Armenia, a country of volcanic light, with its basalt mountains, its lakes, canyons, waterfalls, ancient churches and colourful culture, holds many different attractions. All but an island, perched on the heights of Lesser Caucasus, it boasts an incredible heritage, suited to the history of the first country to have adopted Christianity, at the beginning of the Fourth Century.
Travelling through Armenia from top to bottom, you'll discover picturesque gorges and places filled with incredible spirituality. Remote monasteries, whether still occupied or in ruins, tell the stories of the first hermits. At Geghard, Sanahin or Noravank, the ancient Armenians built their temples in harmony with the mountainous countryside, using a plain but elegant style of architecture which reaches its pinnacle with Etchmiadzin, the Armenian Vatican. This country also offers magnificent civil architectural ruins: the forts of Smbat and Amberd or the Selim caravan are all sights worth seeing.
Then there's the environment itself: the volcanic summit of Mont Aragats, the lakes of Sevan, Akna or Kari, the basalt canyon of the Azat river, the verdant mountains of Vayots Dzor: all beautiful places where you can revel in the wide open spaces, from rocky, moon-like plateaus to the temperate forests. And let's not forget the snowy peaks of Mont Ararat, towering over the Erevan plain...
As for Erevan, the lively capital, it distills Armenia down to its essence, with its cafe and restaurant culture, where you can sample the delicious cuisine; its sense of hospitality; its friendliness; its very Oriental music; its traditions and museums, where you can appreciate the creativity of the Armenian artists... At once Western and Eastern, Christian and post-Soviet, Armenia is a civilisation fully worth exploring in its own right, with its contrasts and contradictions.