ARMENIA: Reality TV stars Kim and Khloe Kardashian met with Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan last week to discuss the centennial commemoration of the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during the early 20th century. Armenia is the ancestral homeland of their father, Robert Kardashian, who died in 2003.
Thanks to this visit from the popular family, Armenia has received what could be their biggest tourist boost to date. So, what has Armenia got to offer?
1. The Monastery of Geghard
This medieval monastery in the Kotayk province of Armenia is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, and surrounded by cliffs, it consists of several churches, tombs, and a defensive wall. According to legend, a spear (geghard in Armenian) was kept here which was used to pierce Jesus Christ on the cross.
2. Echmiadzin Cathedral
Located in the city of Vagharshapat, the Echmiadzin Cathedral is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and is considered the oldest cathedral in the world. It is a major pilgrimage site, and was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.
3. Khor Virap
Located in the Ararat plain, this Apostolic Church monastery is a popular tourist attraction in Armenia. Not only is the architecture is breath-taking, the monastery is steeped in history and there are a number of souvenir kiosks. On weekends you will often see weddings, performances, snack stands as well as doves being sold for release.
4. Mount Aragats
Hike lovers, we have the perfect location for you! As the highest point in Armenia, Mount Aragats offers four peaks to choose from, depending on your fitness level. You can hire tour guides with great knowledge of the history and culture of the mountains to give you a special taste of Armenia.
5. Noravank Monastery
This 13th century 'magic' monastery is located just outside Yerevan, and is known for the fantastic red cliffs which surround it. It contains a two storey church which allows access to the second floor by way of a narrow stone-made staircase. Thousands of visitors travel here not only to discover the monastery's architecture and history, but also to witness the fabulous surrounding nature.
6. Kami Club
If you enjoy the party lifestyle, why not visit this amazing club in Yerevan. Listen to the city's top musicians in a relaxing ambiance. Live artists and bands of various genres perform every day, and there are dance troupes at the weekend. The club interior is of an oriental style, with a wide variety of alcoholic beverages including fanciful cocktails.
7. The National Gallery of Armenia
Located on Yerevan's beautiful Republic square, this large art museum contains an extensive collection of Armenian Apostolic Church-related paintings ranging from the 17th-19th centuries, as well as silver book-covers of manuscripts, crosses, and 18th-century altar curtains from across Asia. The gallery has a lot of branches in Yerevan and other towns of the republic.
This beautiful building a museum containing ancient manuscripts and books of a range of subjects including history, philosophy, medicine, literature and cosmography, in Armenian and many other languages. You can even hire a guide to get the most from your experience.
9. Tatev Monastery
This breathtaking monastery is made even better thanks to its beautiful surrounding landscape. You can enjoy incredible views and discover some old classrooms, as it used to be home to a university. It was listed in 1995 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
10. Lovers' park
Located in Armenia's capital, Yerevan, this park dates back to the 18th century. It has been renovated many times since, most recently between 2005 and 2008. The park is home to a small central amphitheatre, allowing events to be held, such as music festivals, exhibitions and open air movie screenings. There is also a small café with outdoor seating, perfect for sunny days!