3 days is not much but enough to get acquainted with the sights of Yerevan and its vicinity. Fortunately, the majority of historical and cultural monuments of the country, which is considered the cradle of Christianity, is near the capital and it is possible to visit them even in a short period. You will even have to choose what to see either because of or due to the wide range of places but the starting point should be the sightseeings of Yerevan.
City tour for visiting sights of Yerevan
Founded in the 8th century B.C., Yerevan, the 12th capital of Armenia, is a unique combination of old and new. There is a plenty of monuments and museums, which summarize the history of a 2800 year-old city. In case of a short visit, must-see places are the History Museum of Armenia, which is the cultural, research and informational center comprehensively representing Armenian’s history, the Matenadaran, which is one of the richest depositories in the world, and of course Tsitsernakaberd where one will learn about one of the most turning points of the 20the century, i.e. everything about the first Genocide of the century.
What to visit in surroundings of Yerevan?
We suggest spending the 2nd half of the day in the countryside and visit one of the oldest cathedrals in the world listed in the UNESCO World Heritage. That is Etchmiadzin cathedral with its churches (St. Hripsime, St. Gayane, Shoghakat) and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots of the 7the century. The origin of the name Zvartnots is linked to the Armenian word “Zvartun” that had the meaning of “angel”.
On the second day of continuing to discover tourist attractions, we offer to visit the only pagan temple preserved in Armenia, i.e. Garni temple. It was built in the 1st century and was dedicated to Mihr, the God of Sun. 24 columns surrounding the temple symbolized 24 hours of the day. Not far from Garni, one can find Geghard monastery which was initially called Ayrivank (the Cave Monastery) due to the fact that it was partially carved in the rock. But the famous spear with which Jesus was wounded by a Roman soldier in Calvary was kept here for 500 years. Later due to this fact the monastery was named Geghardavank (the Monastery of the Spear).
Although the day is full of visiting churches but seeing Khor Virap is a must. It’s one of the famous sacred shrines and pilgrimage sites of Armenia. Armenian Apostolic Church founder St. Gregory the Illuminator was jailed in the dungeon of Khor Virap for 13 years. Also, Biblical Mount Ararat offers an overwhelming view. The day would have a wonderful finish if you spend your evening in the Republic Square enjoying singing-dancing fountains. It shouldn’t be missed if you have decided to visit Yerevan.
An excellent variant for the 3rd day would be visiting Saghmosavank-Armenian alphabet monument-Amberd-Lake Kari, and finish the day in Byurakan Observatory. Saghmosavank, one of the highest institutions of Armenian secular architecture, is standing on the right bank of Kasagh river, on the edge of Kasagh gorge since 13th century. Armenian Alphabet monument was built in 2005 on the occasion of the 1600th anniversary of Armenian script. The memorial includes the ornaments of 39 letters of the alphabet, and monuments of Armenian intellectuals.
Near the slopes of Aragats, on 2,300 meters altitude stands the fortress Amberd, where the major characteristics of Armenian medieval fortress construction were stressed. Amberd means “a fortress in the sky”. By continuing our journey on the slopes of Aragats, we get to the Lake Kari which is mostly formed by ice and snow, has 9 metres of depth and is located 3250 m above the sea level. It is impossible to be indifferent to the beauty of this mysterious lake. The Observatory named after Viktor Hambardzumyan is the best place to visit in your itinerary. It is located not far from the Lake Kari. It was founded in 1946 and is considered one of the most important observatories in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Thus, after 3 days, you are a true expert of Armenia and next time you can easily guide your friends and relatives in Armenia.