Barev everybody that means hello and Armenian and yes you guessed it right I am in Armenia right now. Today my mission is to convince you to come and visit this compact beautiful land in the heart of the Caucasus. So shall we get going?
Let’s go over the last few years as its neighbors Georgia and Azerbaijan grew in popularity as travel destinations, Armenia remained the quietest of the three, yet it may just be the most surprising the number one reason why you shouldn’t visit Armenia.
The Capital Yerevan now this is not a name that you would have had thrown around very much, but this city is just so effortlessly cool. It may come as a surprise that Armenia is home to only 3 million people.
I think this is what makes the city feel so relaxed more like a town than a metropolis but it does hold some surprises.
Right now I’m at one of the most popular attractions here in the Yerevan, this place is called the cascade and it’s basically a giant staircase with some incredible views of the entire city and some really cool contemporary art. Let’s check it out.
This entire complex was created as a public space for people to enjoy Contemporary Art in the heart of the city and if you dare to climb the entire staircase you’ll be rewarded with a full view of this stunning Mount Ararat.
As you move through the city you discover it’s layers one by one. There’s the Soviet past, there is the Christian heritage, and remnants of Islamic history, on top of all of this it’s a pretty hip and happening spot with new bars and restaurants opening up on the regular. If you’re more into the traditional stuff then right here, markets like this, you’ll find everything that is great about Armenian foodie culture.
Let me show you around. The next visit is the market, a busy marketplace for nuts and dried fruit these are some of the traditional products that come from the local region. This right here is soujouk, it’s a traditional local sweet basically walnuts wrapped with a paste made out of dried fruits and nuts, but casually people here call it the Armenian Snickers. It kind of looks like one right?
I haven’t really come here for the tasting sessions I’ve come here to chat with the locals Albany corn nuts apricot nuts Wow! As I made my way through the market the command “taste!” met me everywhere I went. The hospitality here in this market is absolutely overwhelming.
Every single stalls that have gone up to people are saying please eat more more more more MORE…. you’re a guest you have to accept the gift.
Well, some interactions were less expected.
Yerevan may not be the biggest or busiest city in the Caucasus but it makes up for that with its endless charm and super friendly locals. As for our list of reasons to visit Armenia let’s move on to the next one.
Armenia is also a great destination for culture and history junkies. Not many people know for example that it was the very first country in the world to adopt Christianity as its state religion here’s a few great spots to check out all across the country.
Here stands the temple of Garni. One of the last remaining pagan temples to visit in the region in such good condition much like the temples you see in Greece. It’s 2,000 years old incredibly, it was totally destroyed in an earthquake in the 16th century, but rebuilt using the original materials.
300 years later and this is Haghardzin monastery. In armenian its name means the monastery of the plain ego. Dating back to the 13th century it’s surrounded by beautiful lush forests.
Next is Sevana Vank, a ninth-century monastery with an incredible location overlooking Lake Sevan.
Next to visit is Khor Virap monastery, which dates back to the seventh century. Legend has it that there was once a saint imprisoned here for 13 years before getting released by saving the king and converting the entire country to Christianity.
Since we’re on the subject of history we should talk about another little known aspect of Arminius heritage.
My next reason for you to visit Armenia is for its wine. This actually happens to be one of the oldest winemaking regions in the entire hills of Armenia, that provided fertile soil for a great production. There’s the local version of Bordeaux and you can actually go and check out some of the wine cellars and the local wineries here.
Let’s go!! According to popular law, there is a special secret to the sweet taste of Armenian wine, the Armenian oak barrels that had stored in are meant to give it that distinctive flavor not found anywhere else in the world.
I am really no expert on wines at all, but it tastes really good even if you don’t drink alcohol.
Winemaking traditions in Armenia are still an important part of the local history and it’s just fascinating to see how this used to be such a powerful wine region. Yet these days not many people know about it.
Our tasting session doesn’t end here.
One of the best things about Armenia is the Armenian food is a mash-up of influence from across the region. It takes all the best bits from its Eastern European and Middle Eastern neighbors, to give you an idea of what the mountain food here is like.
The dish you see right here is called Khourjin, it’s a traditional shepherd’s dish, and why is that interesting? Well, the wives of shepherds used to make Khourjin for their husbands as they went up the mountains for weeks and months at a time because it’s such a convenient dish. You literally take some meat mix it some vegetables and you wrap it all in a big parcel of lavash, the traditional flatbread, you have to slice through to get to the middle of your Khourjin.
Ghapama is a stuffed pumpkin filled with rice, raisins, and dried food it’s one of the more traditional dishes in Armenia served mostly on special occasions. I’m really excited about the Ghapama, because it’s literally like food confetti, it’s got everything and anything! Now for something simpler, here we have jingyalov hats, which is the flatbread stuffed with butter and about 10 to 12 types of greens and herbs all from the local mountain, all green on the inside, really taste like the mountain.
You might recognize DOLMA from Middle Eastern cuisine, these are basically grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat and served with a beautiful creamy garlic garnish! Super good, so meaty and juicy amazing!
There’s one more thing about Armenia I need to tell you about and that is its nature. Probably the highest concentration of totally diverse landscapes I’ve seen anywhere, and plenty of adventures to go. We’re just about to go horse riding here in the mountains around GOG, let’s go.
The best thing about the Armenian outdoors is that they are practically untouched with so little tourism. Here there’s a sense of nature …. anywhere you go, be it mountain forest or lake, it really makes you smile and all at this small gem in the heart of the Caucasus.
I guess that wraps it up I probably don’t need to give you guys and your reasons to come and visit beautiful Armenia. A Vlog by Eva zu Beck