Top Ten Armenian Attractions

Top Ten Armenian Attractions

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       Armenia is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bordered by Turkey, Georgia, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Azerbaijan, Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan. A former republic of the Soviet Union, Armenia is a unitary, multiparty, democratic nation-state with an ancient and historic cultural heritage. The Kingdom of Armenia became the first state to adopt Christianity as its religion around 301 AD. The modern Republic of Armenia recognizes the Armenian Apostolic Church as the national church of Armenia, although the republic has separation of church and state. Armenia is a member of more than 40 international organizations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Asian Development Bank, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the World Trade Organization, World Customs Organization, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and La Francophonie. It is a member of the CSTO military alliance, and also participates in NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program. It is also an observer member of the Eurasian Economic Community and the Non-Aligned Movement. The country is an emerging democracy and is currently in a negotiation process with the European Union, of which it may become an Associate Member in the near future. The Government of Armenia holds European integration as a key priority in its foreign policy as it is considered a European country by the European Union.

  1. Yerevan
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    Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world’s oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural and industrial center of the country. It has been the capital since 1918, the 13th in the history of Armenia. The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC, with the founding of the fortress of Erebuni in 782 BC by king Argishti I at the western extreme of the Ararat plain. After WWI, Yerevan became the capital of the Democratic Republic of Armenia as thousands of survivors of the Armenian Genocide settled in the area. The city expanded rapidly during the 20th century as Armenia became one of the 15 republics in the Soviet Union. In 50 years, Yerevan was transformed from a town of a few thousand residents within the Russian Empire, to Armenia’s principal cultural, artistic and industrial center, as well as becoming the seat of national government. With the growth of the economy of the country, Yerevan has been undergoing major transformation as many parts of the city have been the recipient of new construction since the early 2000’s, and retail outlets such as restaurants, shops and street cafes, which were rare during Soviet times, have multiplied. In 2009, the population of Yerevan was estimated to be 1,111,300 people with the agglomeration around the city regrouping 1,245,700 people (2007), more than a third of all the population of Armenia.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yerevan,
  2. Cathedral and Churches of Echmiadzin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots
    Cathedral and Churches of Echmiadzin and the Archaeological Site of ZvartnotsCathedral and Churches of Echmiadzin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots1Cathedral and Churches of Echmiadzin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots2Cathedral and Churches of Echmiadzin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots3Cathedral and Churches of Echmiadzin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots4Cathedral and Churches of Echmiadzin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots5Cathedral and Churches of Echmiadzin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots6Cathedral and Churches of Echmiadzin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots7
    Vagharshapat, commonly known as Ejmiatsin in Eastern Armenian and Echmiadzin in Western Armenian, is the 4th largest city in Armenia and the spiritual center of the Armenians, as it is the seat of the Catholicos of All Armenians, the head of the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church. It is the most populous city in Armavir province, located about 18 km west of Yerevan, 25 km east of the regional center of Armavir, only 10 km north of the Armenia-Turkish border. The 1989 census counted the population of Ejmiatsin as 61,000; it has declined considerably since: 58,388 in the 2001 census, and an estimated 56,757 in 2008. Zvartnots Cathedral, meaning “celestial angels,” are the ruins of a 7th century centrally-planned aisled tetraconch type Armenian cathedral built by order of the Catholicos Nerses the Builder from 641-653. It is located at the edge of the city of Etchmiadzin in the Armavir Province of Armenia.
    Links: Top Ten Spiritual Destinations on Earth, Top Ten Churches, Top Ten Cathedrals, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echmiadzin, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zvartnots_Cathedral,
  3. Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley
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    The monastery of Geghard is a unique architectural construction in the Kotayk province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. While the main chapel was built in 1215, the monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. The monastery had thus been originally named Ayrivank, meaning “the Monastery of the Cave.” The name commonly used for the monastery today, Geghard, or more fully Geghardavank, meaning “the Monastery of the Spear,” originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Echmiadzin treasury. The spectacular towering cliffs surrounding the monastery are part of the Azat river gorge. Some of the churches within the monastery complex are entirely dug out of the cliff rocks, others are little more than caves, while others are elaborate structures, with both architecturally complex walled sections and rooms deep inside the cliff. The combination, together with numerous engraved and free-standing khachkars is a unique sight, being one of the most frequented tourist destinations in Armenia. Most visitors to Geghard also choose to visit the nearby Garni temple, a Parthenon-like structure located further down the Azat river. Visiting both sites in one trip is so common that they are often referred to in unison as Garni-Geghard.
    Links: Monasteries, Top Ten Biblical Artifacts, Top Ten Rock-Cut Architecture, Top Ten Doors, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geghard,
  4. Cafesjian Museum of Art
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    The Cafesjian Center for the Arts (also known as the Cafesjian Museum Foundation) is an art museum in Yerevan, Armenia. It is situated in central Yerevan in the area in and around the Cascade. At the core of the museum’s permanent collection is the Gerard L. Cafesjian Collection of Art. The inauguration took place on the 17th November 2009.
    Links: Museums and Galleries, Sculptures, www.cmf.am, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cafesjian_Museum_of_Art,
  5. Monastery of Tatev

           The Monastery of Tatev is a 9th century Armenian monastery located in the Tatev village in Syunik Province in southern Armenia. The term “Tatev” usually refers to the monastery. It stands on a plateau on the edge of the deep gorge of the Orotan (Vorotan) River. It became the bishopric seat of Syunik and played a significant role in the history of the region as a center for economic, political, spiritual and cultural activity. In the 14th and 15th centuries Tatev Monastery hosted one of the most important Armenian medieval universities which contributed to the education of science, religion and philosophy; reproduction of books and development of miniature painting. Scholars of Tatev University contributed to the preservation of Armenian culture and creed during one of its most turbulent periods in its history.
    Links: Monasteries, Top Ten Dome Interiors, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatev,
  6. Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin
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    Haghpat Monastery is a medieval Armenian monastery complex in Haghpat, Armenia. Described as a “masterpiece of religious architecture and a major center of learning in the Middle Ages,” this venerable institution of the Armenian Apostolic Church was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1996. The monastery was founded by Saint Nishan (Sourb Nshan) in the 10th century during the reign of King Abas I. The nearby monastery at Sanahin was built around the same time. Sanahin Monastery is an Armenian monastery founded in the 10th century in the Lori Province of Armenia. The name Sanahin literally translates from Armenian as “this one is older than that one,” presumably representing a claim to having an older monastery than the neighboring Haghpat Monastery. The two villages and their monasteries are similar in many ways and lie in plain view of each other on a dissected plateau formation, separated by a deep “crack” formed by a small river flowing into the Debed river. The monasteries at Haghpat and Sanahin were chosen as UNESCO World Heritage Sites because: “The two monastic complexes represent the highest flowering of Armenian religious architecture, whose unique style developed from a blending of elements of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture and the traditional vernacular architecture of the Caucasian region.” As with Haghpat, Sanahin is frequented by an increasing number of tourists, due to its recent inclusion on the itineraries of numerous Armenian tour agencies, the beauty of its monastery complex matching that of Haghpat’s. The complex belongs to the Armenian Apostolic Church with numerous khachkars (stones with elaborate engravings representing a cross) and bishop gravesites scattered throughout it.
    Links: Monasterieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haghpat_Monastery,
  7. Garni
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           Garni is a village in the Kotayk Province of Armenia, situated approximately 28 km southeast from Yerevan.
    Links: Temples, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garni,
  8. Armavir
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           Armavir is a city located in western Armenia. The 1989 census reported that the city had a total population of 46,900, but this has declined considerably: the 2001 census counted 32,034; estimate for 2008 is 26,387. The city of Armavir in Russia, founded by Armenians in the 19th century, was named after this city. The city was known as Hoktemberyan, Hoktemberian, or Oktemberyan during the Soviet era up to 1992, and Sardarabad, Sardarapat or Sardar-Apad before 1932.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armavir,_Armenia,
  9. Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenia,