Things to see in Armenia

  • Armenia
    Armenia
    Yevgen Govorov / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Armenia

Landscapes

One thing is for sure, in Armenia the mountains are everywhere (or almost)! A country that is very isolated between the high Caucasian Mountains and the semi-desert mountains of northern Iran, 90% of Armenia is located at more than one thousand metres of altitude.

Volcanic mountain ranges punctuate the landscape, and high plains at an altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,000m stretch out between the main ones. Armenia's landscapes are also characterised by its lakes, including Lake Sevan, which is the country's second most important geographical element after Mount Ararat.

The only real plain that can be classified as such is the plain of Ararat, north of the mountain of the same name, where most of the country's agricultural activity is concentrated.
Because of its geographic location (at the meeting point of the Eurasian, Anatolian and Arabian tectonic plates), Armenia is highly exposed to seismic risks.

Vegetation is rare and limited due to deforestation.

Arts and culture

It seems that the Armenian people have a soul that loves to travel. After the kingdom disappeared in the 16th century, the Armenians ventured off to Persia, India, the land that is currently Bangladesh, Singapore and Ethiopia. All while preserving its own specific characteristics, Armenia's culture has also been slightly influenced by its neighbouring countries (Iran, Georgia, Russia and Turkey) as well as some of the countries its people have visited, which has resulted in its unique character.

It is easy to differentiate between the pagan art and the religious Christian art that can especially be seen in Armenian architecture and sculpture.

Armenia's culture is closely linked to its geography and history. Located at the crossroads of the East and West, Armenia was at the centre of many clashes between the great empires of Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Wars often interrupted the country's cultural development. All of the art forms in Armenia are based on renewal, colours and the blending of tradition and modernity.

Monuments

The country's architecture developed over the centuries in a rather unique way. Specific elements, like the gavits (church entrance) and the jamatouns (a typical Armenian religious structure), were born. Most of the constructions are religious, with fortifications of any type being rather rare. Armenian architecture saw a revival with the appearance of the neo-Armenian style in the 20th century.

The architecture took on its own rules and the ornamentation of the sanctuaries was fascinating: interlacing and khatchkars (cross stones) with continuously changing patterns decorate every wall and every rockface.

The Armenians were already showing off their know-how even before the Christian architectural style, as witnessed by the pagan period. First influenced by Persia and then by the Greeks and the Romans, architecture pushed Armenia towards urbanism. The only remaining example of this period is the Garni Temple dedicated to the goddess Anahit.

A very surprising thing about this country is the age of its structures. You can come across churches dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries as well as monasteries from the 9th and 10th centuries.

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