Hospitable people - great food - beautiful country
a bit pricy in Yerevan and homestays tricky to find
A must visit for all Armenians and all other alike!
We hired a taxi to take us from Yerevan to 3 monestries and drop us at Sevan for 30,000AMD (£45).Khor Virapthis place is in an ideal setting, with mount ararat in the background, great for the postcard photo.the monestary itself isnt anything great,but free entry.Garni temple1000AMD entry, this place is just a temple in a nice settingGerghard...more
The Marriott actually forms part of the 4 corners of Republic Square. Its an ornate building on the...more
I had some great Lahmajo in a great place i dont know the name of!Some food i tried:1.Lavash - /that thin armenian bread/, 2.pomidorov Dzvadzex - fried eggs with tomato: 3.Lahmajo /the thin lavash like armenian bread with a meat on it in cafe/, 4.tan - drink like a milk, 5. Txemali: Georgian famous spice, the spicy red paste, 6. Xorovac: pig and...more
The Main Cathedral of the Mother See of Holy Ejmiatsin is the oldest Christian cathedral in the world. It was constructed in 301-303 AD, the year when Armenia officially declared to be the first Christian country of the world.Next to the Mother See is the residence of the Catholicos of All Armenians, the Head of the Armenian Apostolic Church....more
To go to Zvartnots from Yerevan you can take any bus or minibus from the corner of Mesrop Mashtots Poghota and Sarian Poghots (near the Modern Art Museum) going to Echmiadzin. Along the road look for a pillar with an eagle on top, because that’s where you are getting of f. The bus to Zvarnots was 400 drams and the marshrutka back to Yerevan was 250...more
I was amazed that the sleepy, mountain town of Dilijan had not one, but two adorable little museums! This is the central museum, part of a brand new tourist complex being built by the Tufenkian Group as an attempt to revitalize the area. They've recently renovated an entire street, which looks a little artificial, but it is lovely and full of...more
If we would like to talk about danger in Dilijan, then there is no more important thing to talk about rather than health. I stayed in a hotel named "Dili Villa" which is a nice place, but no hygine care is taken. The place is dirty, especially the toilets, so I had worries to eat there. Pets are alowed inside, and they have dogs living there. I saw...more
From Yerevan , I took a tour to Dilijan , taking a short stop at the lovely lake SEVAN. Dilijan is a nice area , covered by hornbeam forrests where you can visit Goshavank and Haghardzin monasteries , from century XII . Really worths a visit. THE HIDDEN MONASTERIES.more
As Lake Sevan is around 1900m above sea level, the atmospheric effects for those of us who live pretty close to sea level are striking and unusual. I particularly like the way the clouds appear to roll down the mountain slopes into the lake. Four of these pictures are taken from the Sevanavank Peninsula and the fifth is an early morning shot of the...more
Sevanavank peninsula is situated some kilometres from Sevan town. It used to be an island, but after an industrial project during Soviet times the water level of the lake dropped almost 20 metres.Here you will find the monastery Sevanavank. From the monastery I walked to the top of the peninsula. While I was taking pictures I noticed there was a...more
Going back from the restaurant to my hut in the evening I passed two beach discos. There didn’t look to be so much more entertainment around, and on the dance floor were people in all ages and they all seemed to have fun. There was luckily no discos at Flamingo Beach and the sounds from the other beaches was not too loud.There was no entrance fee...more
The best way to get to Goris is naturally by a taxi. Apparent disadvantage going by a taxi there is high cost. But... This problem can be easily solved if several people share a vehicle. This was what I did exactly and as it turned out there is an organized service for that. Couple of hours prior to departure you negotiate with the driver and he...more
There is no public transport from Sevan Peninsula and it is very hard to find a taxi (in the morning they are none existing). Marshrutkas (minibuses) to Yerevan are leaving from Sevan town, about 5 – 6 km away from the beach area on the peninsula. I asked for a taxi, but was told to go up to the main road and stop a bus (for example marshrutkas...more
I was told there was a marshrutka (minibus) from Goris to Sisian at 1pm. As I didn't want to wait that long I took a taxi (Hamlet, the same driver as to Tatev). The price was 6000 drams (August 2006), which I thought sounded too much, but I did not argue about it. It took about one hour. When I took a taxi tour around Sisian that driver told me the...more
Hovhannavank is the nearer of two monasteries north of Ashtarak, both on the edge of the Kasakh River gorge, (the further one being Saghmosavank). The earliest part of the monastery is variously ascribed to somewhere between the 5th and 7th century, although much altered since. The main church (of St. John the Baptist) dates from 1216-21 and has a...more
Saghmosavank is one of two monasteries north of Ashtarak, on the edge of the Kasakh River gorge, (the other being Hovhannavank). The complex consists of two churches, one with a 'gavit' (narthex) at the west end, and a library, all built in the 13th century from 1215 onwards. The gorge lies immediately behind the church. As in most Armenian...more
There is a marshrutka (minibus) at 9.20 from Ortachala in Tbilisi to Vanadzor. It leaves earlier if it gets full, which was the case when I travelled with it. To Ortachala you can take marshrutka 94 and 118 from Marjanishvili (from outside McDonald’s). I arrived at the station around 8.00, bought the ticket and had some tea and bread. At 8.45 the...more
I was told the minibus to Dilijan, from Vanadzor, left at 9.00. When I had breakfast I was told it left at 8.30 and hurried up, didn't want to be without ticket. 8.15 I arrived at the bus station and was shown to the marshrutka (minibus) to Dilijan. In the window of the minibus there was a timetable, and apparently the 8.30 bus was just the first...more
I didn’t see many restaurants in Vanadzor. One that was in the guidebook seemed to be shut down, so I went to Avantgarde on Tigran Mets Poghota. I sat down at one of the outdoor tables and got a menu, which was both in Armenian and English (good as the waiter did not speak English). They did not have my first choice so I ordered cheeseburger and...more
There is the curious history of this place of worship which was deemed to be demolished as all the other pagan sites in newly Christian Armenia. Due to some divine intervention in the form of a royal edict asked for by a beautiful member of the aristocracy, it survived the slaughter. In the 17th century it underwent another test of divine...more
Geghard is a little architectural wonder given its location up in the mountains. It has its "cave" portions and its "free-standing" portions. On top of this it has been around for a while in its present state unlike Noravank Monastery and this is easily discernable by the candle smoke plastered all over the premises. So the thing to do is paying...more
During our visit to Tbilisi in February 2013 we undertook a day trip into neighbouring Armenia, visiting the UNESCO-listed monasteries at Sanahin and Haghpat and a historic church at Akhtala.
It was a private tour, organised by the Yerevan-based Envoy Tours, and we had an Armenian driver and Armenian guide with us.
Our guide explained to us that Envoy Tours believe in promoting local, family-run eating places during their tours and will incorporate a lunch stop at such a place in all their day trips.
The guide and driver had travelled from Yerevan to Tbilisi the previous day in order to pick us up for the day trip and had discovered a small roadside eatery on their journey. They had enjoyed a meal there and had arranged with the owners (an elderly couple) that they would bring us there for lunch during our tour the following day.
The "restaurant" (and I use the term very loosely!) was located between the roadside and the railway tracks on a stretch of road between Haghpat and Akhtala.
It was housed in an old railway carriage. Our guide explained that after the 1988 earthquake destroyed many houses in this part of Armenia, people who had lost their homes lived in these carriages while their homes were rebuilt. Once the homes and towns had been rebuilt, many of the families converted the carriages into roadside eateries. This one was sub-divided with a dining area on one side and a kitchen on the other. The dining area was simply decorated; patterned wallpaper and a dining table, with a small heater to give us some warmth.
Outside the restaurant, overlooking the railway lines, was a barbecue area. This is where the main part of our meal (the khorovats; Armenian barbecue) would be prepared. There were two skewers of seasoned pork and two skewers of sliced potatoes on the coals awaiting our arrival. We watched as the owner lit the barbecue and began to cook the meat and potatoes. It didn't look particularly hygienic, but it certainly smelled very good!
It was cold, so we sat inside while the food was cooking outside. The dining table had been laid out with a small buffet. There were plates of lavash (Armenian bread) and homemade cheese, bowls of homemade yoghurt and plates of homegrown salads. Our hosts had prepared a range of dips (with aubergine, tomato and peppers), pickled apples, beetroots, carrots, radishes and onions. We learnt that the owners grow their own vegetables and herbs, bake their own bread, produce their own dairy products and keep their own chickens. In fact, we saw the chickens roaming around outside the front of the restaurant.
Once the pork and potatoes were thoroughly cooked, they were brought inside and added to the feast. We were then invited to tuck in. The pork was very tasty (if a little fatty) and we both nibbled at a few pieces. The potatoes were nice and the lavash was delicious. We found ourselves filling up on lavash; dipping it in the tasty yoghurt and dips or filling it with pieces of cheese and salad leaves.
To accompany the food, we were given glasses of an Armenian soft drink (which was similar to Coke) and mineral water. After the meal, I had a small cup of thick, sludgy Armenian coffee while the rest of our party (perhaps knowing what the coffee would be like!) had cups of herbal tea. I had hoped that we'd get to try a shot of Armenian cognac, but this proved to be an alcohol-free meal.
Although the food wasn't the best we've ever had, that didn't really matter. The experience was fantastic; sitting in a simple converted railway carriage eating homegrown food and traditional Armenian khorovats with local people is a memory that will last for a long time!
Armenian khorovats and homegrown food in a simple converted railway carriage. A wonderful experience!
If you are travelling from Yerevan to Sevan, it is worth considering a detour to Tsaghkadzor, a ski resort and good hiking centre. In the village itself is Kecharis Monastery, consisting of three main churches (and a nearby small chapel from the 13th century). The largest church, that of St. Gregory the Illuminator, is also the oldest, dating from...more
Nur Hotel is an absolutely amazing place to stay! It's neat and clean, and a perfect place for...more
Places to see in Stepanavan:“Lori Berd” - a Fortress (XI century) - the capital of David Anhoghin (989-1049) of the Tashir-Dzoraget Kingdom “Dzoraget” canyon - a place to have a nice swim and barbeque. “Bager” - Post-Soviet Farms which is a hike through Dzoraget gorge with a beautiful view “Mayori dzor” - a beautiful cave in the canyon where...more
Just call (374 94 42 40 20) and find out about the hour taxi can pick you up from your location/house in Yerevan to take you to your location/house in Stepanavan for only 2500 AMD. There are also minibuses leaving from Kilikia bus station for 1500 AMD, but you will have to get to the bus station. As for getting around in Stepanavan, you can rent a...more
In August 2008 we took a bus from Sisian to Ltsen. The bus leaves at around 7am from the town square.Ltsen is a tiny village. We arrived as the women were headed into the fields with their slingblades.From there we walked four or maybe six hours to Tatev.In Tatev, we stayed at Gago's guest house and had dinner with the family and an American Peace...more
When in Sisian, be sure to see the rock art at Ughtasar. This is art left 7000 years ago in a natural amphitheater near the top of a mountain. The best way to get there is to hire on of the locals. I recomend Sasun Baghdasaryan (telephone:093821472). His vehicle is well-kept and in good shape.. Sasun is knowledgeable on the history and ecology of...more
In the morning the marshrutkas (minibuses) from Sisian to Yerevan is leaving every hour (they said so at the hotel). The marshrutkas are leaving from Ori Poghots, just opposite the bridge, and it is good to be there at least 20 minutes before the bus leave, as it gets full. The ticket is bought in a small ticket booth just next to the bus and in...more
In the trees and bushes around Armenian monasteries there are a lot of stripes of cloths tied to the branches. It is a religious custom saying that prayers will be answered if you tie a strip of cloth to a tree near the monastery.The first picture is from the khachkars standing along the way above Haghartsin and the second picture is taken just by...more
I took a taxi from the guesthouse in Dilijan (Nune at the guesthouse called one for me) to Haghartsin and Goshavank. The whole trip took a bit more than three hours and then I went home to the taxi driver and met his lovely family, had coffee, ice cream and chocolate. The Armenian hospitality is great! The taxi tour was 5500 drams (July 2006).In...more
When I went to reconfirm my ticket I was told that the flight day had been changed and I had to leave Yerevan one day later than planed. I wanted to spend that day seeing a place outside Yerevan that I still hadn’t visited. I went to Tatev Travel Agency and they had a tour that suited me well. It was to Ani viewpoint, Gyumri and Marmashen. Normally...more
This is a great restaurant located on the first floor of "Dzitoghtsonts Toon" museum of culture. The environment takes you back to Gyumri of the end of 19th century. You can order your meanls, then go up, have the museum tour, which is very interesting and then go down and have your meals.For vegeterians! TELL THEM THAT YOU DON'T EAT MEAT WHEN YOU...more
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