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Highland Armenia, set precariously between the greater powers of Russia, Turkey and Persia, has survived through the ages. Its moss covered churches, stone ramparts and ancient carved khatchkars (stone crosses) stand testament to the longevity of human settlement and Christianity in this land. As the world's first Christian nation, declared in 301 AD, Armenia has several churches that are over 1000 years old, many of them now being renovated after a long period of Soviet-era neglect. Traveling between sacred sites whisks visitors through surprisingly gorgeous and varied landscapes, including lush hornbeam forests in the north and rocky ...

Highland Armenia, set precariously between the greater powers of Russia, Turkey and Persia, has survived through the ages. Its moss covered churches, stone ramparts and ancient carved khatchkars (stone crosses) stand testament to the longevity of human settlement and Christianity in this land. As the world's first Christian nation, declared in 301 AD, Armenia has several churches that are over 1000 years old, many of them now being renovated after a long period of Soviet-era neglect. Traveling between sacred sites whisks visitors through surprisingly gorgeous and varied landscapes, including lush hornbeam forests in the north and rocky desert canyons in the south. Nature lovers will enjoy hikes to remote churches near Dilijan and Yeghegis. Travel is made easy by a burgeoning tourist scene that caters toward an up-market traveler. The capital Yerevan boasts international chain hotels and an unparalleled café culture; in rural areas visitors can stay at tastefully designed boutique hotels and dine in restaurants serving Armenia's national obsession - khoravats (barbeque). The best thing about Armenia is the Armenians themselves, an unpretentious people whose kindness and courtesy belies a melancholic past.

Michael Kohn
About the Expert

Michael Kohn is the author of Lonely Planet guides to Israel & the Palestinian Territories, South Africa, Tibet, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka.

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Michael Kohn for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Armenia is landlocked mountainous country in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
  • Language: Armenia
  • Currency: Dram
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight