16 Mar A Winter Experience in Armenia
Travelling has never been my passion. However, my job at Eton Institute brought out my interest in mingling with people of different nationalities and cultures. This paved a way for me to try something new and I started in Armenia.
Winter is a perfect time to travel. Born and raised in the Philippines, I have never experienced the snowy winter until I visited Armenia. It felt like I am in Asia and Europe both at the same time. The place was captivating. The buildings were made of naturally colored rocks. Plus, the hospitality of the Armenians was simply awesome.
It is just surprising that most of us know nothing about this Eurasian country. Armenia is located in West Asia and it is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east and Iran to the south. Armenian is the official language with Russian, Kurdish, Greek and French as the minority languages. Armenia has a lot to offer – from the old churches and monasteries, mountainous landscapes, old buildings in the capital and delicious cuisines – no wonder this place is now becoming one of the most visited tourist destinations.
Your Armenia trip will not be complete without visiting these places during winter:
One of the oldest fortresses in Armenia, this is located in a village near Garni, in Armenia’s Kotayk Province. It occupies 3.5 hectares (8.6 acres). This is a classical Hellenistic temple and perhaps the symbol of pre-Christian Armenia.
The monastery was built in the 4th century, according to tradition by Gregory the Illuminator. The site is that of a spring arising in a cave which had been sacred in pre-Christian times, hence one of the names by which it was known, Ayrivank (the Monastery of the Cave).
It is the largest body of water in Armenia and in the whole Caucasus region. It is also one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in Eurasia. Situated in Gegharkunik Province at an altitude of 1,900 m (6,234 ft) above sea level, the total surface area of its basin is about 5,000 km2 (1,900 sq mi), which makes up 1⁄6 of Armenia’s territory. The lake itself is 1,242 km2.
The Cascade is a huge white stairwell built into a Yerevan hillside in the 1970s, with water fountains running down, all reminiscent of a natural cascade in a river or stream.
Kecharis Monastery is a medieval monastic complex located 60 km from Yerevan, in the ski resort town of Tsakhkadzor in Armenia. Nestled in the Bambak Mountains, Kecharis was believed to be founded by a Pahlavuni prince in the 11th century, and construction continued until the middle of the 13th century. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Kecharis was a major religious center of Armenia and a place of higher education. The monastery has been fully restored today and gives the best view from the ski slopes.
Zvartnots Cathedral is a 7th-century centrally planned aisled tetraconch type Armenian cathedral built by the order of Catholicos Nerses the Builder from 643-652. Now in ruins, it is located at the edge of the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin) in Armavir Province of Armenia.
Statue of Mother Armenia
Mother Armenia is the female personification of Armenia. Her monumental statue stands in Victory Park overlooking the capital city of Yerevan, Armenia.
It is the mother church of the Armenian churches located in the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia. Scholars consider it as the oldest cathedral in the world.
Situated in the heart of Yerevan, the town square is divided into two areas: a roundabout and a trapezoid-shaped section that contains a pool with water fountains. The square is surrounded by five pink and yellow buildings in the neoclassical architecture. The buildings are the Government House, the History Museum and the National Gallery, Armenia Marriott Hotel and the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Transport and Communications.
Armenia is more than a winter wonderland; it is a country waiting to be discovered with its rich history and tasteful culture. Snow was just the cherry on top. With good company, I enjoyed Armenia and will not think twice to go back again.
Don’t miss the chance to interact with the natives in your visit to Armenia. Learn the language today!