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An update from Evaneos

Best places to visit in Armenia

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.

Nicolas Landru
Ardvi (Armenia)
Ardvi is a small Armenian village in the charming region of Lori, perched on the edge of the magnificent Debed Canyon. Above the village, you'll find a partially ruined monastery, one of the most beautiful historic monuments in the region.
Areni (Armenia)
Areni's excellent red wines are produced in a small village in the south west of the country on the border with Azerbaijan
Debed (Armenia)
A river that runs from Armenia towards Georgia before joining the Kurat River, Debed is primarily known for its gorges and magnificent monasteries dotted around the north of the country.
Etchmiadzin Cathedral is one of the most important Armenian cultural and religious sites. Many also consider it to be the oldest cathedral in the world.
Garrni (Armenia)
Garni, with is stunning colonnade, is Armenia's only Greco-Roman temple. 
Gyumri (Armenia)
Gyumri, the country's second largest town is situated to the northwest and is one of Armenia's most agreeable towns.
Haghartsin Monastery is located in Dilijan National Park and is a fine example of an Armenian religious edifice.
In the River Kasagh gorge Hovhannavank monastery presides majestically over the volcanic rocks which dominate the river.
Jermuk (Armenia)
Jermuk is a very famous town for the Armenians which is in the Vayots Dzor mountains.
Kakavaberd is a sumptuous and typically Caucasian site: a fortress on a rocky promontory, 1516 meters above sea level, dominating the wild and beautiful environment of the Khosrov National Reserve and the gorges of Mil.
Kobayr (Armenia)
Kobayr is an impressive ruined monastery perched in a breathtaking position at the edge of a cliff above one of the canyons so typical of the Lori region. The ruins are particularly evocative and fascinating, and some parts are veritable treasures of scared art.
The most romantic lake in Tavush is different from most Armenian lakes. In the image of its region, far from the lunar high plateaus, it is green and surrounded by forests of fertile trees. It is a very lovely excursion goal from Dilijan.
Yerevan's symbolic library, the Matenadaran, houses one of the best collections of written Medieval works in the world.
Lorri (Armenia)
Lying between Yerevan and the border with Georgia, Lori Province is a place of magnificent wild, mountainous scenery and monasteries that lie hidden out in the middle of nowhere.
The Ararat volcano, a bald mountain that is eternally snow capped, is the highest point in the country and one of its emblematic sites.
Shirak (Armenia)
Shirak, a province in the northwest of the country, is as beautiful as it is wild and mysterious, and surprisingly little explored by tourists.
Shusha is one of the most disputed towns in the Caucasus. The second largest town in Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh, it was, before war broke out, an Azeri and Armenian cultural centre. It's an interesting place to visit that's home to monuments built by these two cultures.
The Church of Saint Stephen, or "Lmbatavank" as its also known, lies just outside the fairly nondescript town of Artik and is one of the oldest churches in the whole country.
Stepanakert is a smallish pleasant town with no particular tourist attractions that is also the capital of the autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Close to Idjevan, Yenokavan is a little mountain resort in the heart of the green Tavush province. Behind the village, the wild and luxuriant Yenokavan Canyon spreads out with its rapids, waterfalls and caves with pre-Christian inscriptions.
Goris (Armenia)
Goris is a town in southeastern Armenia with grey stone houses and ornate wooden balconies giving it a unique character.
Karabakh (Armenia)
The Lesser Caucasus is a small Armenian state that's permanently on the alert. Politically landlocked yet maintaining strong ties with Armenia, it has its own particular character. Mountainous and green, it's well worth a visit for its landscape and insular feel.
Sevanavank is a monastic complex located on a peninsula in Lake Sevan and one of the most visited ancient monuments in Armenia.
Ashtarak is a peaceful, smallish town in Aragatsotn Province, which is not without interest.
Chiva (Armenia)
Chiva is a small village in Vayots Dzor, an Armenian province characterised by medium-altitude mountain scenery and located close to the border with the Azerbaidjan exclave of Nakhchivan. With its houses surrounded by orchards, the village is typically Armenian in character.
Ijevan, capital of the verdant Tavush region, is lusher than other towns in the country. Situated in a valley surrounded by a temperate, mountain climate where vineyards flourish, it's the departure point for trips to a host of natural and culturally rich sites.
Ochakan is situated at the foot of the Aragats plateau. The small town enjoys a beautiful location, in a sheltered basin at the foot of the cliffs. It's an important place of pilgrimage for its Armenian church and its two major sites are worth a visit.
Shaki (Armenia)
A town in the mountainous region of southern Armenia, Shaki is nestled in a sublime landscape and home to the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. The Shaki Falls in the Vorotan Gorge is immense - 18m high and 40m wide.
Sisian (Armenia)
A small town deep in mysterious and wild nature.
Tigranakert of Artsakh was an Armenian city constructed before the onset of the Middle Ages. Situated in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, on the way to Askeran, the early 21st Century excavations were extensive and a fascinating, nearby museum opened in 2010.