Most excursions are arranged from the capital of the country – Yerevan . Tourists are offered a wide variety of routes covering different parts of Armenia. Yerevan is located in the center of the Ararat valley on the banks of the Hrazdan River at an altitude of 850 to 1300 m. According to legend, it was founded by Noah. However, the first mention of the ancient fortress of Erebuni in chronicles dates back to the 8th century BC. e. In those days, Erebuni was the capital of the powerful state of Urartu and a major trading center in Transcaucasia. In Yerevan, it is worth visiting the central square of the Republic, where you can see the monumental administrative buildings and the Museum Complex, which includes the Art Gallery of Armenia, the Historical Museum, the Museum of Literature and Art, the Museum of the Revolution and the Small Philharmonic Hall, one of the world’s largest book depositories Matenadaran with a collection of manuscripts dating back to the 5th-10th centuries AD, the Tsitsernakaberd memorial complex, built in memory of the victims of the Armenian genocide of 1915, “Fountain Boulevard”, where 2750 fountains were installed in 1968, symbolizing the age of the city, and the remains of the 16th century Yerevan fortress on Arin-Berd hill. In the 30s of the 20th century, many churches and mosques were destroyed in Yerevan, but some ancient religious buildings that date back to the 15th-18th centuries have survived to this day. Haghtanak Park, Summer Water Park, Botanical Garden, Zoo and Proshyan Street, where numerous barbecue houses and restaurants are located, are suitable for recreation in Yerevan.
According to Top-mba-universities, Armenia.Yerevan is surrounded by sights from all sides. From here you can go to the religious center of the country – Etchmiadzin with its monumental Cathedral (303), the first capital of Armenia and the oldest city of the state – Armavir, known since the 8th century BC. e., to other ancient capitals of the state – Artashat and Dvin, as well as to the ancient fortress of Garni (3rd century BC) and the monastery complex of Geghard (12-13th centuries).
In addition to the historical sights of the environs of Yerevan, the nearby resorts are world famous: the balneo -climatic Arzni and the ski Tsaghkadzor . The Arzni resort is located 20 km north of Yerevan in the gorge of the Hrazdan River at an altitude of 1250 m. Arzni is famous for its carbonic hydrocarbonate-chloride sodium mineral waters, which have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. The profile of local sanatoriums is the treatment of diseases of the cardiovascular system and the digestive system.
About 20 km north of Arzni, on the slopes of Mount Teghenis, at altitudes from 1900 to 2100 m, there is a modern ski resort Tsaghkadzor. The resort has grown on the basis of summer children’s camps, rest homes and the All-Union Olympic Base, which was built here in 1967. Resort Tsaghkadzor is year-round: tourists are always waiting for dozens of holiday homes, and from mid-November to mid-April, ski slopes begin to operate, which are suitable for skiers of any level of preparedness. In the vicinity of Tsaghkadzor there is a medieval religious center of Armenia – Kecharis monastery of the 11th century.
The surroundings of Yerevan can also boast of their natural attractions. First of all, this is the main peak of the country – the extinct volcano Aragats with a height of 4090 m, which is located in the northern part of the Aragotsotn region. While traveling on the slopes of the volcano you can see sheer cliffs, mountain valleys covered with alpine meadows, numerous rivers, waterfalls and lakes.
The nature protection zones of the environs of Yerevan are interesting. Southeast of the capital, on the border of the regions of Kotayk and Ararat, is the smallest of the reserves of Armenia – Erebuni. The reserve was established in 1981 on an area of 89 hectares to protect wild grain crops (mainly wheat and rye). In the Ararat region, in the spurs of the Geghama Range, at altitudes from 850 to 2300 m, the Khosrov Reserve is located.. According to legend, at the beginning of the 4th century, King Khosrov Kotak ordered the creation of a protected forest here for hunting animals and birds, which is now part of the Khosrov Reserve and is called the Khosrov Forest. In total, forest communities account for about 16% of the territory of the reserve (the total area of the reserve is 29,200 ha). Basically, communities of upland xerophytes are protected here.
In the north-west of Armenia, 115 km from Yerevan, in the Shirak region, the second largest city in the country is located – Gyumri . It has been known since the 2nd century BC. e., which makes it one of the most ancient cities of the state. In 1988 Gyumri was significantly destroyed as a result of the Spitak earthquake. Today, the city is almost rebuilt, but some of its sights have disappeared forever. 10 km northwest of Gyumri is the ancient monastery Marmashen (11th century), south of Gyumri near the border with Turkey are the ruins of the capital of Armenia during the reign of the Bagratids (10-11th century) – Ani, and the city of Anipemza, in which the remains of the basilica of the 5th century have been preserved. A little to the east, in the village of Harich, there is the monastery of Harichavank with the churches of Surb Grigor of the 7th century and Surb Astvatsatsin of the 13th century.
In the northern part of the country, in the Lori region, it is worth visiting Sanahin Monastery. You can get here from the regional center and the third largest city of the state – Vanadzor , which is located 120 km from Yerevan. In order to get to the Sanahin Monastery, you will have to drive from Vanadzor about 40 km north to the city of Alaverdi, from which a cable car has been laid to the village of Sanahin. The village of Sanahin, together with the monastery of the same name, is located near the canyon of the Debed River at an altitude of 1000 m. The time of the foundation of the monastery is not known, but already in the 10-11 centuries it was considered the center of education in Armenia. The Academy of Grigor Magistros Pahlavuni was located here, where prominent scientists of that time taught. In addition to the Sanahin Monastery in the vicinity of Vanadzor of interest are the Akhtala fortress and monastery (10-13 centuries), where ancient frescoes have been preserved, the temple of the Odzun village (6-7 centuries), the Loriberd fortress (10 century) and the city of Stepanavan.
The region of Tavush borders with Lori region in the east. Here, in a picturesque mountainous area covered with forests, in the valley of the Aghstev River, there is one of the most famous resort cities of Armenia – Dilijan . Dilijan is a mountain-climatic and balneological resort, offering tourists a healing mild mountain climate, clean air and mineral springs. The carbon dioxide-alkaline waters of Dilijan are similar in their properties to the waters of the resorts of Borjomi (Georgia) and Vichy (France). Sanatoriums in Dilijan mainly specialize in the treatment of lung diseases. Around Dilijan, on an area of 24 thousand hectares, the Dilijan Reserve is located, in which forest communities rare for Armenia are protected. Most of the territory of the reserve is located on the northern slopes of the Areguni Range, covered with deciduous forests, consisting mainly of beech, oak, hornbeam, ash, linden and maple. In addition, a relic yew grove has been preserved in the Akhnabad gorge, where trees over 300 years old and about 20 m high grow. Goshavank (12th century) and Makaravank (10th century).
From the city of Dilijan you can go to the “Pearl of Armenia” – Lake Sevan . From here, a tunnel was laid in the mountains to the city of Sevan, located near the northwestern shore of the lake. Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia (area – 1200 sq. km) and the largest source of fresh water in the entire Transcaucasus. The maximum depth of the lake is 86 m. It is believed that Lake Sevan was formed as a result of volcanic processes. The lake is surrounded by mountains with heights up to 3000 m and the national park of the same name. Sevan National Park Squareexceeds 100 thousand hectares. About 1,600 species of plants grow here, 20 species of mammals and about 180 species of birds, including migratory pelicans, flamingos, mute swans, screaming swans and cormorants. Valuable species of fish are bred in the lake for industrial fishing – Sevan trout “ishkhan”, pike perch, khramulya, barbel and whitefish. Many travel agencies arrange whole fishing tours here, however, it is worth remembering that it is impossible to fish in the lake without a license.
In addition to its unique nature, Sevan is famous for its historical monuments, because its surroundings have been inhabited since ancient times: these places were first mentioned in chronicles under the 2nd millennium BC. In order to “cover” all the sights of Sevan, you will have to drive at least 200 km, and you can travel both by car, motorcycle or bicycle along the ring highway, and on the lake itself in boats. All routes start from the tourist center of the lake – the city of Sevan . In the vicinity of the city of Sevan, on a small peninsula, stands the Sevan Monastery. In ancient times, the peninsula was a small island, the remoteness of which attracted several monks in the 8th century. In Armenian, the name of the monastery means “Black Monastery”, since all the local buildings are made of volcanic tuff. From other historical monuments around Lake Sevan It is worth highlighting the 9th century Airivank church and such ancient cities as the largest settlement of the Sevan basin – Gavar with the ruins of a fortress from the time of the state of Urartu, Lchashen, Noratus, Makenis, Vardenis and Martuni.
From the city of Martuni, a highway begins through the Selim Pass, which leads further south to the mountainous region of Vayots Dzor. This route has been an important trade route for many centuries, along which caravans carried goods to the West. The Selim caravanserai, built in the 14th century for travelers to rest, has survived to this day in the Selim Pass.
In general, the southeastern region of the country, which includes the regions of Vayots Dzor and Syunik, is suitable for those who love mountain landscapes. The local mountain ranges are dotted with deep gorges, through which turbulent rivers flow, forming waterfalls, and colorful alpine meadows stretch in the mountain valleys.
The administrative center of the Vayots Dzor region is the city of Yeghegnadzor. It is located 122 km southeast of Yerevan. In Yeghegnadzor, the single-span Agarakadzor bridge is interesting, which was built on the ancient caravan route across the Arpa River in the 13th century. From Yeghegnadzor, you can go northeast to the village of Vernashen. In the rural basilica of Surb Hakob (12th century) there is a small museum dedicated to the most famous center of education in Transcaucasia from the Middle Ages – Gladzor University. Gladzor University was founded at the end of the 13th century in the Tanaat Monastery located here. The most famous scientists of that era taught at the University. Unfortunately, only the remains of the foundation have survived from Gladzor University to this day. A few kilometers north of Vernashen are the Spitakavor monastery of the 13th century and the ruins of the Proshaberd fortress (13th century).
12 km southwest of Yeghegnadzor, it is worth visiting the village of Areni, where the Armenian wine variety of the same name is produced. Not far from here in the Noravank gorge stands the Noravank monastery complex.. It was founded in 1205 by Bishop Hovhannes. The monastery complex includes the two-storey church of St. Astvatsatsin (1339), the church of St. Karapet (1227) and the chapel of St. Grigor (1275).
In the north-eastern part of the Vayots Dzor region, in the upper reaches of the Arpa River, in the spurs of the Zangezur Range at an altitude of more than 2000 m, there is a balneological and climatic high-mountain resort Jermuk . The first information about the healing springs of Jermuk dates back to the 1st century BC. In total, there are about 40 mineral water springs in the resort, which are similar in composition to the waters of Karlovy Vary.. Jermuk waters are high-temperature (+57..+64 degrees) with a high content of carbon dioxide, bicarbonate, sulfate, chlorine, sodium, potassium, calcium, fluorine, bromine and magnesium. They are used to treat diseases of the digestive system, liver, nervous system, locomotor system, gynecological diseases and metabolic disorders.
The Syunik region is almost completely occupied by the Zangezur Range and is known for its rocky formations and numerous caves, in which entire cities were built in ancient times. The administrative center of the region is the city of Goris , which is located in the valley of the Vararak River. Goris is surrounded by rocky ridges, which are called Goris Stone Forest. Goris stone forest- one of the few places on earth where you can see such remnants. You can look at this miracle of nature from the observation deck, which is located at the entrance to Goris. Another no less famous attraction of Goris is the cave settlements of Bartsravane, Keres, Khndzoresk and Shinuayre. The settlements were carved into the rock foundations and consisted of several tiers.
To the west of Goris, in the valley of the Vorotan River, is the city of Sisian, where the Sisavan church of the 7th century with fragments of ancient murals has been preserved. Not far from Sisian is the Shaki waterfall, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Armenia. Also from Goris you can go to the south of the region to a wonderful monument of ancient architecture – Tatev Monastery. The monastery was founded in the 9th century on the site of an ancient sanctuary and had powerful fortifications, as it was located on the borders of the Syunik principality. In addition, the Inter-Republican Reserve Karagelsky (Sevlich) is located in the vicinity of Goris, which was organized in 1987 with the aim of protecting the natural complex of the high-mountain lake Karagel (Sevlich). Recently, from Goris, you can go along the modern highway to the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which is not located on the territory of Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh has been inhabited by Armenians since ancient times, and therefore its main attractions, as well as in Armenia, are numerous medieval Christian monasteries and fortresses.
In the south of the Syunik region, on an area of 10,000 hectares, on the northern slopes of the Meghri Range, at an altitude of 700 to 2400 m, the Shikahogh Reserve is located. In the reserve, areas of mountain oak-hornbeam forests with the rarest relic ferns are protected. There is also a yew grove and the largest plane tree grove in Transcaucasia – the Tsavskaya plane tree grove with an area of 120 hectares, the age of which trees reaches 300 years.