Armenia

Capital City: Yerevan  Region: Europe
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Capital City: Yerewan
Armenia (Armenian: Hayastan) is the only country remaining from 3,000 year old maps of Anatolia. It became the world’s first Christian country more than 1,700 years ago in 301 AD, and has a large Diaspora all over the world. As a former Soviet republic lying in the Caucasus region, straddling Asia and Europe, Armenia has an ancient and rich culture. Armenia is very easy to experience, thanks to very hospitable people.
Landlocked, Armenia is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Iran to the south, Azerbaijan to the east, and Azerbaijan's Naxcivan exclave to the southwest. Five percent of the country's surface area consists of Lake Sevan (Sevana Lich), the largest lake in the Lesser Caucasus mountain range. The many mountains and mountain valleys create a great number of micro climates, with scenery changing from arid to lush forest at the top of a mountain ridge.
On a trip to Armenia, you will frequently be reminded that Armenia was the world's first officially Christian country. You will have a hard time forgetting this as a tourist, since countless monasteries are among Armenia's premier tourist attractions. Fortunately for those who might otherwise suffer monastery fatigue, many of these monasteries are built in places of incredible natural beauty, making the sites of monasteries like Tatev, Noravank, Haghartsin, Haghpat and Geghard well worth a visit even without the impressive, millennia old monasteries found there.
Since 2001, when Armenia celebrated the 1,700th anniversary of the nation’s conversion to Christianity, the growth in the number of tourists has grown by about 25% every year. Straddling Europe and Asia in the lesser Caucasus Mountains, an ex-Soviet state, with a culture over 3,000 years old and examples of ancient architecture and art all over the countryside, this beautiful country offers something exotic for many tourists.

Regions

 ▪  Central Armenia - The political center of Armenia contains much of the country's museums and cultural venues in Yerevan, the religious center of Echmiadzin, the 4100 m high volcano Aragats and the Monasteries of Geghard and Khor Virap. Much of this region consists of the flat and dry Ararat valley, though the hidden beauty of Khosrov Preserve is rarely visited.
 ▪  Lake Sevan Region - This region is centered around beautiful, 2,000 meter high Lake Sevan, which itself is surrounded by ancient monuments, churches, and monasteries, as well as popular beaches. Highlights include the largest khachkar cemetery in the world, the beaches near Sevanavank Monastery, and the countless fish and crayfish restaurants along the shores. Recently, windsurfing was reintroduced to the list of recreational activities.
 ▪  Northern Armenia - Bordering Georgia to the north, this mountainous region includes numerous, wonderfully beautiful, and isolated churches and monasteries. The Debed River Canyon contains many of these, and the remote Shamshadin region is a glimpse of a virtually unvisited and beautiful Armenia.
 ▪  Southern Armenia - A particularly beautiful section of Armenia stretching south to the Iranian border with interesting caves and more remote, beautiful Christian monuments. Highlights include Tatev Monastery, Noravank Monastery, Mozrov Cave, Selim Caravanserai and the thousands of petroglyphs atop Ughtasar Mountain.
 ▪  Nagorno-Karabakh - Although internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh is de facto independent from Azerbaijan, comprised mostly by ethnic Armenians and only accessible via Armenia. Aside from the rolling green hills, high mountains, hiking trails and excellent monasteries, tourists are drawn to the vast ruined city of Aghdam, and the partially repopulated city of Shushi - both ruined during and after the Karabakh war. Its capital is Stepanakert, home to approximately 40,000 of the region's 140,000 residents.

Cities

 ▪  Yerevan - The capital, and by far the largest city
 ▪  Gyumri (Shirak Marz) - Second city
 ▪  Vanadzor (Lori Marz) - Third city
 ▪  Dilijan (Tavush Marz) - Popular forest resort known as the "Little Switzerland" of Armenia.
 ▪  Jermuk (Vayots Dzor Marz) - famous for its mineral waters, which come out at very high temperature and can be enjoyed at the spas. Ski lifts are under construction.
 ▪  Tsaghkadzor (Kotayk Marz) - Armenia's ski destination.
[edit] Other destinations
 ▪  Bike Armenia Tour Route [1] - Great route mapped out to see Armenia (and optionally Karabakh) by bike.
 ▪  Karabakh - Although this self-declared republic lies officially in neighboring Azerbaijan, your only access to this Armenian enclave is via Armenia. The exotic Karabakh visa is available at the representative office of Karabakh in Yerevan, or in Stepanakert upon arrival.


 ▪  Hiking
 ▪  Rock Climbing
 ▪  Wind Surfing
 ▪  Sun Baking
 ▪  Camping
 ▪  Skiing
 ▪  Monastery hopping


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