Amazing Armenia

24 Aug

armenia

I’m in Armenia right now enjoying one last trip before school starts. And how do I like Armenia? It is AWESOME. The country has the perfect balance of things that make an travel destination exciting: It is easy to visit, but not heavily touristed. It is unfamiliar to people, but safe. It has some amazing sights, and it has an incredibly rich history and culture. In fact, if there was a ranking of “most overlooked countries that deserve more exploration”, Armenia would definitely be up there.

Armenia was the world’s first Christian country, so unsurprisingly the tourist highlight, for many, is the religious buildings. They are a great reason, but not the only reason, to visit the country. What I love about Armenian monasteries is that they have a compelling atmosphere. They are relatively dark and damp, but have a lot of art and writing carved into the stone walls. They really do feel like something out of Lord of the Rings. Pictures don’t do justice. In some places, religious buildings feel clean, sterilized and touristy to the point that they don’t have the atmosphere of old religious buildings anymore. Armenian monasteries are not like that. Even the most visited are very atmospheric.

The food is another great thing about Armenia. The cuisine is a very rich cuisine. Some dishes are more Middle Eastern / East mediterranean influenced, like the Grape Leaves. Other dishes are very meaty and hearty, but not bland like dishes of some of the other Eastern European cuisines. There is also a very large variety of soups. Vegetarians, however, should be warned. It is a meaty cuisine.

Best of all, Armenia will not break the bank. Transport is cheap (even the taxis), food is cheap, and accommodation is cheap. My stay in the hostel was $11 a night. I think that in terms of bang for the buck, it’s far better than places like Poland or Hungary.

Overall, I’d highly recommend visiting Armenia. I think it’s only a matter of time before more tourists discover this fascinating country.

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