Embarking on a Road-Trip
One of the most rewarding experiences in Armenia can be had through a simple road-trip. Armenia is a small coutry littered with ancient remains and stunning natural sceneries around every corner. Our favorite roadtrip is undoubtedly along along the ancient Silk Road routes of the nation, through plateaus of ruins, shores of lakes and over high passes. Precarious fortresses, majestic monasteries, and ancient mysteries also make their mark, no doubt holding endless stories within their stones. Read our story below of our north to south traverse of Armenia along the ancient routes.
Visiting Ancient Monasteries
There is something surreal about the monasteries of Armenia. With many standing for over a thousand years, their stone halls still echoe the glories and agonies of the past. Most are situated in dramatic locations, such as Tatev and Noravank, while others hold legends that seem to defy logic, such as Khor Virap and Geghard. They all evoke an inner peace and a reflection on what is important in life. Hundreds stand proudly in Armenia, each unique yet coherent. Read below to find out what we believe to be the ten best monasteries in the nation.
➨ 10 Best Monasteries in Armenia
Wandering the Small Villages
As pleasant as the capital is with its creative parks and bountiful cafes, the real charm in Armenia lies in the small villages. There life slows to a crawl, where the simplest of tasks and ideas take forefront. In the small, wine-producing village of Areni, we made a new family after just spending a few days there, In the sleepy village of Yeghegis, the medieval remants scattered around reminded us of its former importance. In the village of Tatev, in-grown hospitality made us feel welcome in the spiritual heart of southern Armenia. Read the story below to hear of our favorite experience in the small villages of Armenia - the Grapes of Love.
Experiencing Unforgettable Hospitality
After every visit of Armenia, we come away with the same impression - Armenians are truly a generous and hospitable people. Even though experiencing their hospitality is not something you can actively do by schedule, with an open itinerary and willingness to interact and befriend the locals, it is early a guarantee you will come away with a genuine interaction - and possibly a handful of treats. We are still blown away by some acts of love they displayed to us, such as offering to drive us hours to see Lake Sevan to a priest of a monastery offering his food and a bed for us to rest. Read our favorite experience below - Banquet Among Strangers.
Reflecting on Armenia's Past
Armenian's unending hospitality to strangers amazes even more when learning about and considering their tragic past. Learning about the past and how it shapes the future is crucial for any countryin order to gain a better understanding and appreciation. For Armenia, one of the best places to start is at the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, a sombering visit reflecting on the horrors that happened at the beggining of the 20th century. A two hour drive north to Gyumri is another worthwhile venture to their even more recent past, as Armenia's second largest city is still reeling from the affects of the earthquake in 1988. Going further back into history, a visit to Khor Virap Monastery on the slopes of Ararat is also enlightening as dungeons of Saint Gregory still hold stories of how Armenia changed from pagan to Christian in the third century.