Armenia is a country in Eurasia’s South Caucasus region famous for its mountainous landscapes and rich history … but mainly, right now at least, for the fact Kim Kardashian and her posse are there, the Daily Mail writes.
Kim Kardashian, her husband Kanye West, their daughter North and Kim’s sister Khloe arrived in the capital Yerevan on Wednesday to a rock star welcome and over eight days are checking out a plethora of local landmarks.
The visit is their first to the country their late father, Robert Kardashian, fled for America and both Kim and Khloe have expressed their excitement at the chance to explore his homeland.
Kim Kardashian is in Armenia with her husband Kanye West and their daughter North on an eight-day visit to the country of her dad’s birth
The celebrity visitors are in the capital Yerevan, a culturally rich city where the Opera House (centre) is among its most notable landmarks
The Yerevan Opera House is a must-visit place in the Armenian capital where local music and dance performances are highly regarded
Kim, Kanye and Khloe Kardashian are staying at the Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan which is on Republic Square, formerly Lenin Square
Republic Square is a tourist attraction in itself, with its combination of Soviet-era architecture and Neo-Classical official buildings
And from what Lonely Planet says of the city, it’s made for the icons of modern-day entertainment.
While there, the Kardashian-West crew are staying in the capital’s finest digs, the Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan, which frames Republic Square at the heart of the city, and have the burliest of bodyguards and police in tow as they take in the sights.
But what would we, the mere mortals not of reality TV fame, see and do if we followed in their footsteps?
Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport is well connected to major centres throughout Europe although cheaper flights (upwards of £300 during summer and less in colder months) from London require a transfer somewhere like Moscow, Kiev or Vienna.
Without the need to book out the two executive floors of the hotel for our entourage and filming crew, as the Kardashian crew have, a standard room from 67,150 Armenian Drams is good value (about £96).
A smartphone view of the Katoghiken church in the World Heritage-listed Geghard Monastery, where Kim, Kanye and North visited
The monastery is a medieval set of structures which have in part been carved out of the mountain and date back to the fourth century
Documenting every moment: Camera crews followed the family as they took a tour of historical sites
Outside the Monastery of Geghard women sell the same traditional sweet bread that was offered to Kim on their arrival in Armenia
The hotel is well chosen by their people as it’s right in the middle of this relatively easy to get around city, where the majority of main sights are free.
The square is a tourist attraction in itself, with its combination of Soviet-era architecture and Neo-Classical buildings such as the Houses of Government and the Marriott itself, but with their own Armenian twists.
In the heart of the cultural and business hub of Yerevan, the square is connected to the other main area of the city that has the impressive Opera House at its centre.
While Kanye’s hip-hop may not be the preferred genre of the nation – fans appear to be more interested in the stars of Keeping Up with the Kardashians – the city isn’t short on culture with a disproportionately large amount of theatres, galleries and clubs for its size, with plenty of live music to be found.
Their minders say the timing has nothing to do with it, but the Kardashians’ arrival comes as the nation counts down to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24 which honours up 1.5 million people were killed by the Ottomans between 1915 and 1917.
Turkey dispute the figures – they claim 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians died during a civil uprising against the Ottomans – but Armenians have fought for international recognition of the tragedy for decades.
But the memory of those whose lives were taken are very much honoured in this city and throughout the country.
The Cascades is the main part of the Cafesjian Museum, found in the centre of Yerevan, which features an array of modern Armenian art
Khachkars, an Armenian cross stone, are common features of medieval Christian art found in the Cascades
The Sculture Park features works from Botero and other internationally-recognised artists and a stellar view of the city
This statue at the Cascades represents Russian-born architect Alexander Tamanian, whose greatest work was planning modern Yerevan
Among the major sights on the Kardashian’s itinerary is Yerevan’s extensive Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute along with the National Archives where they hope to see documents relating to their ancestors.
The party has already visited Yerevan’s Mother Armenia statue, a large representation of a women holding a big sword that is said to be the female personification of the country and proved quite an inspiration for the sisters.
A visit to their father’s home city of Gyumri would find a smaller version of the statue minus the collection of decommissioned tanks, rocket launchers and other military items.
‘The Mother Armenia statue symbolizes peace through strength,’ Khloe wrote on Instagram. ‘It can remind viewers of some of the prominent female figures in Armenian history. Who took up arms to help their husbands in their clashes with Turkish troops and Kurdish irregulars. I am woman hear me roar! Blessed to be here!’
Victory Park, home to the statue, also offers a brilliant view of the city
Kim echoed the sentiment: ‘This statue reminds visitors of the strong female figures in Armenian history. I love how powerful women are and respected so much in our culture!’
The huge Mother Armenia statue (said to be the female personification of the nation) and military museum at Victory Park in Yerevan
While there said to be more Armenians living abroad than in the country itself, due to millions who fled the alleged genocide, local culture has been diligently preserved.
Their welcome to a packed airport included a traditional gift of bread and salt from women in traditional Armenian dress.
Similar breads are found sold by locals at the Unesco World Heritage-listed Monastery of Geghard, a medieval set of structures which have in part been carved out of the mountain where where Kim and Kanye have taken North. The main chapel was built in 1215 but the complex originated in the fourth century and has a rich and varied history.
Other sights include the 3,000-year-old Erebuni Fortress that was the beginning of Yerevan and the more modern Cascades, Sculpture Park and Cafesjian Museum, their modern art centre. Or romantics could visit Lover’s Park, a Japanese-style garden which hosts open-air concerts and art exhibitions.
While a minority are unimpressed with the celebrities’ arrival most are delighted to see them, including the government. The group has met with the nation’s prime minister Hovik Abrahamyan, who praised their contribution to ‘international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian genocide.’
Parliament speaker Galust Saakian said their visit can only be a good thing. ‘Kim Kardashian is a lady who’s known worldwide. We should be happy she came here,’ he said.