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Itinerary - Armenia - 5 days (2 days in Yerevan + 3 days around)

This is a short 5-day route in Armenia.

We stayed at the Central hotel, it was just perfect! Huge rooms, a quiet street in 300-hundred-meters from the central square, a wonderful breakfast and very sparing prices.

Day 1 - Yerevan

Martiros Saryan House Museum

The Saryan House Museum is a museum built during the artist's lifetime, next to his dwelling and workshop. After his death, the house with the workshop became part of the museum.
On the upper floors of the museum exhibited paintings 1898 - 1970's, and on the first - drawings. In total, the museum stores up to 170 items. Now the museum, in addition to the presentation of the main exposition, actively organizes exhibitions around the world.

The Blue Mosque in Yerevan

In 1766, the Turkic khan of the Erivan khanate Huseynali Khan Qajar, the sardar (governor) of the city of Yerevan, ordered for 7 thousand square meters. (symbol of the Armenian-Iranian friendship), which today is the only Muslim council in the country, operating in the capital of Armenia, and the largest in the Caucasus. In the past, the mosque was part of the eight major functioning mosques in the Erivan Khanate. It was built with four minarets, but at different times three destroyed, only one and three domes survived to this day.

 "Blue" or "Geo-jami" ("geo" - "blue", Turkic), it is called because of the facing of the dome of the central mosque. In the southeastern part of the Blue Mosque there is a 24-meter-long minaret and 28 pavilions, in the northern part there is a library that hosts lessons in Persian, a small exhibition hall, in the south - the main hall and dome. Decorative decoration of the walls of the minaret and the dome was their decoration with faience tiles with majolica.

In the mosque there is a small cozy courtyard with a large mulberry tree, under which the genius Armenian poet Egishe Charentsu drank tea, often looking here.

The Blue Mosque is a small charming oasis in the center of Yerevan, a wonderful place to relax or to hide from the scorching sun, with apricot trees and pink flower beds.

City market in Republic Square in Yerevan

The city market located on the Republic Square of Yerevan is its main attraction, which every tourist must visit. The Republic Square is the main square of Yerevan, where foreigners and locals like to stroll. In the summer, small fountains work here, "dancing" for national music, and in winter in the middle of the square the main tree of the city is established.
It is worth noting that the above-mentioned market or bazaar on the territory of the square there. The market is called a number of supermarkets and shops surrounding the Republic Square. Here you can buy memorable gifts, as well as order delicious Armenian dishes at national restaurants nearby.

Flea market "Vernissage" in Yerevan

Flea market "Vernissage" in Yerevan is considered the best place in the city, where you can buy small exclusive items as a gift or for decorating your home decor. Many things sold here are considered quite expensive, so many art historians and jewelers come here to buy something unique. The flea market appeared in Yerevan in the 80s.

The market has a length of about 600 meters, located between the streets of Aram and Buzand. Most of the things exhibited here for sale have an artistic bias. Tourists will be able to buy paintings made in pencil, oil and watercolor, as well as small figurines and handicrafts. Here you can buy collections of stamps and old coins, books, carpets, ornaments and even pets.

The market should be visited as a museum. Among the consumer goods there are really unique highly artistic things, especially jewelry. Souvenirs should be bought only there, much cheaper than in other places. They love rubles. Very decently organized. The people are friendly and not intrusive. I bought melchior spoons, forks and knives like my mother's. There are German and Soviet porcelain, luduk, carpets, uniquely beautiful chess, etc. It works all the days of the week in a truncated format, and on Saturday and Sunday its dimensions are staggering.

Gold market in Yerevan

The gold market in Yerevan offers tourists a huge selection of gold products at affordable prices. You can trade in the market.

Armenian gold has a specific yellowness and is considered cleaner than in Europe. The quality of the local gold is excellent, and the prices are lower than in Russia.

Brandy factory NOY in Yerevan

"NOY" cognac factory in Yerevan is considered the best factory of local production of strong alcoholic beverages in Armenia. The plant begins its history from 1877, when its main building was built. Since 1953 the cognac factory "NOY" has been located in the building.

Here you can not only buy elite cognac products as a gift, but also taste the most famous and most expensive types of cognac for free. During the excursion visitors will be told about the history of the plant, storage of the best Armenian cognac. The excursion takes place in the cellars of the brandy factory, where you can take pictures with the oldest barrels of cognac, and also feel the wonderful smell of aged drinks.

"NOY" is located in the Erivan fortress built in the XVI century. Persian Farad Pasha. In those days, the fortress was the cultural and everyday center of the Persian khans. In 1828 the Erivansky Khanate left the Russian Empire as a result of the Russo-Persian war. It is interesting that Russian officers staged one of the first performances of the play "Woe from Wit", at which personally Griboyedov was present.

Here, in addition to the containers storing wine, you can see and touch what has remained since the times of the Erivan Fortress - part of the wall. By the way, since the XVI century. survived not only the wall - you will be led into the underground tunnels of the fortress, which were later used for transporting grapes.

Singing fountains of Yerevan

About half a century ago, a group of enthusiastic talented Armenian engineers led by Dr. Abram Abrahamyan created this miracle - the first in the USSR dancing-singing color and music fountains. Arranged in front of the building of the Historical Museum of Armenia and the Picture Gallery, they immediately merged into the architecture of the main square of the city. Tourists from all over the world began to come here to admire the magical, unusual and beautiful views of the fountains.

Thanks to the French specialists who restored and modernized several years ago the magnificent landmark of Yerevan, beloved by city dwellers and guests of the capital, the fountains became even more modern and bright.

They delight the eyes and ears of people who come to them every evening for a whole summer (from late May to October).

Here you can hear periodically updated beautiful music - world classical masterpieces, national, rock and pop motifs of the 20th and 21st centuries, accompanying the amazing combination of dance of water and light effects. The performance invariably ends with the song of Charles Aznavour "Eternal Love".

Singing Yerevan fountains are a fascinating, inspiring, very romantic and never boring sight! You can stand endlessly, holding your breath, and enjoying what you see, and nobody wants to leave this magnetically acting place. It's not for nothing that for many Yerevan residents and visitors to the capital, their visit is a pleasant Yerevan tradition. Whoever sees the riot of water, music and light of singing fountains on Freedom Square of Yerevan once, will never forget this!

Day 2 - Echmiadzin - Khor Virap - Areni-Noravank

Etchmiadzin cathedral

The story says that in the previous centuries the pagan temple was located in the place of the most revered Armenian temple. In the 4th century AD e. there was erected a cathedral, over time overgrown with economic, residential and religious buildings. The resulting monastic complex attracted the attention of the Catholicos of all Armenians, who wished to transfer his residence to its territory, where it is still today.

The path to the Etchmiadzin cathedral runs past skilfully carved wooden sculptures, khachkars of various shapes and sizes and a holy spring with cool water, where weary travelers can refresh themselves after a long journey.

In previous centuries, the walls of the cathedral were covered with colorful murals: famous artists, father and son Ovnatanyan, painted the church with scenes from the Holy Scripture and images of 120 specially revered by the church of the saints. Unfortunately, part of the painting is now lost.

In the 20th century, the temple underwent careful restoration: the surviving fragments of the wall paintings were renovated, arches and columns were reinforced, a massive temple dome covered with a layer of lead.

Side to the temple are adjacent buildings for the placement of museum exhibits: paintings by well-known artists of the 20th century (Saryan, Kochar, Khanjyan), embroidered with gold and silver garments, precious stones trimmed with staffs, crosses, church utensils, Catholic ivory chairs and valuables, presented to the hierarchs of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Khor Virap

A kilometer from the border with Turkey, on the territory of the ancient capital Artashat stands one of the symbols of Armenia - Khor Virap. In good weather at the observation deck you can enjoy an unparalleled view of the biblical Ararat. It was from here that the baptism of the Armenian people, the first Christian in the world, began.

The ascetic and solemn beauty of the monastery Khor Virap ("deep dungeon") is the main thing that attracts tourists in the vicinity of the ancient capital of Armenia. Located on a rock in the middle of a wide plain, Khor Virap, like an alert guard, protects the tranquil peace of the snow cap of Ararat, which rises a little at a distance. For all of Armenia, Khor Virap Monastery is a landmark historical place, because here in 301 the ruler of the country turned to Christianity, making it then the state religion. Today in Khor Virap, you can visit the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, go down to the underground prison, where St. Gregory the Illuminator was kept, admire the summit of Ararat melting in the blue haze and take part in the ceremony of issuing white pigeons.

Noravank Monastery Complex

The monastery complex Noravank is a pearl of Armenian religious architecture. Located 120 km from Yerevan, it attracts tourists with churches of the 13th century against the background of unearthly landscapes - steep red rocks of the Arpa river gorge. Two magnificent churches and a chapel, many stone steles with the image of a cross and delightful views of the picturesque landscape are the distinctive features of Noravank. Yerevan travel agencies offer a wide range of excursions to Noravank, often with a visit to Khor Virap. An additional pleasant moment is the presence of a magnificent restaurant of Armenian cuisine with a panorama of the monastery and rocks.

Areni Wine Factory

Tasting wine at a small winery 1000 AMD per person.

120 km from Yerevan, on the left bank of the river. Arpa of Vayots-Dzor marz of Armenia, the tiny village of Areni is located - a pilgrimage site for connoisseurs of vintage wines and unique architectural monuments. Beginning in 2009, an international wine festival is held annually in the township - a large-scale cultural and mass event dedicated to the tasting of young and seasoned local bottled wines, in particular the products of the winery Areni Winery, founded in 1994 on the basis of a small family enterprise. It is worth the winery at the entrance to the village, and you can visit it for free: a tour of the production hall, cellar and vineyard is usually conducted by the owners themselves, which describe in detail all the stages of the production of the famous wine exported to the CIS countries and Europe. At the end of the tour, guests are offered tasting - some exclusive varieties can be purchased exclusively in the shop located on the territory of the factory.

The winery is located in a small 2-storey stone building, more reminiscent of a villa than a factory. The modest size of the enterprise is explained by the fact that the collection of raw materials and the production of wines, as in the olden days, are carried out manually, which positively affects the quality of the products.

In the tasting room Areni Winery you can try fruit and berry wines of red and white varieties for free.

Especially popular among tourists are pomegranate and apricot wines. The cherry, cherry, blackberry, raspberry and peach often buy as a gift to acquaintances and colleagues: a bright taste, recalling the memories of summer and holidays, gives an incomparable pleasure.

Day 3 - Arch of Charents - Garni - Geghard - Sevan (lunch on the beach) - Arzakan

Arch of Charents

In the village of Vokhchaberd east of Yerevan there is an amazing creation of the Soviet architect Israelyan: a five-meter "double" arch, covered with roof slopes made of stone and concrete. But it is not remarkable in itself. The arch is inscribed in the landscape in such a way that when you climb to the top of the hill, the Ararat Mountains gradually "grow" in its aperture. At the top of the hill, when you are already inside the building, the sacred mountain is ideally "inscribed" inside the arch.

Ararat, the sacred mountain of Armenians, passed to Turkey in 1921, which remains a strong point of pain for the people. The white peak of Ararat is visible in clear weather for tens of kilometers. It is the mountain with the largest "relative" (distance from the foot to the summit) in the world. Ararat is covered with numerous myths, the most famous of which is about the Noah's Ark, adhering to its top. Noah himself is considered the ancestor of the Armenian people.

On the semi-circle are carved Charentsev lines: "Pass the whole world, see Masis - there is no dazzling radiance. As glory is a hard path, I'm a prophet Ararat! "

The uniqueness of the arch is also in the fact that it was built to commemorate the poet Yeghishe Charents, tortured in the dungeons of the NKVD (biography, creativity); in fact, it was a monument to the victims of Stalin's terror (almost the only example of perestroika in the USSR) and was built when the figure of Stalin himself still towered over Yerevan.

Pagan temple in Garni

a pagan temple in Garni - the most famous monument of the era of paganism and Hellenism. It was built in Hellenic style in the 1st century by the Armenian Tsar Trdat I and is dedicated to the Sun god Mithra. As evidenced by the inscription in Greek, found in the ruins of the temple (destroyed as a result of a strong earthquake in 1679, during the Soviet era it was restored):

Monastery of Gegardavank

The monastery was founded in the IV century on the site of a sacred spring, originating in the cave. Therefore, originally it was called Ayrivank, which means "cave monastery". According to legend, the founder of the monastery was St. Gregory the Illuminator.

The first monastery in the IX century was destroyed by the Arabs. Of the earlier buildings Ayrivanka nothing survived. According to the information of medieval Armenian historians, the monastic complex included, in addition to religious buildings, well-equipped residential and service buildings. In 923 Ayrivank suffered very seriously after his capture by Nasr, vice-regent of the Arab caliph in Armenia, plundered all the values, including unique manuscripts, and burned the majestic monastic buildings. To less significant damage caused earthquakes.

For some time the monastery was not functioning, and the main church in winter was used as a refuge from Karapapakh nomads before being brought back by several monks from Echmiadzin after joining the Russian Empire.

Geghard is also famous for the relics that were kept in it. The most important of them is the spear that the centurion Longinus pierced the body of Jesus Christ crucified on the cross, believed to have been brought by the apostle Faddeeus, which is why the name of the monastery used to this day is Gegardavank, first recorded in a documentary source in 1250. This circumstance made the monastery a popular place for pilgrimage of Armenians for many centuries.

Impressions left after visiting Geghard are difficult to convey in words: it is the power of faith that reigns here, and the fantastic craftsmanship and inhuman work that had to be done during the construction, and the amazing nature, and the bright, kind atmosphere surrounding every pilgrim and tourist.

Sevan

Sevan is a high mountain lake in Armenia, one of the largest lakes in the Caucasus, as if it were adjacent to the sky, as it is located in a mountain bowl at an altitude of almost two kilometers above sea level. According to legend, the pure water of this lake in ancient times could drink only the gods and stars. Today, Sevan and its environs are a well-known landmark of Armenia, which is worth seeing to all the admirers of the Caucasus and its beauties.

Lake Sevan with its picturesque views and turquoise smoothness - in itself already a great attraction. But if you came to Sevan, then be sure to go up to the mountains to feel the greatness of the "country of extinct volcanoes". For example, you can climb the Ajakaak volcano, the highest point of the Geghama mountain range. In its crater with a radius of one hundred meters there is a small lake, and from a height of three thousand six hundred meters a magnificent, unforgettable view - a panorama of the Armenian plateau opens. From here you will see Lake Sevan, sparkling like an azure mirror, and the jagged top of the highest mountain of Armenia Aragats, and the white peaks of Ararat. It is worth to stroll along the territory of the national park "Sevan", the area of ​​which is more than one and a half thousand kilometers, with its huge number of plants and several hundreds of species of animals. The park is divided into several zones: protected areas, recreation areas and economic areas.

Arzakan

Bathing in the thermal springs Arzakana

  - a village halfway between Yerevan and Sevan, a balneological resort with hot mineral springs. You can swim in the pool with mineral water.

Day 4 - Hovanavank - Fortress Amberd-Kari Lake lich

Ovanavank

The village of Ovanavan is located about 6 km to the north of Ashtarka, on the right bank of the Kasakh River, which forms a picturesque gorge here. The main local attraction is the monastery of Ovanavank. In terms of the terrain is an almost regular rectangle of three compact buildings. The oldest building of Ovanavank - the basilica of St. Grigor, erected in the 5th century, was rebuilt in 573g. and after repeatedly updated. In the basilica one of the few iconostases in Armenia. From the north to the basilica adjoin the ruins of the church of the first Christians, dating back to the beginning of the 4th century, built, most likely, on the site of a pagan temple.

It was the time of the last "golden age" in the history of Armenia, when the greater part of the Armenian highland became part of the Georgian kingdom under the empress Tamara. Armenian-Georgian troops in 1203 reached the south to the Syrian city of Aleppo. In those years the construction of churches and monasteries blossomed throughout Armenia.
It is believed that a part of the relics of St. John the Baptist is kept in the Surb Karapet church.

Cyclopean walls of this fortress are not inferior to the walls of the monastery. In this regard, several questions arise at once, firstly, why so many fortresses have accumulated here, because taking into account the indistinguishable ancient citadel in Sagmosavank, it is already three significant fortifications for 5 km. And the second question, perhaps answers to the first one - is it possible to assume that the stones of the ancient Cyclopean fortress in Oganavan went to the construction of the medieval walls of the monastery, the blessing here is not far, about a couple of kilometers? But most likely, all three fortresses existed in parallel, especially if it is known that the monastery was built on the site of a pagan temple, and as I wrote above, the walls of the monastery may belong to this temple.

The walls of Hovanavank were preserved to a height of 3 and more meters almost along the entire perimeter. The thickness of the walls is also very significant - 4 meters minimum. The initial height of the walls is unknown, especially since they were constantly reconstructed until the 17th and 18th centuries, but it can be assumed that they were at least twice as high.

Outside, the walls had a smart cladding, it was partially preserved on the towers. For example, here are the remains of the tower at the very edge of the cliff, as it is not strange, here the veneer is preserved, and the tower itself disappeared.

The Amberd

Amberd is the largest Armenian fortress. Located in the province of Aragatsotn (at the confluence of the Arkashen and Amberd rivers) at an altitude of more than 2000 meters. Reaching us in a dilapidated state, the fortress still personifies the indomitable spirit of those times when it performed the seemingly incredible defensive functions.

By the way, the picturesque place, chosen for construction, in itself became an obstacle, protecting the fortress from the conquerors. The fort is surrounded and protected by a gorge on three sides. Only the northern one remains unprotected. According to some sources, some of the parts of the castle were built already in the 7th century and served as a summer residence for Armenian kings and princes.

The fortress-castle lost its importance and was completely devastated at the end of the XIV century during the invasion of Tamerlane.

At the present time, there is a castle-fortress (X-XIII centuries), ruins of fortress walls, a bath (X-XI century), remains of other buildings and the Catholic church of Vahramashen (1026).

The three-story castle occupied 1400 square meters and was built from huge basalt stones. It included five rooms on the first two floors, and a few more on the last - they served as reception rooms.

The castle was burned during the Mongol invasion, and remained abandoned until excavations began in 1936.

Lake Kari Lich

 high mountain lake in Armenia, located on the slopes of Mount Aragats. The lake in winter is mostly covered with snow and ice. It is located at an altitude of 3207 m above sea level, on a plateau, under mountain peaks.

The Quaternary glaciation covered the mountain peaks of Armenia with a snowy shell, which began to thaw about 9 thousand years ago. With the retreat of the last glacier, the modern stage of the formation of the relief of the Armenian highland began. It manifested itself in the form of the formation of troughs (mountain valleys, deepened and straightened by a receding glacier) and car (cup-shaped depressions on steep slopes of peaks). Some of these depressions later designated the water area of ​​the glacial lakes of the Armenian highland. In the conditions of the cold climate of high mountains, thawed snow does not evaporate, but falls into the reservoirs formed during the retreat of the glacier. Kara lakes are on the Zangezur, Gegham, Vardenis and other ranges.

The Aragats volcano is the main concentration of water in Armenia today. On its slopes there are several large lakes. The most famous and, perhaps, one of the most picturesque of them - Kari (stone). The natural dams are piles of moraines - deposits of unsorted material (from loams to boulders) that have arisen when the mass of ice moves.

Day 5 - Yerevan                   

The fortress of Erebuni

If you have time to travel to Yerevan, get to this place, where 2700 years ago the capital of today's Armenia was born to get an idea of ​​how the ancient Armenian cities looked. Fans of antiquity and dust of centuries will be delighted!

The ruins of the ancient city of the state of Urartu - Erebuni (Irpuni, Irepuni) until 5-4 centuries BC. Even after the fall of the state of Urartu, which retained its power and independence, they are located in the southeast of Yerevan, on its outskirts.

In a small area of ​​about 100 hectares on the Arin-Berd hill there are remains of a citadel and ancient urban structures made of adobe bricks. Well-preserved walls of the citadel with a height of 3-4 m (the height of the walls at that time reached 12 m) delineate the general plan of the fortress with an open palace, temples and ceremonial halls.

Impressive is the Museum of the Fortress City of Erebuni on the slope of the Arin-Berd hill, exhibiting valuable examples of Urartu culture. From the fortress of Erebuni there are charming panoramas to Yerevan and Ararat, and at the foot of the Arin-Berd hill there are many interesting modern sculptures.

The Hrazdan River Canyon.

Running through Yerevan, Hrazdan forms a deep picturesque gorge with the exit of rock. Go to the gorge on the street. Dzorapi, but it's much more interesting to walk along a pedestrian tunnel about 500 m long, cold, booming and slightly frightening of its emptiness. The tunnel begins opposite the post office and goes to Hrazdan, on the exit there is a statue of the leopard, which according to legend was once driven into the gorge. Right across the road - a series of curious stela-fountains in memory of the Heroes of the Soviet Union: they are clearly modeled from khachkars, but the crosses in memory of the Communists would look strange. A hundred meters upstream you can see the dam and spillway of the Yerevan HPP.

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