Saturday, January 21, 2017

Armenia and Why You Should Definitely Put It On Your Bucket List, Part1

*This Post originally appeared on my old lifestyle blog Style and Chocolates, a couple of year ago. This blog post has a few modifications to the text and is being transferred here permanently.

Traveling has always been a big part of my interests. When I travel with my family, we love discovering places that are not as popular or as over featured as some other countries. This year, we decided to take a trip to Armenia.

A lot of our friends were asking us why we wanted to go there - it's not somewhere that people from where I'm from go to just off the bat. Most visited are European or Asian countries like Thailand and Japan. They were wondering where and what is in Armenia and exactly why did we decide to go? I'm glad we decided on it because Armenia is honestly one of the most gorgeous countries I’ve been to! I really hope that anybody reading this will want to visit this beautiful place. Read more and see all the photos to find out why!

When my family and I do our once or sometimes twice a year “bonding” trips, we try to pick places that are somehow off the usual route. I don’t mean that we visit places where there’s no sign of civilization or anything like that, but places that have interesting culture and sights but are not as over mentioned or as over visited by tourists. Enter Armenia.

Just a little side note before I proceed to writing this post : I will be be doing my Armenia posts in batches. One, because I just had way too many photos and I might bore my readers with an uber long post, and two because it would be an injustice to such a beautiful country to try and cram all of the gorgeous photos I have into one post.

Armenia is a small nation that is right smack in the middle of the following countries: Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Azerbaijan. It is not bordered by any seas.  It's land used to be a lot bigger in the older days but certain events in history have reduced it to the size it is today. Armenia is actually one of the oldest countries in the world and it is the very first  to adopt Christianity as a state religion. It is also known as Noah's land. (as in Noah's ark). It is said in the bible that after the great big flood the ark came to rest in Mount Ararat. 

When we got to the country's capital, Yerevan, the first exciting thing we saw was a rather faint but still kind of clear outline of the Biblical Mt. Ararat. Though it was getting towards the end of Springtime, the mountain still had snowy peaks.

A faint view of Mt. Ararat on the day we landed. This was practically the only time we saw it at it's clearest.

Yerevan is a curious mix of a lot of things. I felt like it had a very European feel, that was milder and more curated, but with most of the buildings done in a more Soviet style. It looked kind of old world, yet it had some modern elements. The streets were very charming and they also had that cafe culture that you see in many European capitals (where the tables are outside the restaurant and customers sit around and people watch.)

Yerevan, the country's capital was a gorgeous mix of European and Soviet architecture. Our hotel was located here, at the Republic Square which is the center of the city.

Yerevan is actually called the Rose Capital because most of its buildings are built in a pink colored "tuf" stone.

Gorgeous Yerevan.

Our hotel was at the very heart of the city, at the Republic Square. It was such a beautiful sight. At night, all the  buildings would light up, the fountains would be running and there would be music playing in the background. 

Beautiful buildings all lit up at night.

 Yerevan at night

Yerevan at night.

Streets of Yerevan

 A pretty little side street in Yerevan with an old fashioned car.

Since Armenia is a very Christian country, there are lots of churches and monasteries. There are times when I visit other countries and feel like all the places of worship (however grand and beautiful) all start to look the same if you visit 2 or 3 everyday. Here in Armenia, I thought that I was going to feel the same way but I was just so blown away by every scenery surrounding each monastery every time. These monasteries were situated by beautiful mountains and perilous looking  gorges and places where you wouldn't see anything for miles. Each backdrop was more fantastic than the last. One site we visited was Armenia's biggest body of water, which is Lake Sevan. We visited some churches overlooking the lake. We had to climb up two hundred plus steps to see this. The view up here was so worth the climb! Read the captions of all the photos to find out more about each place we visited.

Churches with Lake Sevan as its backdrop. Love how medieval this scene looks,  my cousin commented that she would not be surprised to see a dragon fly past!

One of the first monasteries that we visited had a huge walnut tree that was struck by lightning.

A closeup of the walnut tree that was was split after lighting struck. Armenia produces a lot of walnuts!

The Khor Virap monastery with Mt. Ararat, hidden by clouds behind. This was where you were supposed to get the best views of the biblical mountain but unfortunately the clouds decided to go and cover them up!

 Another View of the Khor Virap Monastery.

The stairs leading down the underground pit where St. Gregory the Illuminator (the country's patron saint) was imprisoned. The climb down was scary and claustrophobic, but the pit was actually kind of spacious. (said my father by the way, I was too chicken to climb down myself)

A vendor selling doves. You were supposed to release this to the biblical Mountain. Sounded like a tourist trap, but my sister fell right into anyway. She had to carry these up some steps and the bird would not stop twitching!

A look out point from the Khor Virap monastery, this was where you were supposed to release the dove into Mt. Ararat.

Another view of the Beautiful fields and the Khor Virap monastery behind.

A close up of the Khor Virap Monastery.

Approaching the Noravank Monastery.

Noravank Monastery

Noravank Monastery, my favorite spot in Armenia was surrounded by
 beautiful red colored jagged rocks on mountains. The backdrop was just so stunning.

More on that beautiful scenery surrounding the Noravank Monastery. I wonder why Hollywood films haven't been filmed here yet?

Noravank Monastery

Noravank Monastery : A closer look at the facade. Those are actually steps leading up.

Details of a carved door at the Noravank Monastery.

Obsidian is abundant in the country. One fun thing we did was stop by the side of the road to pick some of these stones up. There's so much of them that you can literally just pick them up and bring them home!

A mountain that had lots and lots of Obsidian.

Our Obsidian hoard

A small town that we passed by called Dilijan.

Old Dilijan

Gallivanting around the Republic Square at night with my Pegasus Winged Heels from Sala Chaussures

Loving Yerevan at night!

I hope you guys will stick around for my second (and third!) post on Armenia! I still have not even talked about the amazing food and there are still so many picturesque places we visited. I can honestly say that Armenia is just one of the most amazing countries I have visited and I just want to show everyone just how stunning it is! Hope you guys enjoyed the first post, see you for the next one!

All photos in this post are personal photos of If you want to use them or borrow them in any way, please contact me first! My email add: If you can't be bothered to send me an email and still want to use my photos, then please do credit them and link back to this blog. Thanks!

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