Other interesting places
are many tours and short trips that you can take from the Armenian capital
to interesting places in the republic. Here are some of the many places
you may like to see.
- is situated 20km from Yerevan, in the very heart of the Ararat
valley. It was founded 2,000 years ago by the Armenian king Vagarsh, who
made this place his residence and gave it his name Vagarshapat. Etchmiadzin
is rich in wonderful architectural monuments, among them the Hripsime Church
(618~one of the finest examples of medieval Armenian architecture, the
Gayane Church (630) and the Shogakat Church, both built in honour of the
first disseminators of Christianity in Armenia.
The Etchmiadzin Cathedral, completed
in 303 A.D., is one of the oldest Christian churches in the world. For
seventeen centuries Etchmiadzin has been the Holy Seat of the Catholicos
of the Armenian Church.
kilometres from Etchmiadzin are the ruins of the three-tiered Zvartnots
Church (7th century), palace and other structures. The remains
of the church, the carefully gathered stones and also the archaeological
findings, the drawings and plans of the original buildings shown in the
museum on this site present a comprehensive picture of the monumental proportions
of this unique historical complex.
If you drive along the road-leading
southwest of Etchmiadzin to the city of Oktemberyan
(53 km from Yerevan) and then turn left you will find yourself in the centre
of the Ararat valley. On one of its
plateaus, now the site of the memorial complex Sardarapat,
erected in 1968 to commemorate the victory of the Armenian people over
Turkish invaders in 1915.
A group including the architect R.
Israelyan and the sculptors A. Arutyunyan, A. Shaginyan, and S. Manasyan
designed this memorial. At the entrance to the memorial park stand two
winged bulls, symbolizing the might of the people. Staircases lead up to
a platform where a 35-metre stone belfry towers over the landscape. To
the left, toward the Wall of Victory, leads an alley of flowers with stone
eagles, symbolizing the invincible spirit of the heroes of Sardarapat.
In the centre of the Wall of Victory is an arch through which can be seen
in the distance majestic Mt. Ararat, silent witness of the heroic past
of the Armenian people.
The memorial complex culminates in
the originally designed building of the museum and the domed refectory
"Vardavar", in which motifs of medieval Armenian architecture are featured.
Travelling 21km southeast of Yerevan
you reach one of the most picturesque spots in Armenia, the site of the
ancient Garni Temple.
history of the first settlements in the vicinity of Garni
goes back to 3,000 B.C. The remains of the walls of an impregnable fortress,
built of huge monolithic blocks weighing dozens of tons each, are relics
of that remote period.
In the Middle Ages this picturesque
spot attracted the attention of Armenian kings, who set up their summer
residence here. Palaces were built and parks were laid out.
The territory of the fortress is
now a real archaeological museum. Its most interesting feature is the pagan
Garni Temple, the only monument of Hellenistic culture in Armenia extant.
Built in the 1st century A.D. by Trdat I, founder of the Arshakuni dynasty,
the Garni Temple was considered one of the finest in the ancient east.
In 1679 this unique monument was
reduced to ruins by an earthquake. It was restored to its original form
and is a exquisite example of Armenia’s priceless monuments and ancient
From Garni the road climbs upward
for a distance of about ten kilometres to a smalt hollow in the hills.
Here you will see one of the most unique ancient structures - the Keghart
Monastery - a whole group of cave buildings consisting of a
two-storey church, monastery cells and chapels, all carved out of the rock.
Still higher can be seen the entrances to other caves.
According to an old legend for a
long time there was preserved here a spear ("Keghart" in Hebrew) with which
a Roman legionary pricked Christ on the crucifix to see whether he was
still alive. Hence the name of the, monastery, Keghart.
Another interesting tourist route
takes you along the scenic highway connecting Yerevan with Tbilisi. At
the 56th kilometre marker on this highway a right turn puts you on the
road leading to the summer resort settlement of Tsakhkadzor,
which means "valley of flowers" situated among dense forests at the foot
of Mt. Tegenis.
the name of this resort is more and more associated with modern tourism,
recreation and sport. Winters here are mild and snowy, summers are warm.
Everything is fresh and green in spring and golden in autumn. Most of the
days of the year are fair and sunny.
One of the most interesting things
in Tsakhkadzor is the sports complex. It has everything needed for all
forms of sport and recreation for both sportsmen and tourists.
In the winter season, which lasts
about four months, there is the added opportunity to indulge in all forms
of winter sport. Nature has been generous in providing wonderful courses
many kilometres long, for mounting skiing. A 7.5km chair cableway has been
built for taking mountain skiers to the top of Mt. Tegenis. From its height
of 3,100 m. there is a beautiful view of the surrounding mountainous country.
There are skating-rings and paths covered with ice for those who prefer
this winter sport.
While in Tsakhkadzor you can take
an excursion to the Kecharis Monastery,
a wonderful example of medieval Armenian architecture. It is only a short
walk of about fifteen minutes from the sports centre.
The monastery group, which stands
on the edge of a forest, took its present form in the l1th-l3th centuries.
It consists of several churches built at different times.
Coming back to the Yerevan - Tbilisi
highway from Tsakhkadzor and continuing on it for about half an hour you
come to the shores of Lake Sevan.
In remote times it was called Siunna
- a Lake country hidden in the Gegam Mountains. Sevan ... On clear, sunny
days, from whatever direction you approach it you will see the thrilling
panorama of this lake, one of the largest mountain lakes in the world.
As the Russian writer Maxim Gorky
once said, before your eyes there opens the boundless expanse of its blue
surface, like a piece of the sky which has dropped down on this spot amidst
lake is 63km. from Yerevan, at an altitude of almost 2,000m. above sea
level. It consists of two bodies of water Large and Small Seven, which
form a lop-sided figure 8 and are connected with each other by a strait
8.5km wide. The maximum length of the lake (up to the point where its water
is directed toward the power station) is 75km, and its maximum width-37km.
The greatest depth of Small Sevan is 100 m., of Large Sevan 50 m.
Not far from the picturesque lake
is the town of Sevan, founded in the
second half of the l9th century.
A distinctive feature of the locality
of Lake Sevan is the abundance of sunshine, a feature in which it rivals
Termez and Alexandria. The mean temperature from July to August is 32 °C,
while the temperature at the surface of the water ranges from 17 to 19
°C. The cool, pure water of Lake Sevan is very pleasant for bathing.
Lake Sevan is not very rich in fish
but the local sort of trout, called
(Meaning “Prince” in English, belongs to the Salmon family) is a great
A mild climate, lovely though rather
austere scenery, and golden sandy beaches all make Lake Sevan an attractive
place for rest and recreation. In the summer you can do water skiing and/or
go on a boat excursion on the lake. In the winter there is skiing on the
mountain slopes surrounding the lake.
Leaving Lake Sevan behind, you now
drive for a while along a level stretch and then begin the climb to the
Sevan Pass, the highest point of which reaches an altitude of 2,122 m above
sea level. Suddenly a gap seems to open before you and you glimpse the
Gorge of Dilizhan. Here, nestled in
the green of pine and leaf-bearing trees and of apple, pear and plum orchards
is the famous mountain health resort "Dilizhan"
(102km from Yerevan). People come here for treatment and rest from all
parts of the region. In recent years many international conferences, symposiums
and forums have been held in this resort.
far from the resort is Lake Barz-lich
(Transparent Lake). When you look at the calm, clear water of this lake
it seems to be a piece of pure crystal.
There are many monuments of ancient
Armenian architecture in the forests around Dilizhan. Particularly interesting
is the group of buildings of Agartsin ensemble, dating to the 11th-13th
If you travel north west from Dilizhan,
driving through the most forested part of Armenia, you come to Kirovakan,
a rapidly growing city with a big future.
High mountains ring Kirovakan with
densely forested slopes. The Vanadzor Gorge,
which is very near the city, is very beautiful.
Situated in this gorge are the second
highest in altitude botanical gardens in Armenia (1,500m. above sea level)
and the resort "Armenia". A mild climate, pure air, and picturesque scenery
are the factors, which have made this resort so popular.
Another tourist route will take you
to the historical monuments of Sanain, Akhpat,
Odzun which are located not far from the city of Alaverdi
(178 km from Yerevan) among wooded hills.
Two kilometres from Alaverdi is the
Sanain group of buildings.