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Location: Yerevan

Day 1 - 9 Jun 2021

Kilikia Bus Station

Yerevan, Kilikia Bus Station

Content: Often overlooked as a holiday destination, Armenia it is the perfect place for a unique 3-4 day long weekend or an add-on to a Georgia trip. Going from Tbilisi to Yerevan by bus or “marshrutka” (a minibus still popular throughout the post-Soviet countries) is cheaper, faster and allows you to witness some beautiful views along the way. The 5h trip it definitely feels like an adventure because of the quality of the roads and the occasional speeding drivers. We arrived in Yerevan at the Central Bus Station, often referred to as Kilikia Bus Station and a took a Russian Lada car taxi to the hotel. These cars are seen here everywhere reflecting the strong bonds Armenia and Russia had in the past during the times of Soviet Union but also still today.

Mashtots Hotel

Yerevan, Mashtots Hotel
Yerevan, Mashtots Hotel
Yerevan, Mashtots Hotel

Content: I stayed to this small and simple, yet so clean and excellent situated hotel, within few minutes walk from the city centre. The room was small but perfect for few days to spend in Yerevan. Breakfast was included and it was ready to order and pretty good I’d say. The staff, especially Naira from the reception, were very welcoming and organized some lovely tailored day trips.

Armenian Opera Theatre

Yerevan, Armenian Opera Theatre

Content: After checking in, we decided to go explore a bit of the city. On the way, we saw the Armenian National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Located in the heart of Yerevan, the building is another masterpiece of Alexander Tamanyan, that was awarded the Grand Prize at the World Exhibition in Paris.

Northern Avenue

Yerevan, Northern Avenue
Yerevan, Northern Avenue
Yerevan, Northern Avenue

Content: Later on, we strolled along Northern Avenue, a nice pedestrian street to shop around, to eat or to hangout, connecting Armenian Opera Theatre and Freedom Square to Abovyan Street and Republic Square. You can feel the vibe of the city while having a beer or some snacks in one of the cafes around. Tip: Try “La Piazza” for some good pesto pasta

Abovyan Street

Yerevan, Abovyan Street

Content: Could not miss Abovyan Street, one of my favourites in Yerevan. It was the very first street that appeared on the city plan of Yerevan. Note: When passing by Café de Paris, hold your breath if you are in a hurry. Otherwise, you will have to stop by and get some coffee even if you are not planning to.

Holy Mother of God Kathoghike Church

Yerevan, Holy Mother of God Kathoghike Church

Content: Walking down the Abovyan Street, found this gem which is a small medieval church that dates back to 1264, according to the scripts carved on one of the walls.

Ararat Pandok

Yerevan, Ararat Pandok
Yerevan, Ararat Pandok
Yerevan, Ararat Pandok

Content: We stumbled upon this place while looking for a place for dinner and loved it. The service was great and and there was also Armenian live music and great traditional food to try. In addition, the prices were highly reasonable. Note: The place is called Ararat Tavern on Google Maps (Pandok is Tavern in Armenian)

Calumet

Yerevan, Calumet

Content: It’s a cool ethnic lounge bar recommended by a local with chill vibes and an international crowd. The downside of it is that you’ll reek of cigarettes (smoking inside is allowed in Armenia)

Location: Yerevan

Day 2 - 10 Jun 2021

Malocco Cafe Cascade

Yerevan, Malocco Cafe Cascade

Content: Curious to explore the city, we started the day with a great coffee at this friendly neighborhood cafe. Apart from multiple coffee variants, they have a good range of pastries, bread, cupcakes and other desserts on offer.

Cascade Complex

Yerevan, Cascade Complex
Yerevan, Cascade Complex
Yerevan, Cascade Complex
Yerevan, Cascade Complex
Yerevan, Cascade Complex

Content: After I got my iced Americano, we were ready to go check city’s biggest attraction, Cascade Complex. At first sight it is difficult to define its genre: it is neither a monument nor a building. It’s a huge stairway made of limestone where the youths gather for drinks, where all open-air concerts are held and where you can capture best panorama of Yerevan. It’s basically the beaten heart of the city.

Blue Mosque

Yerevan, Blue Mosque

Content: A piece of Persia in Armenia, Blue Mosque is an 18th century Shia mosque and the only mosque standing in Armenia. The rest are either deserted or destroyed.

St. Hovhannes Church | Սուրբ Հովհաննես Մկրտիչ եկեղեցի

Yerevan, St. Hovhannes Church | Սուրբ Հովհաննես Մկրտիչ եկեղեցի

Content: Armenia is the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion and you can easily notice this through the many churches around the country.

Kond Pedestrian Tunnel

Yerevan, Kond Pedestrian Tunnel
Yerevan, Kond Pedestrian Tunnel

Content: Descending into Kond Pedestrian Tunnel, we cross the city in an unusual manner. It’s one of the fun and unusual things to do while in Yerevan. You have to walk through a sketchy parking lot to get here, but it’s a pretty cool tunnel and it makes for some real cool pictures

Arno Babajanyan Street

Yerevan, Arno Babajanyan Street
Yerevan, Arno Babajanyan Street
Yerevan, Arno Babajanyan Street
Yerevan, Arno Babajanyan Street
Yerevan, Arno Babajanyan Street

Content: Yerevan, aka “The Pink City”, gets its pretty pink hue from tuff, the rosy volcanic rock that was used to construct many of the city’s buildings. We saw also some old buildings made of black tuff, considered to be national stone for Armenians. Fact: Yerevan is 29 years older than Rome and it’s one of the oldest cities in the world. Tip: Take a Free Walking Tour (it lasts about 3-4 hours) to see the highlights of the city and have your reusable water bottle with you to fill it up at pulpulaks (free water fountains). P.S. Although it’s a free walking tour, I do recommend to do tip your guide

EL Sky Bar

Yerevan, EL Sky Bar
Yerevan, EL Sky Bar
Yerevan, EL Sky Bar
Yerevan, EL Sky Bar
Yerevan, EL Sky Bar
Yerevan, EL Sky Bar
Yerevan, EL Sky Bar

Content: We finished our city tour at El Sky Bar, with a beautiful view, excellent atmosphere and some nice cocktails in the Yerevan night breeze.

Location: Ararat Valley

Day 3 - 11 Jun 2021

Khor Virap (Խոր Վիրապ)

Ararat Valley, Khor Virap (Խոր Վիրապ)
Ararat Valley, Khor Virap (Խոր Վիրապ)
Ararat Valley, Khor Virap (Խոր Վիրապ)

Content: After exploring the capital city, we booked a day trip from Yerevan to go to Ararat Valley, the country orchard, where the famous Armenian apricots come from. A glorious view of Mount Ararat opens from the Khor Virap Monastery, Armenia’s most sacred monastery, primarily due to the legend of Saint Gregory the Illuminator who was imprisoned for 13 years in Khor Virap's dungeon before succeeding in the conversion of King Tiridates (Trdat) the Great to Christianity in the first decades of the 4th century. Tip: Armenia is called “Land of Apricots” for a reason. Don’t leave the country without trying their delicious fruits.

Location: Garni

Day 3 - 11 Jun 2021

Garni Temple

Garni, Garni Temple
Garni, Garni Temple
Garni, Garni Temple
Garni, Garni Temple
Garni, Garni Temple
Garni, Garni Temple

Content: Temple of Garni, which was dedicated to the heathen sun god, Mitra, is the sole surviving pagan temple in Armenia and the only standing Greco-Roman colonnaded building in Armenia and the former Soviet Union. It’s a pretty impressive temple perched on a mountain plateau and surrounded by a beautiful gorge with breathtaking views. Note: At the entrance of the temple, you can try the Armenian colorful homemade traditional sweets from dried fruits, “churchkhela” and “Gata” bread, a traditional mildly-sweet Armenian pastry filled with a walnut paste and with a shiny glaze crust from the village of Garni and Geghard.

Noah’s Garden Maran

Garni, Noah’s Garden Maran
Garni, Noah’s Garden Maran
Garni, Noah’s Garden Maran

Content: We took a lunch break to this place to watch and join a “lavash”, a thin flatbread usually leavened, traditionally baked in a tandoor (tonir) or a saj, making demonstration, learning how to make this Armenian staple. Making “lavash” with this cute joyful lady was one of the best authentic experiences I had.

Location: Geghard

Day 3 - 11 Jun 2021

Geghard Monastery (Գեղարդի տաճար)

Geghard, Geghard Monastery (Գեղարդի տաճար)
Geghard, Geghard Monastery (Գեղարդի տաճար)
Geghard, Geghard Monastery (Գեղարդի տաճար)
Geghard, Geghard Monastery (Գեղարդի տաճար)

Content: Combined with a visit to the Temple of Garni, the Geghard Monastery offers a historical reflection of Armenia’s transition from Paganism to Christianity. It is placed in a lush landscape of towering cliffs & verdant vegetation, the monastic complex extending into the rock face, with churches & chapels carved into the mountain stone. This place was definitely the highlight of my trip. Naira, our lovely guide sang a traditional Armenian song inside Karoghike chapel and her voice and the place along with the song and the acoustics I must tell you it gave me goosebumps, it was really impressive.

Location: Sevan

Day 3 - 11 Jun 2021

Lake Sevan | Սևանա լիճ

Sevan, Lake Sevan | Սևանա լիճ
Sevan, Lake Sevan | Սևանա լիճ

Content: After Garni and Geghard, we continued our day trip to Lake Sevan and Sevanavak monastery. One of the largest freshwater, alpine wetland in the world, Sevan lake is surrounded by mountains and the famous Sevanavank Monastery. The monastery was founded in 874 AD by Princess Mariam while Armenia was still under Arab rule. Note: Be sure to walk inside and check things out in addition to strolling the perimeter and feasting your eyes on Lake Sevan.

Location: Dilijan

Day 3 - 11 Jun 2021

Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex

Dilijan, Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex
Dilijan, Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex
Dilijan, Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex
Dilijan, Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex
Dilijan, Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex
Dilijan, Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex

Content: Dilijan is called Armenia’s “Little Switzerland” by the locals, due to the densely forested valleys and mountains with alpine meadows around. Since we love getting to new places, couldn’t miss the chance to visit the Haghartsin Monastery that is located in the breathtakingly beautiful Dilijan National Park, surrounded by beautiful forests on a mountainside. There is also a huge tree close by that has a hole in it, and any person can make a wish and pass through it, thus making their dream come true. Tip: On your way back stop by to grab some corn on the side of the road.

Location: Yerevan

Day 3 - 11 Jun 2021

Mamba

Yerevan, Mamba
Yerevan, Mamba

Content: In our last night in Yerevan, we went out for a drink to Mamba. The place has an elegant atmosphere and design and over 70 types of gin!!! The bartenders are doing a great mixes. Note: You should not miss it if you are a gin lover like me 😉

Location: Yerevan

Day 4 - 12 Jun 2021

Kilikia Bus Stop

Yerevan, Kilikia Bus Stop

Content: After 3 lovely days in Armenia, we had to leave the country to get back to Georgia for our flight to Turkey (you can check my Turkey trip in the next post) Naira, our Armenian lovely friend, was so helpful and called the bus station for us to ask all the details about schedule, tickets and everything. After breakfast, we took a taxi from the hotel and went to Kilikia Bus Station to take the bus back to Tbilisi. Being an underrated and unknown country to most people, I also didn’t expect Armenia to be such a pleasant surprise but it definitely was and would recommend this mystical ancient land to everyone who wants to find a rich cultural heritage where ancient sights and the friendly atmosphere abound.