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Top 3 sights in Armenia

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Last Updated on by Noni May

In recent years Armenia has become just a magnet for fans of hiking and mountain jeep tours, a country where you can have a great time and relax, and just for a long weekend.

Visa-free entry to Armenia, the absence of language barriers, the proximity and accessibility of the flight, extremely nice prices, but most importantly, the hospitality and warmth of the Armenians themselves contribute to the tourism boom.

1. The Erebouni Fortress

In 782 BC, Argishti I, King of Van, decided to establish the Erebuni fortress on the Red hill as a strategic point to fortify the Urartians in the Ararat valley and leave the date of the city foundation on a stele of stone. Standing on the rock, the lord watched as the Hittites captive in ancient Sophene dragged and rolled stones below, laying the foundation of future fabulous palaces and magnificent temples. And to the sound of trumpets and the beat of drums the cuneiform writers carved the inscription on the stele about the birth of a beautiful new city.

If you have time on your trip to Yerevan, get to this place where the capital of today’s Armenia was born 2700 years ago to get an idea of what ancient Armenian cities looked like. Lovers of antiquity and the dust of the ages will love it!

Visiting Erebuni is like traveling back in time, it leaves an indelible mark in the souls of those who visit it and touch the past of the ancient Armenian city-fortress and Armenia in general.

2. Noravank Monastery Complex

Noravank monastic complex is a pearl of Armenian religious architecture. Situated 120 km away from Yerevan, it attracts tourists with its 13th century churches against the unearthly scenery of the steep red cliffs of the Arpa river gorge in the village of Jermuk. The distinctive features of Noravank are:

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  • two magnificent churches;
  • chapel;
  • numerous stone steles with the image of a cross;
  • delightful views of the picturesque area.

Yerevan travel agencies offer a wide range of excursions to Noravank, often with a visit to Khor Virap. An additional nice touch is the presence of an excellent Armenian restaurant with a panorama of the monastery and the cliffs.

The Church of Our Lady is the most majestic structure of Noravank. Here one should pay attention to the wonderful beauty of the cone-shaped dome resting on a circular colonnade and the unusual stairs leading to the second-floor prayer room. Above both entrances to the church are bas-reliefs depicting the Mother of God with the Child and the Archangels and Christ with the figures of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

In the Church of St. John the Baptist one has to see the richly decorated tomb of Prince Orbelian, architectural elements of the central western entrance (especially the ornaments and the image of Our Lady) and an unusual image of God the Father with huge almond-shaped eyes and Adam’s head in his left hand.

3. The Grand Cascade in Yerevan

It is simply impossible to imagine today’s Yerevan without its main attraction – the Cascade. It is systematically arranged and artistically decorated staircases, sculptures, fountains, flower gardens on the slopes of Kanaker hills, which on the whole is a monumental structure of architecture, decorating the city.

The cascade, located behind the Opera and Ballet Theater, between Mesrop Mashtots Avenue and Baghramyan and Moskovyan Streets, originates in a small square where a monument to the architect Tamanyan, who was thinking about the main plan in his life, was erected. The purpose of the pompous staircase made of milky tuff was to connect the lower and upper city, located high in the mountains.

Such a unique and stunning structure is hard to find elsewhere. The very name reflects its essence of this spectacular giant monument, possessing:

  • huge stairways rising up the slope;
  • flowerbeds;
  • beautiful fountains;
  • night illumination.

The Grand Cascade is also an adjacent park. The length of Cascade – 500 m, width – 50 m, and between the base and top (height difference) – 100 m. Inside the Cascade, there is an escalator for two-thirds of its height, which will facilitate climbing the stairs.

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