Accommodation in Armenia
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History of Armenia
The tribes of Nairi, Hayassa and Urartu (980BC) that lived on the Armenian plateau, gave birth to the Armenian State, one of the earliest states of human civilization. Armenia’s Ararat valley has been inhabited by humans since the Stone Age, evidenced by ancient cave and rock drawings.
The modern day Republic of Armenia is geographically situated in Southwestern Asia. In the north and east, it borders Georgia and Azerbaijan, in the west and south, Turkey and Iran. Armenia occupies about 29.800 square kilometers, roughly the size of the Netherlands and has a population of just under 3 million. Armenian is the official language of the country. Russian is widely spoken and English is becoming popular among the younger generation. The population of Armenia mostly consists of ethnic Armenians, however among Armenians of other origins there are Kurds, Russians, Greeks, a small number of Ukrainians, Georgians, Jews, Germans, Poles and others. The Armenian national currency is the dram.
The Armenian Landscape
Armenia is a mountainous country. The mountains are home to health spas, ski resorts, hiking trails, camp grounds and just plain wild nature with towns and villages nested in it. Lake Sevan is almost 2000 meters above sea level and with an area of 5000 square kilometers, the largest lake in the Caucasus. Mount Ararat in Turkey was once within the borders of Armenia. Although Armenians no longer have the mountain, they certainly have the most magnificent view of it just across the border - the Ararat Valley, which is in modern day Armenia.
Some of Armenia’s most spectacular scenery is in the Kotayk region, not very far from Yerevan. The resort town of Tsakhkadzor ('canyon of flowers') is most popular in the winter with its skiing resorts. Kotayk is also home to the ancient pagan Garni temple.
Visitors to Syunik in the south of Armenia will find beautiful scenery and natural springs, as well as sights like the Tatev Monastery, Karahunj (“the Stonehenge of Armenia”), Goris with its fascinating caves and the Shake (pronounced: Shaw-keh) waterfall in Sisian.
To the north, the Lori region is sought out by campers and hikers, but also boasts two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat, as well as the Odzun Cathedral.
Just east of Yerevan lies the religious centre of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Holy See of Echmiadzin, the most significant cathedral in the world's oldest Christian nation.
and last but not least, the capital of Armenia, Yerevan is one of the oldest cities, founded even before the founding of ancient Rome. Modern day Yerevan is a vibrant city with a city center of manageable size with many things to do and to see. With its high concentration of outdoor hangout venues, Yerevan could arguably be coined “the outdoor café capital of the world”.
Practical Information about Armenia
- Local time in Armenia is GMT +4.
- Armenia has a continental climate. That means four distinct seasons in the year. Mild, and gentle short lived spring (great time to visit); followed by hot summers in some parts of the country, mild ones in others; mild autumns (another great time to visit) and cold winters (great time to visit depending on who you ask). Being only about 1000 meters above sea level, Yerevan is one of the lowest points in all of Armenia, hence it has the hottest summers. Typical temperatures in Yerevan range between -5 to -15°C (23 to 5°F) in the winter and 30 to 40°C (86 to 104°F) in the summer.
- Electrical current in Armenia is 230 volts which is in line with the European standard hence devices destined for use in Europe work in Armenia without the need for any adapters or transformers. If you have a device from the US, you will need to get a European adapter to use your device in Armenia.
- To enter Armenia, your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay. Citizens of the EU, US and other industrialized nations can obtain a visa either from the Armenian Embassy in their country of residence, at the border crossing point where you enter Armenia (cheapest option) including Yerevan’s international Zvartnots Airport or order a visa online from the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.
- 24-hour ATMs are abundant in major cities but may be scarce in rural areas. Currency exchange offices are open till midnight. If you plan to leave Yerevan, it is advisable to take enough cash with you for your entire trip. Foreign currency is exchanged at banks, hotels and many shops as well as currency exchange boots. Credit and debit cards are accepted at grocery stores, name brand clothing stores and many restaurants and cafes in the center of Yerevan.
- When entering or leaving the country, travelers carrying cash in excess of €15,000 must declare it at customs. Amounts lower than €15,000 do not need to be declared (laws and regulations are subject to change).
- Crime rates in Armenia are relatively low. Being out at night is generally safe whether alone, in groups, for men or women alike.
- Nightlife in Yerevan and other towns picks up quite late at night and ends in the early morning hours.
- The business day in Armenia starts late, goes on for long hours and ends late. A business meeting scheduled at 10am may be politely accepted but be seen as a rude proposal.
- New Year is the most important Holiday and a special time in Armenia. Festivities begin around December 30th and end after January 12th. Most venues and business are closed in this period and locals are busy visiting everybody they know one by one, consuming excessive amounts of food and alcohol.
- While most people dress conservatively outside of Yerevan, “unconventional” clothing of foreigners is widely tolerated throughout the country. Short skirts, high heels and visible tattoos generally do not attract undue attention in Yerevan however this may not be practical dress in rural areas.
- There are no immunizations required for traveling to Armenia. There are clinics and hospitals in Yerevan equipped with modern technology and pharmacies are widely available throughout Armenia, nonetheless health care can be limited outside of Yerevan.
- The international dialing code for Armenia is +374. Conventions for calling from Armenia are the same as calling from Europe. You need to dial 00 then the country code followed by the number you are calling.
- Cell phone standards in Armenia are the same as in Europe. SIM cards of local carriers can be readily purchased at the airport upon arrival or through the country.
- Taxis have a standard starting rate of 500 to 600 drams (under 1.5 euros) and charge 100 drams (about 20 euro cents) per kilometer. Somewhat higher fixed rates, usually about 4000 drams (under 9 euros) are applied for trips to and from Zvartnots International Airport.
- Free WiFi internet is offered at many cafes in Yerevan and other towns in Armenia. Internet cafes are also widespread although the connection is usually slow at these venues.
- Armenians drive on the right side of the road.
- There is international post as well as courier service in Armenia. Courier service tends to be faster and more reliable than normal post but courier service can also be quite pricey in Armenia.
Quick Facts about Armenia
- Armenia has a rich and deep-rooted pagan history however it became the first Christian state in the world in 301 AD. Armenian folk culture today still has many pagan practices and celebrations.
- Wrestling, weightlifting, judo, chess and boxing are popular sports in Armenia.
- The oldest mention of Armenians in historical writings is found in inscriptions in Behistun (close to the city of Kermanshah in modern-day Iran) dating back to 600BC.
- Armenians built churches in the gothic style of architecture roughly one century before this style became popular in Europe.
- Armenian was the eleventh language to be printed on the moveable type press (in 1511 or 1512, following Latin, German, Greek, Czech, Hebrew, French, Arabic, Dutch, English, and Italian).
- Reality TV star Kim Kardashian, singers Cher and Avnavour, chess champion Garry Kasparov, gambling mogul and multi-billionaire Kirk Kerkorian are world-famous Armenians.
Points of Interest in Armenia
Armenian Genocide Museum Cafesjian Art Museum Children Art Gallery Dzitoghtsyan House Museum Erebuni Museum History Museum of Armenia House Museum of Aram Khachaturian House Museum of Avetik Isahakyan House Museum of Hovhannes Shiraz House Museum of Hovhannes Tumanyan House Museum of Mher Mkrtchyan Matenadaran Middle East Museum National Gallery of Armenia Proshyan Museum Saryan Museum Sergey Parajanov Museum Tanahat Monastery The Aslamazyan Sisters House Museum The Merkurov House Museum
Cathedral of the Holy Mother of God Etchmiadzin Cathedral Garni Mashtots Hayrapet Church Geghard Monastery Goshavank Monastery Haghartsin Monastery Hayravank Monastery Holy Trinity Church Hovhannavank Monastery John the Baptist Church Kecharis Monastery Khor Virap Lmbatavank or Surb Stepanos Church Noravank Odzun Church Pemzashen Church Ptghnavank Saint Gregory Saint Hripsime Church Saint Sarkis Cathedral Sanahin Monastery Sevanavank Spitakavor Church Tatev Monastery The Havuts Tar Monastic Complex The Holy Savior Cathedral The Russian Chapel or the Plplan Zham Yeghvard Church Yot Verk Matur
Province of Armenia
Events in Armenia
ARAX Concert In Yerevan Armenian Genocide Commemoration April 24 Bernd Glemser Concert Chinese Concert in Yerevan Dima Bilan In Yerevan Golden Apricot Film Festival Halloween in Yankee Pub Japanese Xylography in Armenia Junior Eurovision La Fete at Kami Club New Year at Facebook Club Panarmenian Games Patriotic Music Evening Pilaqyan Show Part 10 Stevie Wonder in Armenia TEDx in Yerevan for 2012 The National Film Awards Trio Jazz Khoube Unmanned Aircraft Wine and Jazz Music Evening Yerevan 101 Contest