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Best attractions in Armenia

In Armenia there are many beautifully preserved ancient churches and monasteries contrasting with the churches of modern construction. A huge number of museums scattered all over Armenia open up completely new sides of the country’s history for the tourist unfamiliar with it. You can get acquainted with the numerous wonders of the country through guides in Yerevan. You do not know what to see in Armenia? We created a list of popular places of this country especially for you, where we included the most interesting sights of Armenia.

What to see in Armenia first of all

A little advice for those who are interested in excursions in Armenia - do not try to visit several cities in one day and see dozens of monasteries, cathedrals and natural parks. It is better to choose the places that interest you most and pay more attention to them, so that the memories of each of them remain in your memory. Now in more detail about the sights of the country.

1. Caraunge Observatory (city of Sisian)

The mysterious megalithic complex of Karahunj

If you don’t want to travel far to see one of the “places of power,” go to Armenia. The 223 stones, each weighing about 10 tons, arranged vertically - this mysterious monument of antiquity on the territory of Armenia even now causes many disputes about its origin. The most popular theory is that it is an ancient observatory. Even older than the English Stonehenge. Some historians attribute its age to 5 thousand years, others to 7 thousand years. Scientists have concluded that Karahunge was also used as a temple of the sun god, which was worshiped by the ancient Armenians, and as a university. Under one of the stones decorations and swords were found. This suggested that Karahunj was a cemetery for warriors.

Zorats Karer, Zorakarer (Mighty Stones), Goshun Dan - so also called Karahunj - is located two hundred kilometers from the capital of Armenia, near the town of Sisian at an altitude of over one and a half thousand kilometers. The whole complex occupies an area of about 14 soccer fields. Many of the stones have a hole in the upper part - through these holes ancient scientists observed the celestial bodies. The stones are arranged in a circle. Near the complex are the remains of ancient dwellings and other historical artifacts.

You can go here not only to quench your thirst for learning new things, but also to feel real peace and tranquility.

Official site:

2. St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral (Yerevan)

St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Yerevan

When traveling in Armenia, be sure to visit St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral. It is one of the largest cathedrals erected in memory of St. Gregory the Illuminator. It was he who gave the basis for the spread of Christianity in the country.

Construction was started in 1997 to commemorate the 1700th anniversary of the introduction of Christianity in Armenia and was completed in 2001. Today it is the most significant structure among the attractions of the city. The temple keeps relics and relics of a saint that were brought back to the homeland from Italy.

The sights of Armenia are notable for their severity. St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral is no exception. When it was erected, the strict ascetic style was followed. The building has angular forms and is decorated with niches and triangular arches. In order to emphasize the contrasts, strict colors were chosen. On the walls you will not find any paintings. Inside the temple, on the contrary, everything is very bright and light. It widens the space.

The complex consists of a cathedral and two churches. The buildings are very high. Because of this they can be seen from all corners of the city. The cathedral and churches can accommodate 1700 people simultaneously.

For tourists St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral is a unique landmark. For locals it is a symbol of the spirituality of the people, the preservation of their faith and unity.

3. Goshavank Monastery (the village of Ghosh)

The Goshavank Monastery is a medieval monastery complex

If you are looking for something to see in Armenia, go to Goshavank Monastery. It is one of the most popular attractions. The monastery is located 22 kilometers from Dilijan bus station. It is a medieval complex, which is surrounded by deep oak forests. No walls were built around the monastery, so it is surrounded by simple rural buildings. The monastery is built in the classical style. Here you will not see pretentious decorative elements. But that’s what makes it beautiful - its severity and minimalism.

The first church of this site in Armenia is the church of Astvatsatsin. It is notable for its original artistic decor and rich interior. Nearby is the building of the book repository with a belltower. On the western side of it there is a room which was intended for classes and holding refectory. It was a center that combined both faith and knowledge in one place.

The monastery is famous for its khachkars (stone steles) made with special reverence and skill. They are considered to be the most beautiful in Armenia. The patterns on the stones seem to be embroidered. The unique technique of fulfillment is striking.

Nowadays the monastery complex is a reserve, the church is not functioning in it. But it is one of the favorite places to visit for tourists and locals.

Official site:

4. Lake Sevan (Gavar city)

Large and beautiful highland Lake Sevan

While traveling in Armenia, don’t forget to take a walk along the coast of Lake Sevan. This lake is 8 km away from the city of Gavar, at an altitude of 1900 meters. The name Sevan comes from the Urartian language Sunia and means “lake.

The rich fauna of the lake feeds the entire population of the country. Sevan trout and silver carp are a regular catch for fishermen. The Sevan basin is a state park with the same name. It includes nature reserves and sanctuaries, where Armenian gulls settle. The territory freed as a result of the decrease in the lake’s water level is planted with trees and bushes.

The cross-stone cemetery on the shore of Lake Sevan is included in the category of “Armenia’s must-see sights”. The burials are located in the village of Noratus. Here artifacts older than 2000 years were discovered. Now they are kept in a museum in Yerevan.

Once there, explore the ancient architecture of such monasteries as Sevanavank, Ayrivank, Vanavank and Kotavank. Walking around the Lake Sevan you will surely feel the spirit of time of different epochs and nations. The calm water surface and surrounding landscape will forever remain in your pleasant memories.

5. Matenadaran (Yerevan city)

The world's largest depository of ancient manuscripts Matenadaran

Historical sites of Armenia have always attracted a large number of tourists. The museum of ancient manuscripts in Yerevan should top the list of must-see places in this country. This fascinating collection of ancient manuscripts resonates not only with scholars who come here with academic aims but also with ordinary visitors. Here one can see the first translations of the Bible into Armenian, works on medicine, geometry and history. Strikingly beautiful miniatures and titles, made by ancient artists, elegant covers, made of precious metals, will make you forget about the XXI century buzzing outside the window for a long time.

In addition to the stunning age of the books, the stories of how they came to this day are also awe-inspiring. The core of the collection is the collection of books from Etchmiadzin monastery. But many copies were passed down from generation to generation as the greatest family value for centuries.

Here there are books written in different languages, created by representatives of different religions. All this treasure has about 17 thousand exhibits.

In this wonderful place you can realize yourself as a part of human history, absorb the powerful energy of wisdom of hundreds of previous generations and become its conductor to the future.

Matenadaran is the best answer to the question of what to see in Armenia in the first place.

Official website:

Be sure to watch this beautiful video about Armenia!

6. Mount Ararat (Armenian Highlands, Turkey)

Monastery on the background of the sacred Mount Ararat

Any native to Armenia will answer the guest’s question “What to see in Armenia?” - Mount Ararat. It is the main symbol of Armenia, despite the fact that Ararat is located on the territory of Turkey. According to legend, Noah’s Ark found its last resting place at the foot of the mountain. To this day on a volcanic massif the search for its remains continues, but so far they are inconclusive. Despite the common name of Ararat, natives are used to calling the mountain Masis. If you want to see the sights of Armenia, you simply can’t do without a visit to Mount Ararat.

The height of the peak is 5165 meters, so to climb it you need to prepare carefully. The first attempt to conquer the peak was made in 1829. Today, however, the climbing program is available to all who wish to participate in a special tourist program. There is a version that Ararat is a former volcano, which for the past few thousand years is considered extinct. During the last eruption, accompanied by downpours and mudslides, the settlement of Arguri was destroyed. At the foot of the mountain is a national park, which occupies an area of about 90 thousand hectares, which includes not only two mountain peaks, but also the area where, according to legend, crashed the biblical ark.

7. The Blue Mosque (city of Yerevan)

The Blue Mosque is a silent witness to history

Never do tours in Yerevan without a visit to the Blue Mosque. It is the only functioning Muslim temple in the country. Having a great architectural and historical value, this building has become a symbol of Iranian-Armenian friendship.

It is difficult to find other places of interest in Armenia that have such a size. The total area once allocated for the construction of the temple is 7 thousand square meters. The high (unfortunately, today is the only one) minaret rises as much as 24 meters above the ground.

The Blue Mosque is a very peaceful and spiritual place. The locals are convinced that here you can find the much desired peace and tranquility for your soul.

The library of the mosque offers daily instruction in Persian. Islamic values and attributes associated with the erection of the mosque can be seen today in several exhibition halls of the temple. The building is decorated in the traditional Muslim style. The minaret itself and the domes are decorated with faience tiles with majolica.

The Blue Mosque is an ideal place to rest for those who want to hide from the scorching local sun in the shade of apricot trees, admire the rose bushes and think about the eternal.

Despite the fact that most people in Armenia are Christians, the Blue Mosque is treated with respect by the locals. People of different religions love to visit this attraction.

Official website:

8. Aram Khachaturian Museum (Yerevan)

The house-museum of Aram Khachaturian - the repository of the great composer's fame

While exploring the streets of Yerevan, be sure to visit the museum of Armenian musician and author of many musical works Aram Khachaturian. For his services to his homeland the Armenian leaders decided to create a museum in honor of the honorary citizen.

The basis for the museum was the house, where Aram lived, when he was passing through Yerevan. The shape of the mansion hadn’t undergone any particular changes, only a two-storey annex in the garden was added. The facade was transformed by five massive arches that resembled tuning forks.

The composer only had time to approve the plan for the future museum, but he did not live to see it open. The current director of the museum is the outstanding pianist Armine Grigoryan.

Music evenings and festivals, meetings with figures of culture and various exhibitions are constantly held within the walls of this great Armenian landmark.

While visiting the museum you will see Aram’s private study, his bedroom, the dining-room and, of course, the grand piano, on which the talented musician composed and played. You’ll also get to see many things, from his conducting stick to his personal letters. Every year the museum receives valuable exhibits from around the world, in one way or another related to Aram Khachaturian.

Official website:

9. Yerevan Brandy Factory (Yerevan city)

Sightseeing in Armenia - Yerevan Brandy Factory

The Yerevan Brandy Factory is the leading producer of alcoholic drinks in Armenia. Its history started in 1887, when it was founded by merchant Nerses Tairov. Twelve years later the factory was taken over by Nikolay Shustov. Nowadays the factory is the leader in spirits export in Armenia. Many of the beverages produced are up to 20 years old, such as “Nairi”, “Vaspurakan”, “Armenia”, “25” and “Dvin”. There are also unique brands of cognac in Yenakiieve Cognac Factory’s stock, which are made and bottled in limited edition according to special recipes. Such drinks cannot be bought on the supermarket shelves, among them “Erebuni”, “Cilicia”, “Noah’s Ark” and others.

The production of the Yerevan Brandy Factory is exported to 25 countries of the world and has 47 registered trademarks. According to the locals, the best way to get to know Armenia is to visit the factory. You can go on a fascinating tour and see the production of alcoholic beverages from the inside. If you have decided to see the sights of Armenia, the cognac factory will be a great start for a trip around the country and get acquainted with its culture.

Official website:

10. Khor Virap Monastery (Mount Ararat)

The ascetic beauty of Khor Virap Monastery

Near Mount Ararat rises the ancient monastery of Khor Virap. The two popular sights complement each other. According to legend, Noah’s ark ran aground on Mount Ararat. Khor Virap is located on the territory of the former capital of Armenia, Artashat.

The foundation of the monastery is an underground prison where the king imprisoned St. Gregory the Illuminator for 15 years. After the adoption of Christianity by Armenia, the monastery became the center of spiritual development. Divine services were held in the church on the territory of the monastery. And today the monastery is considered to be one of the most frequently visited places for pilgrimages.

Access to the underground prison is open to every visitor, the entrance is through the chapel of St. Gregory. A chapel was originally erected around the underground prison and later the monastery itself.

Don’t hesitate to go see these legendary ancient sights of Armenia. Going down the winding stairs to the depth of 6 meters in the underground, any tourist will feel how hard it was for the prisoner here, because the width of the room is only 4.4 meters. After such a journey, you will have enough impressions to last you for a year.

Armenian sights: what else to see while in Armenia

However tempting it is to see all the interesting sights by yourself, it is better to be accompanied by guides in Armenia. You can discuss your itinerary with them, taking into account the information that you will get from our descriptions of tourist sites in the country.

11. Tatev Monastery (Goris)

Medieval Tatev Monastery in Armenia

Tatev Monastery is an entire complex of monasteries located 20 kilometers from the village of Goris. For many centuries, the complex has been the main focus of spirituality in Armenia’s historic region of Syunik.

This complex is a real treasure for tourists. Here is the dwelling place of the monks of Tatevi Anapat, the “Wings of Tatev” suspended rope route (the money received from the visit goes to the revival of the entire complex), a natural bridge, and caves. The interesting sights of Armenia are gathered in one place. At the end of the 20th century, Tatev Monastery was even considered for inclusion in the list of UNESCO.

In the times of the prosperity of Syunik under the vaults of the monastery lived more than ten hundred people. The monastery existed by collecting tribute from the surrounding villages. In the Middle Ages on its territory was formed a school of miniature, which served as a noticeable development of the population.

The complex was quite destroyed after the earthquake of 1931. At the moment, the restoration process is still underway, but there is no ban on visits.

While on the grounds of the monastery, conduct a fascinating exploration of the temples and the tomb.

12. Selim Caravanserai (city of Yerevan)

The preserved Selim Caravanserai in Yerevan

The winding serpentine Selim Pass is a favorite route for tourists traveling in Armenia. The pass is located at an altitude of 2500 meters. Due to heavy rainfall in winter it is almost impossible to get there, so you should plan your trek in late spring, summer or autumn.

There is a highway through the pass, on which travelers travel from Yerevan to Lake Sevan and back. On the way you will meet a beautiful view of the valley, drowned in green grass and cut by many streams. You will succeed in catching a glimpse of Mount Ararat. As you go you will find yourself at the bottom level of a narrow gorge, where the famous Selim caravanserai is built.

In the distant past the silk road passed here and Selim caravanserai was the lodging for caravans going to Europe. In the 15th century, the caravanserai was destroyed but was rebuilt again in the mid-20th century. Armenia’s oldest sites are fascinating to look at. Selim Caravanserai is one of them.

The structure made of basalt includes a hall divided into rooms for people and animals to sleep in. Once here, one can imagine how people used to rest after a long journey.

13. Tsitsernakaberd, Museum of the Armenian Genocide (Yerevan city)

Museum of the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan

Going on a trip and making a route for yourself what to visit in Armenia, do not ignore the Armenian Genocide Museum. It is located in Yerevan. The museum was opened in 1995 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the terrible tragedy, which Armenians mourn to this day. Around 1.5 million Armenians were exterminated in the period between 1915 and 1917. This museum was established to commemorate this tragedy.

Its building is built on the mountain, on its slope. Here the memorial of memory is located. A magnificent view of Mount Ararat opens from the roof of the museum complex. In the center of the courtyard of the museum is a memorial stele of stone.

The museum itself is unique. Its building is completely buried in the ground. According to the idea, it should represent a tomb, and its internal structure - the circles of hell.

All the expositions of the museum have been gathered with great difficulty. Many archival documents were destroyed or are still classified. The main part of the museum consists of three halls. The first one is a huge map of Armenian Highland, which is carved on the wall. The settlements where most of the people were massacred are marked here. Photo archives of the peaceful time before the genocide are presented. The second room displays books and photos. In the third hall are demographic tables showing the number of the dead.

The purpose of the museum as an Armenian landmark is not only to commemorate the victims, but also to clearly show the enormity of what happened to prevent such tragedies.

Official website:

14. Smbataberd fortress (Artabuynk village)

Ruins of Smbataberd Fortress

The fortress is located east of the village of Artabuink in Vayots Dzor County. Located on a hill, it is a medieval fortification built on the site of a 5th century observation post. Most historians believe that the fortress was named after Prince Smbat Orbelian, a ruler of the 13th century. He was a skilled warrior, knew five languages, and was a diplomat of innate talent.

The lack of dense stands of trees in this area was advantageous to the builders of the Smbataberd fortress, because it made it impossible to storm the defensive structure. The thick walls were difficult to breach, and the enemies did not want to fight on the empty territory, where there was not a single tree.

When the siege came, the fortress would not surrender. The enemies did not know that the fortress had a secret water supply and there were many stores of provisions inside. Thanks to this, difficult times were able to survive.

Destroyed fortress tried to restore (in 2006-2007), but a significant part of it was not restored. It is very easy to reach the site in Armenia. You can get here on foot, walking 2 km to the east from the village Artabuynk.

15. Sanahin Monastery (Sanahin village, Alaverdi city)

An outstanding monument of Armenian architecture Sanahin Monastery

The Sanahin Monastery is one of Armenia’s most inaccessible beauties. After all, to get here, you have to overcome about two kilometers on foot.

The location of the monastery was chosen deliberately. Monks who wanted to avoid the disgrace of the Byzantine ruler Roman Lakapin were hidden here. Erected in X century, the monastery later was not only a place of residence of the clergymen, but also a school, an academy. The famous scientists of the Middle Ages taught there.

Many sites in Armenia, and the monastery of Sanahin among them, are famous for their beauty, as well as for the excellent preservation. This construction was repeatedly damaged during earthquakes, but each time it was restored by caring people. The place was fully restored in 1996 and was then recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Being here, it’s impossible not to look at the building in the center, around which the others are located. Surb Astvatsatsin is a restored domed temple made of blocks of basalt. Inside the small temple there are restored frescoes. Other churches in the complex are Amenaprkich, the chapel of Sourb Grigor.

16. Yerevan cascade (Yerevan)

Square on the approach to the Cascade on the slopes of Kanaker hills in Yerevan Dmitry Karyshev

Gentle sun, beautiful scenery, magnificent mountains, amazingly delicious national cuisine and hospitality of the people beckon the guests to radiant Armenia. What to see in May if you have a trip in May? In late spring, when the flowerbeds are in bloom and the greenery is in full bloom, you should visit the Cascade in Yerevan, which is surrounded by a beautiful park. It is a unique architectural complex, which is designed to connect the two parts of the city. Magnificently decorated staircases, picturesque fountains, colorful flowerbeds and a variety of sculptures along the Kanaker hills form a peculiar cascade linking the lower and upper parts of Yerevan. In the upper point of the Cascade there is an observation deck from which breathtaking views of the city open against the background of the horizon, decorated with the fringe of the Small and Large Ararat. The total length of the Cascade composition is 0.5 km and the difference between the heights is about 100 meters.

Official website:

17. Geghard Monastery (Kotayk region)

A top view of Geghard Monastery complex among the cliffs of the Gokht mountain river gorge in Armenia

Geghard Monastery Complex is a marvelous architectural structure and the main thing Armenia is famous for in Kotayk Marz. The monastery is located about half an hour from the capital, in the beautiful gorge of the Gokht River, where pilgrimage tours are often held. It is believed that St. George the Illuminator founded the monastery in the 4th century AD, on the site of a sacred spring, which to this day is located near the monastery and gives the purest water. Some of the monastery’s buildings were hollowed out right inside the rocks, while others are complex structures, partly walled and partly sunken into the firmament of the cliff. The monastery also has another, more modern name, Geghardavank (Monastery of the Spear), derived from the spear of Longinus, which pierced the body of God’s Son after his execution. In the 13th century the Apostle Thaddeus brought the spear to Armenia and today it is kept in the Armenian Museum of Echmiadzin.

18. Echmiadzin Cathedral (Vagharshapat)

Echmiadzin Cathedral is one of the ancient Christian temples of the planet Vigen Hakhverdyan

Each branch of Christianity has its own revered shrines. If we talk about the holy places in Armenia the most important of them is Echmiadzin Cathedral. The ancient city of Vagharshpat, where the cathedral is located, is the largest hearth of Christian culture in Armenia: Christianity was recognized here as a state religion as early as the 4th century. In the past centuries walls of Etchmiadzin Cathedral were covered with frescos with scenes from Holy Scripture and images of especially revered saints but a part of paintings was lost with time. As a result of careful restoration in the 20th century, fragments of paintings were renewed, and many structural elements were reinforced. On the side of the temple you can visit the buildings, set aside for museum exhibits. Their collections include paintings by famous Armenian artists, embroidered vestments, church utensils, staffs, crosses and other valuable church attributes.

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19. Mihra Temple in Garni

Pagan temple in Garni, dedicated to the sun god Mihr, in Armenia

If you look at the sights of Armenia on the map, then about 30 kilometers from Yerevan you can see the only pagan temple of Armenia, built after the adoption of Christianity. It was devoted to one of the most worshipped gods in Ancient Armenia, Mihra, after whom it was named. This unique object is situated near the village of Garni, right above the gorge of the river Azat. The temple is built of smoothly hewn blocks of basalt, fastened with staples and pins, following the model of Hellenistic architecture. Nine high and massive steps run the length of the facade and the pylons on either side of the stairs are covered with reliefs depicting Atlanteans sitting on one knee with uplifted hands and supporting altars. The size of the temple is rather small - only the statue of the deity was placed here, and the temple itself was intended only for the royal family. In the vicinity there are ancient historical monuments - the ruins of an ancient fortress, a royal palace and a bath, built in the 3rd century.

20. The church of St. Hripsime (Vagharshapat)

The 17th-century Church of Saint Hripsime at the entrance to the city of Vagharshapat in Armenia D-man

The ancient city of Vagharshapat, Armenia belongs to the category of the world’s major shrines and treasures of mankind. The top attractions in this city are crowned by the 7th-century St. Hripsime Church, part of the Echmiadzin monastery complex. Inside are the relics of Saint Hripsime, who was brutally murdered by pagans. Supposedly in 301 A.D. several Christian girls came to Armenia from a Roman monastery, Hripsime was among them. She so captivated the Roman emperor with her beauty that he proposed marriage to her. The girl, who refused, was forced to hide from the monarch’s anger in Armenia. The Armenian emperor, also enraptured by Hripsime’s beauty, had the same desire, but was rejected, for which he ordered all the girls who arrived to be executed. This cruelty caused the emperor to be possessed by demons, from which he was cured by Gregory the Illuminator - the Son of God appeared to this saint in a dream, who indicated the place for building a temple in honor of Hripsime.

Armenia to the north borders on Georgia, a country of proud but hospitable people, where wine flows like a river, and the mountain landscapes are so beautiful that almost all prominent Russian writers have mentioned them in their works! While in Armenia, think about visiting Georgia. Read about Georgia sights and get inspired for your future journey through the Caucasus region!