Welcome to Armenia
This is a destination where you will be intrigued by history, by monuments, amazed by the landscape and charmed by the rich culture. Armenia is located between the Black and the Caspian seas. Bordering countries are Georgia from the North, Azerbaijan from the East, and Iran from the South ant Turkey from the West.
Armenia is a small mountainous, landlocked country whose geography almost never fails to surprise foreign visitors. Mountain passes, valleys and canyons make Armenia feel much larger than it really is. The country is rich in more than a thousand curative mineral springs.
Armenia is an independent democratic country with a population of around 3.2 million. It has a good record of international, intercultural, religious, political, social and civil tolerance.
This is a country with serious historical legacy. Armenian history extends over 3000 years. It was one of the major powers, the third state in the Near East, after the Roman Empire ant Parthia over 2000 year ago. Now Armenia is a modern country with nice and talented people, ancient history, thousands of historical monuments, rich culture, traditional hospitality, delicious and healthy food, beautiful nature and safe environment. The country has so many unique historical attractions, that it is sometimes called “the museum under the open sky”.
The trip around Armenia will not be full without exploring its heart – the ancient city of Yerevan. Yerevan delights with its cozy atmosphere, unique architecture, lots of museums, and well-designed cafes and restaurants.
In addition to its geographic variation, Armenia’s climate varies a great deal as well. Its climate ranges from dry subtropical to cold mountain weather. In plateaus and foothills (where Yerevan is located) the climate is dry and continental with hot summers and moderator cold winters. The average temperature in July is +25°C and – 5°C in January. If you decide to visit the countryside of Armenia in summer, consider that the temperature is lower than in the capital and in the evening you need some warm clothes.
What concerns the style of clothing, Armenians dress like in Europe, so there are no any special warnings or tips.
Armenians are Apostolic Christians. Christianity arrived in AD 301 and Armenians proudly calls themselves the world’s oldest Christian nation. You can find thousands of churches and monasteries with their amazing architecture, unique cross-stones. Among religious sights we recommend not to miss and necessarily visit Khor Virap with its breathtaking view to Mount Ararat, Geghard known for its amazing rock architecture, Haghpat and Sanahin included into UNESCO world heritage list, Echmiadzin Cathedral-the religious center of all Armenians.
Public transportation is very good and inexpensive in Armenia. Mostly the intercity travel is by 14-seat minibuses or buses. Yerevan has several bus interchange stations. Note that unlike many countries in Eastern Europe Armenian minibuses do not sell tickets beforehand at all. You simply pay the driver at any point during the trip.
You can hire a taxi to go almost anywhere in the country on very short notice. Prices are about 100 drams (33 US cents) per km. Before arriving you can get mobile applications for taxi services. They are cheap, fast and reliable.
The Yerevan Underground is operating on regular basis.
Also you can rent a car.
English is becoming more widely spoken, particularly in Yerevan, but very few people outside the capital speak English. Young generation speaks English not bad so you can easily approach them in case you have any question and they will be glad to help you. Many taxi drivers and sales ladies in grocery stores do not speak English. Russian has remained the most spoken foreign language.
Take home from Armenia Armenian cognac, fruit, handicrafts, carpets, duduk and jewelry. The best choice for buying crafts and souvenirs will be an open-air fair”Vernissage” which is open every weekend.
Armenia is also known for its tasty national products, pastry and dried fruits.
For buying or degustation of Armenian brandy or wine you can go to cognac factory “Ararat” and different wineries located throughout the country.
The Armenian currency is known as the “dram” (AMD). It is accepted everywhere. Dollars, Euros and Rubles can be exchanged almost everywhere in the country. ATMs (bankomats) are widely available in larger towns. Credit cards are widely accepted now.
Exchange Rate as of 31 may 2018 is as follows:
1 € = 563 AMD
1 $ = 482 AMD
1 £ = 636 AMD
1 ₽ = 7.7 AMD
Armenian food is another treat. Expect mounds of grilled meat and vegetables straight from the nearest garden. You can have a good time in one of the national restaurants and order national dishes like Tolma, Khorovats, Harisa, Armenian lavash and you will definitely get lots of positive emotions and impressions. Inside the city at every 100 meters you can find a snack bar, a café or a restaurant. Prices can vary. In general, to have a good meal in Yerevan will cost you less compared with the prices in Europe.
Mornings are usually slow. Most shops and restaurants, bars, cafes are open every day.
Shops- 10am, closing between 7 pm and 10 pm
Restaurants-11am to midnight
Bars, Pubs, Discos- 7pm until last customer
Cafes-10am to midnight
The country code is +374. For calls within Armenia, dial 0+ city code+ local number. For international calls dial 00 or + first.
Mobile-phone services, operated by Viva Cell MTS, Ucom, Beeline, are fairly priced and wide-ranging. You can get mobile phone service just about anywhere in the country, unless you are hiking in the backcountry. Sim cards are easily purchased anywhere.
Tipping is increasingly common in Armenia, especially at cafes and restaurants. Tipping is usually not expected in taxis, but rounding up is not uncommon. The usual tipping rule at cafes and restaurants is 10%.
Most hotels have nonsmoking floors or rooms and slowly growing number of cafes and restaurants have dedicated non smoking sections.
Dangers and Annoyances
Armenia is one of the safest countries in the region. Crime level is very low. Strolling along Yerevan streets late at night is much safer than in many European cities.
Health precautions are minimal; just exercise the same type of caution you would if travelling in Europe.
Armenian water is both tasty and safe to drink. You can open the tap and drink the water. One of Armenian phenomena is Armenian drinking fountains named Pulpulak. These amazing sculptures are admiration to the eyes and satisfaction to those who are thirsty and it is completely free.