to the independence of Armenia. It is now replaced with a large TV monitor.
The oval shaped square has a stone pattern in the centre, meant to look like a traditional Armenian rug from above. The dancing water fountains are located at the northeastern forehead of the square in front of the National Gallery. The buildings around the square are made of rose and white Armenian tufa stones, fortified on a basalt-made ground anchor. The clock of the Government building tower was made in Moscow and transferred to Yerevan in July 1941. The diameter of the clock is 4 meters, the length of the big hand is 188 cm, while the small hand is 170 cm.
The Republic Square is the place where ceremonies and meetings are held with the most notable one is the yearly military show of the Independence Day. The square is best viewed both day & night. 6. Souvenirs
We bought some Armenian souvenirs to bring back home like ref magnets, key chains & mug. We went to a place who looks like a hoarding place for bargain products just near republic square area.
We supposed to go to Zchakadzor, Armenia’s place for skii resort but didn’t pursue it. We asked the receptionists of the hotel the travel time for Zchadzor trip but informed us it is a bit far travel from our place.
We had changed our plans in a very last minute because we realized we might cram out to reach the airport on time for our return in Dubai, good thing we got the same driver to pick & drop us again for our last day in Yerevan, though he cannot speak/understand english..
We know we are safe with him and to in fair, he always acknowledged our requests & suggestions during trip without charge. Our priority/goal is just to see snow we just indulged ourselves in Yerevan’s nearby snow areas like parks, garden & churches. We got lucky the weather in Armenia is still winter. We then rerouted our tour to Etchmiadzin instead.8. Etchmiadzin
Woke up early and packed our belongings, our driver’s call time is again set at 9:00am with the same driver wearing a blue terno track suit once more hehe he is really a nice guy though. We settled all our payments since day one so everything were cleared out in the hotel, we just said our goodbyes to the staff of Elyseum Gallery Hotel for being so nice to us during our stay.
We will go to Etchmiadzin first before heading to our final trip destination, Zvartnots airport. Arrow, the name of the driver (per my understanding when we asked him what is his name) stopped by a moment in one of the many churches we passed by and told us to get in and have a look, since he can’t say it clearly we assumed it was the great Etchmiadzin Cathedral already. When we get back to the car he started the engine and drove, when we reached the site he smiled warmly at us and said a words with conviction “Etchmiadzin, Etchmiadzin… Go! Go!…. Parking, ok?!” At last we hear him speak 😉 amazed of the largeness of site, and the rest is photo taking.
Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, located in the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia. According to scholars it was the first cathedral(but not the first church) built in ancient Armenia, and is considered the oldest cathedral in the world. Along with several important early medieval churches located nearby, the cathedral was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.
People of Armenia were all good looking and fair, not everyone can speak english but all the staff in the hotel we stayed in speaks very well at it.
They were all nice, warm & welcoming, rest assured you will think to come back and ponder.
They are silent and observant most of the time, and fascinated with kids.
I can say during our stay in Armenia they are harmless people.
Internet say the best time to visit Yerevan is summer, when you can take full advantage of every single thing Yerevan has to offer, from roaming to shopping and sightseeing.
Visiting Yerevan in fall would be a great option for people who love mild weather, when there is little sun, but the weather is not cold. But I love winter, Yerevan is never full of tourists in this period and sidewalk is all covered with snow.
I love winter and our trip became perfect because of the snow, the snow veil suits Yerevan as much as the wedding veils suit the brides on their wedding day.
Snow is one of my bucket-list and winter in Armenia has snow everywhere, anywhere and we loved it!
It’s our first time to experience snow that is why I am so happy to feel and enjoy it.