Armenia boasts religious sites such as cathedrals and monasteries, stunning nature, and 6,000 years of history. It’s also the place of origin of many famous people in arts, showbiz, and sports such as the world-famous tennis player Andre Agassi, actress and singer Cher, and chess champion Garry Kasparov. But have you ever thought of visiting? You totally should, and here’s why!
Lavash bread making
The most charming thing about Armenia is the locals’ hospitality, a lot of which revolves around food. The Armenian cuisine counts many specialties such as dolma, khorovats, and other regionally inspired delicacies. However, taking part in the baking ceremony of the traditional Armenian bread (lavash) is a not-to-be-missed cultural experience that your regular tourist guide may not mention. Customary, women prepare the dough balls, which they bake in the underground clay tondir, unique to the Armenian civilization. The result is a handcrafted aromatic flatbread, which accompanies most Armenian dishes. Lavash baking ceremonies take place in tondir bakeries in the capital city of Yerevan.
Areni cave (or birds’ cave)
Armenia has several impressive caves, such as the atmospheric 700-meter deep bear cave and the Lastiver caves amidst the lush forests of the Tavush region. However, the 500-square-meter Areni cave, also known as the birds’ cave for the nests covering its ceiling, has a great archaeological value that it’s worth observing. About 100 km away from Yerevan, at an altitude of 1080 meters, during the 5th millennium BC, the cave used to be an organized living space. The oldest shoe in the world was found here, as well as evidence of the earliest recorded wine production. Take a break at the idyllic Edem café & restaurant with plenty of outdoor space and picturesque views of river Arpa.
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Hin Areni vineyards
In the country which claims 6,000 years of wine tradition, it’s only fair to visit a vineyard. Hin Areni winery combines the ancient wisdom with modern technology, and lets its wines speak for themselves. The winery is in the historic Areni village, where archaeological excavations revealed an ancient winery, grape seeds, and dried vines. Visit the winery to taste the local aromatic wine from the Queen of Armenian grapes, Voskehat (golden seed). Are you traveling to Armenia in autumn? Don’t miss Armenia’s biggest wine festival on the first Saturday of every October. Over 30 producers bring 100 labels of wine, and Areni village turns into a wonderland of culture and entertainment.
Megerian Carpet Museum
Carpet making started in Armenia as a women’s domestic pastime, and the hand-knotted rugs didn’t have commercial value until the 1800s. The Megerian Carpet Museum exhibits 400-year-old carpets, and is also a factory. Here, you can find modern carpets for sale, produced, however, with a thousand-year-old techniques. The survival of carpet making through a new generation of women is a manifestation of the resilience of the Armenian culture. Take the guided tour to learn more about the local craft, and try even to tie some knots yourself.
If you find our recommendations cool, check out more local tips for the vibrant cities of Athens, Istanbul, and Cape Town.
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