Indelibly linked to the enduring history of Armenia, the stories of Yerevan go back to the victories of Alexander the Great, born from the decline of the Achaemenid Empire in 331 BC, founding the Kingdom of Armenia. Traded amongst the Seljuks, Turks, Russians and more, today Yerevan is the largest city and capital of Armenia. As well as being home to some of the nation’s most impressive museums — including the National Gallery of Armenia, History Museum of Armenia, the Cafesjian Museum of Art, and the Matenadaran library of ancient manuscripts — Yerevan also includes the Erebuni Fortress built by Urartian King Argishti more than 2,700 years ago. The most cosmopolitan city in Armenia, travelers here will find the nation’s finest food and hotels, as well as a burgeoning art scene.
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This Greco-Roman colonnaded building was built in the first century AD, prior to Armenia’s conversion to Christianity, and is the only surviving pagan temple in the country. Garni temple is less than an hour outside of Yerevan.
Etchmiadzin & Zvartnots Cathedral
Just outside of Yerevan is the small city of Etchmiadzin, also known as Vagharshapat, the spiritual capital of the country. It is home to some of the most important churches and cathedrals in the country, which have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. The focal point in town is the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin, one of the oldest churches in the world. The ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral is notable as a masterpiece constructed in the Middle Ages.
Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial
This official memorial complex is dedicated to the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian genocide. Each year on April 24th, thousands of Armenians gather at the memorial to commemorate Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Visitors can browse through the museum, walk along the memorial wall, and pay respects at the monument.
This central town square sprawls across 3.5 hectares and is ringed by grand government buildings and museums made of pink tufa stone, a trademark of Armenian architecture.
Get a real taste of local life at the Gum Market, literally. As you make your way through the vibrant market, sample homemade treats such as dried and candied fruits and nuts, as well as fresh produce, baked goods, and mountains of homemade pickles.
Ararat Brandy Factory Tour
The Armenian tradition of distilling brandy is one of the oldest in the world. At Ararat Brandy Factory, take a tour around the facilities and sample the country’s most famous brand.
An iconic landmark in Yerevan, the Cascade is a giant limestone stairway that connects the downtown areas and the upper residential areas. The flight of stairs is bedecked with fountains and sculptures, and houses art museums, halls, cafes and escalators within the interior. At the foot of the staircase is a public space that is often used for jazz concerts, traditional Armenian dancing master classes, and other cultural events and performances.
Saint Gregory, The Illuminator Cathedral
The ancient kingdom of Armenia was the first country to become Christian, and it recognizes St. Gregory as its apostle. This grand cathedral is dedicated to the 1700th anniversary of the country’s adoption of Christianity. Construction began in 1997 and was completed in 2001. Composed of three churches, it is the largest cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the world and is visible from many areas of Yerevan.
This massive fortress on a hill in the center of the capital is one of the richest depositories of manuscripts and books in the world. In its collection are over 100,000 manuscripts and documents, including obscure and ancient texts from the early medieval ages.
Khor Virap Monastery
This monastery sits in the picturesque Ararat Plains with the majestic snowcapped peaks of Mount Ararat in its background. It originally was a castle with a royal dungeon. According to legend, Gregory was imprisoned here in a pit for thirteen years for practicing Christianity. When the king fell ill, Gregory was able to cure him. In turn, the king converted himself and the country to Christianity, making Armenia the first official Christian country in the world, and Gregory became the revered Gregory the Illuminator.
Located just an hour from Yerevan, this incredible ancient monastery has been around since before the 4th century and was partly carved out of a mountain. It began as a small cave chapel, which Gregory declared to have held a sacred spring. From there the complex grew, becoming more ornate. Today visitors can explore the complex, and drink from the spring of holy water.
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Armenia Goes Well With
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With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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