The Travel off Path travel website advises American travelers to visit Armenia, one of the most ancient civilizations in the world.
“Despite its relative obscurity, Armenia is one of the most awe-inspiring and promising destinations out there. It is located not on one but two continents, and its recorded history spans at least three millennia, with a defining culture and nationhood as ancient as the early Greeks,” author Vinicius Costa writes.
Armenia is almost entirely surrounded by Islam, bordering Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan to the South and West, but it takes pride in being the very first nation to fully convert from paganism into Christianity. It has impacted not only the architecture through the construction of numerous monasteries and Orthodox churches but also the culture and the locals’ way of life.
“Sitting along the Caucasus mountain range, a grey area acting as a natural divide between Europe and Asia, Armenia is both too Eastern to be considered traditionally European, yet too Western, and irrevocably Christian, to fit into the Western Asian stereotype,” the article reads.
The author recommends travelers to visit:
- Yerevan, the capital and largest city, known for its Soviet-era architecture and palatial buildings
- Sevan, where a historic monastery is set against the backdrop of a serene lake
- Dilijan, a mountainous region highly sought-after for its spa resorts and wellness retreats
- The Shikahogh State Reserve, an unspoiled forested reserve offering scenic views
- Mount Aragats, a dormant, snow-capped volcano that is Armenia’s highest peak
- Noravank, a remote redbrick-built monastery founded in the 13th century
- Tsaghkadzor, an up-and-coming hotspot for winter sports home to some of Europe’s most affordable ski resorts
- The Upper Azat Valley, a UNESCO-protected site dotted with ancient monasteries
- Gyumri, Armenia’s second-largest city and Yerevan’s closest rival in terms of cultural offer: more than a thousand buildings in the historic center are between 300 and 200 years old.