Last year in September during Eid time, we had a four day holiday in Dubai. And long weekends calls for a short getaway and we made an impromptu plan to visit Armenia which is just 3 hours flight from Dubai or Sharjah.
With an Indian passport, I’ve to always apply for visa and it takes a minimum of a week to get a visa for most of the countries. But I am happy to say that for Armenia, it was a hassle-free visa on arrival. And the cost of visa is very affordable and it is less than 10 USD.
As of now only the budget airlines like FlyDubai from Dubai and Air Arabia from Sharjah flies to Yerevan, Armenia from UAE. We went by FlyDubai and our return ticket per person costed us around AED 1,200.
Yerevan the capital of Armenia, offers all kinds of accommodation and we stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Yerevan City Centre. Its a decent place with good facilities that is situated at the center of the city.
Armenia is a small country that was also a part of former Soviet Republic. It is one of the earliest Christian civilizations in the world. Armenia is bordered by Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran.
Armenian language is spoken in Armenia. But people also speak Russian and English. But English is not widely spoken, we had difficulty communicating in English with taxi drivers, restaurant staff etc. Their currency is Armenian Dram.
As a history buff, I did know about Armenia. But it was mostly about the Armenian Genocide. This topic is still a sensitive issue with the Armenians.
We hired a car for 2 days to do our sightseeing and for the third day we did a private tour with a Yerevan based travel company.
Our first day was for exploring the ancient city of Yerevan. The places we visited were:
- Republic Square
- Mother Armenia Monument
- Tsitsernakaberd Memorial and the Museum of victims of Armenian Genocide
- History Museum of Armenia
- Opera House
- Brandy Factory
We stopped for lunch and dinner around the Cascade area where there are many restaurants and bars.
On day 2 we visited Khor Virap Monastery and from there we had a great view of Mount Ararat. After that we continued to Bird Cave or Areni 1 where some of the world’s earliest signs of settlement have been discovered. Our last stop was the village of Areni where we stopped at the wine making factory and also visited St. Astvatsatsin Church.
Our day 3 was packed with amazing places to visit like Garni, a pagan temple, UNESCO listed Geghard Monastery Complex, the beautiful Lake Sevan, Tsaghkadzor, a small Olympic town, Kecharis Monastery and through the city of Dilijan we made a final stop at the Monastery of Goshavank.
As our flight was in the evening, we explored Yerevan on our own and did some shopping and visited couple of restaurants as well.
We enjoyed our short and sweet trip to Armenia. I only wish we had one more day as we missed going to Tatev, which has the world’s longest rope way ‘Wings of Tatev’.
According to Hyur Service, the best travel agency in Armenia, these are the 15 must-do things in Armenia:
- Take a selfie on the background of the Biblical Mount Ararat.
- Discover how Armenian Brandy is made.
- Bargain with the masters of Armenian crafts in souvenir market Vernissage.
- Take a ride on world’s longest rope way-Wings of Tatev.
- Taste the most delicious bread in the world-Lavash with trout barbecue on the shore of Lake Sevan.
- Eat plenty of Armenian apricots-the only fruit in the world that contains gold.
- Have a walk in the evening in Yerevan-the safest city on earth.
- Touch the lace made of stone-Khachkars and listen to a heartwarming melody of Duduk at their homeland.
- Drink the most flavorful water in the universe from stone fountains called Pulpulak.
- Overcome the narrow stairs of Noravank and get a proud photo
- Explore the history of the eternal city of Yerevan in the ancient fortress Erebuni, Yerevan is older than Rome.
- Marvel at the brightness of medieval miniatures in ancient manuscripts of Matenadaran.
- Visit Echmiadzin and see the world’s first Christian church.
- Admire the stunning landscapes and the architecture of UNESCO-heritage monuments.
- Go to the stadium, where Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s glorious career path has begun.
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