Armenia is one of those countries that is full of raw and exciting things to see and do. Being that this country is not high on the bucket list for many travelers there is plenty things to do that will be unique and unlike anything that most people are used to. Armenia is full of beautifully constructed cathedrals, squares, and monasteries. A traveler could easily spend weeks exploring all that Armenia has to offer.In case you don’t have all the time in the world, here is a quick guide to some fun things to check out in Armenia.
Maybe one of the hottest visitor destinations, Republic Square is the perfect day time and night time area for visitors to have fun and to get a sense of the main city of Yerevan. During the day visitors can find cafes, shops, and gelato stands to relax in. People watching in the square is a great activity to take part in. the streets are made of stone and there is a great fountain that any one can admire. At night, that same fountain turns into a show. Music and lights are coordinated with the streams of water from the fountain, making it seem as if the fountain itself is dancing.
The Cascade Complex
Think of Rome’s Spanish Steps in Armenia and you have the Cascade Complex. This white staircase of hundreds of steps has been constructed into a hillside and has become a popular hangout spot. There are beautiful flower beds that line the outer railings of the staircase all the way to the top, where there is a WWI monument. There are fountains, statues, and art work that accompany this complex. If the stairs are too much for you to climb, there is an escalator on the inside that you can take to the top. Many people have begun to organize concerts at the complex adding one more perk to checking it out.
Another popular destination in Armenia is Khor Virap. This is the monastic complex where St. Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 13 years. He was held prisoner until he cured King Trdat III of disease. Since St. Gregory cured the king, the king was converted to Christianity and made Armenia the first Christian nation in the year 301. The monastery is in Ararat Valley and completes a pretty incredible view of Mt. Ararat. You can still go inside the monastery and see the Chamber where Gregory was held, but be careful as slips and falls are not uncommon.
Visiting the Garni Temple is highly recommended as it is an easy day trip to take from Yerevan. Taking a short drive to Garni Temple, which resembles the Parthenon a bit, is fun and offers a range of things to see. Not only will you see the reconstructed temple, which was damaged in the 1679 earthquake and rebuilt during the soviet area, but there are also old mosaic baths that you can see. If you are feeling very adventurous you can hike, or drive if you have a car, down to the Garni Gorge and then cross it to see the Havuts Tar Monastery.