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View of the Akhtala Monastery, located in the beautiful Debed Canyon that is dotted with many UNESCO World Heritage monasteries.

Armenia

Look no further, Armenia is the oldest surviving Christian country. Initially, I also had the impression that it was somewhere else. With so much history on its belt, Armenia is full of UNESCO sites, culture and stories. Almost every church in Armenia is at least hundreds of years old, and some even thousands of years old. If you are a fan of history, there is so much to see, both ancient and modern.

View of the Akhtala Monastery, located in the beautiful Debed Canyon that is dotted with many UNESCO World Heritage monasteries.

In Armenia, you will definitely without doubt be “churched-out” from the immense number of beautiful churches. Each church is unique in its own way, and has its set of beautiful fresco art and artefacts. However, there are simply too many stunning churches and you will not be able to see them all. The best advice? Pick a few that you are interested in, and plan your trip in Armenia around them.

Almost everything touristic revolves around Armenia’s Christian culture. As you make your way through the country to visit the different churches, you will pass stunning scenery and landscapes. In Armenia, the monasteries are always built in absolutely gorgeous places. As such, you will spend as much time admiring the scenery as the churches themselves. I visited Armenia in autumn and the landscapes were beautiful. Every church was wrapped in intense red autumn leaves, and the surrounding forested hills were waving in colourful tones of red and yellow.

However, Armenia is not all just about churches. Armenia also has an extremely unfortunate history, and there are many reminders of its grief and suffering around the country. Visit the Armenian Genocide museum in the capital Yerevan to appreciate the extent of their suffering. Sadly, there are still many countries that neither recognise the genocide nor the atrocities committed against Armenians. Everyday, Armenians are reminded of the eventual reunion of “Greater Armenia”, an Armenia that includes massive parts of its neighbouring countries. For example, the beautiful snow mountain (Mount Ararat) that sticks out of Yerevan’s skyline is something that Armenians see everyday, but today belongs to Turkey.

One thing I admire Armenia is the loyalty of its people towards their country. Armenia has one of the largest diasporas in the world, and you can meet Armenians in every country. Despite leaving the country more than a hundred of years ago, these Armenians still speak and write their language, and are proud to announce their heritage. Everyone has this desire that one day, they will be able to return to their country. Hopefully they will.

View from the Smbataberd Fortress overlooking the Yeghegis valley at sunset.

This is Armenia, the world’s oldest Christian civilisation and still burning strong. It is a country full of determination, optimism and zest for life. Despite being surrounded by not-so-friendly neighbours, Armenia survives and is definitely not the least afraid!

The map below marks the places that I have visited in Armenia. Hover over them to see the names of these places. Soon, you will be able to click on them to discover what exactly these places are!

Learn more about what you can do in Armenia through some of my articles about travel in Armenia below:

View of the buildings in the centre of Yerevan that are built using bricks made from volcanic rock.

5 things to do in Armenia

Armenia is a small country yet has enough things to see that warrants more than just a hurried visit. Travelling ...
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View of the main church hall of the Sanahin Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Debed Canyon.

Your guide to Armenia: The church edition

A trip to Armenia is not complete without visiting at least one of its beautiful monasteries. In fact, it is ...
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Check out my destinations page to see where else have I written about! You should also look at my travel footprints page to see where I have travelled to.