Discovering Armenia: A Road Tourist’s Dream

  • Posted 9 months ago
  • Road/Touring

The ancient nation of Armenia, nestled in the South Caucasus region, boasts unparalleled landscapes and world-famous monasteries. This former Soviet republic may not always be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about a road trip or a tour, but those who venture to its rugged terrain and verdant valleys are rarely disappointed. Let’s take a virtual road trip through Armenia, discovering both hidden gems and well-trodden paths.

1. Yerevan – The Pink City

Any road trip through Armenia should begin in the country’s vibrant capital, Yerevan. Yerevan, known as the “Pink City” because of its distinctive tuff stone architecture, is the country’s cultural, economic, and administrative center. With its magnificent fountains and surrounding edifices, the city’s Republic Square is an ideal starting point. Visit the Cascades, a massive limestone stairway that offers a panoramic view of Mount Ararat on a clear day.

2. Khor Virap Monastery

Khor Virap Monastery is a short drive from Yerevan, set against the stunning Mount Ararat. This ancient monastery is not only a work of art in architecture, but it is also steeped in Armenian Christian history. According to legend, King Tiridates III imprisoned St. Gregory the Illuminator here for 13 years; it’s a peaceful spot for reflection and a photographer’s dream vantage point.

3. Noravank Monastery

Navigate your way through the Amaghu Valley’s dramatic red rocks to find the Noravank Monastery. This 13th-century religious complex is nestled among steep cliffs, making it one of Armenia’s most photographed sites. Its intricate stonework and historic carvings bear witness to Armenia’s rich religious heritage.

4. The Winding Roads of Tatev

The journey to Tatev Monastery is nothing short of thrilling. Views will take your breath away as you snake through the verdant Vorotan River Gorge. Once there, take the Wings of Tatev cable car, which spans over 5 kilometers and holds the world record for the world’s longest non-stop double-track cable car. It’s a faster way to get to the monastery and offers incredible aerial views of the surrounding landscape.

5. Lake Sevan

Lake Sevan, known as the “Jewel of Armenia,” is one of the world’s largest freshwater, high-altitude lakes. The tranquil blue waters set against green hills and ancient monasteries like the Sevanavank make it a nature lover’s paradise. Lake Sevan has something for everyone, whether you want a peaceful boat ride, a leisurely picnic by the shore, or just a drive around its perimeter.

6. Dilijan: The Armenian Switzerland

Dilijan, a spa town further north, entices its lush forests and revitalizing air. Its scenic beauty and old-world charm, often referred to as “Armenian Switzerland,” provide a rejuvenating escape from the hustle and bustle. The historic Sharambeyan street, with its wooden balconies and artisan shops, provides a glimpse into the town’s colorful history.

7. Gyumri – A Testament of Resilience

Gyumri, Armenia’s second-largest city, proudly displays its history. While the scars of the devastating 1988 earthquake remain visible, the city’s tenacity shines through in its art, music, and architecture. Strolling through its streets, you’ll notice a mix of Russian and Armenian architectural marvels.

To summarize, road touring in Armenia is an enchanting blend of history, nature, and culture. Winding roads through majestic landscapes, centuries-old monasteries perched on cliff edges, and warm encounters with some of the friendliest people await on this journey. So, the next time you’re considering an out-of-the-way road trip, consider Armenia!

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