Armenia

Armenia is a mountainous country in the South Caucasus, located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Located between the Black and Caspian Seas, the country is bordered on the north and east by Georgia and Azerbaijan, and on the south and west by Iran and Turkey. At the time of my visiting, its borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey were closed.

The native Armenian name for the country is Hayk’. The name has traditionally been derived from Hayk, the legendary patriarch of the Armenians and a great-great-grandson of Noah, who, according to the 5th-century AD author Moses of Chorene, defeated the Babylonian king Bel in 2492 BC and established his nation in the Ararat region.


EAST OF YEVERAN (GEGHARD MONASTERY)
A little more than an hour’s drive east from Yerevan is Geghard Monastery, named after the holy lance that pierced Christ’s side at the crucifixion.

NORTH OF YEREVAN (DILIJAN AND VANADZOR)
Third-largest city in Armenia and the capital of the Lori Province in the northern part of the country.

NORTH OF YEREVAN (SELIM AND SEVAN)
Including Selim Caravanserai, a 14th century travelers’ inn along the Silk Road and Sevan Monastery, high on a plateau overlooking Lake Sevan.

NORTHWEST OF YEREVAN (AMBERD)
The remains of the fortress are imposing, constructed on a ridge above the confluence of the Amberd and Arkashen streams.

SOUTH OF YEREVAN (KHOR VIRAB MONASTERY)
It was here that St. Gregory was kept in a snake pit for 12 years before curing King Trdat III of insanity, resulting in the king’s (and then the country’s) conversion to Christianity.

WEST OF YEVERAN (ECHMIADZIN)
Echmiadzin is the holiest of sites for Armenian Christians, in part because it was the capital of Armenia when the country first adopted Christianity.

YEREVAN (DOWNTOWN)
Yerevan is home to over a million people—the largest Armenian community in the world.

YEREVAN (SOVIET INFLUENCE)
Like many former Soviet cities, there is a stark efficiency to the area, though Yerevan certainly has its own style.

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A woman telling her true age is like a buyer confiding his final price to an Armenian rug dealer.
— Mignon McLaughlin

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