The Armenian capital of Yerevan is situated in the South Caucus mountains. This ancient city has much to offer modern-day travellers, from active sports to history to wine-tasting.
The Caucasian mountains dominate the landscape. Active travellers can climb, hike and ski in the mountains. For those who want more adrenaline, there is even an extreme sports festival. History is never far away in this old country, with numerous museums and fortresses to explore. Wine enthusiasts will want to try Armenian wine and the well-known Armenian brandy -- the latter being a favourite of Winston Churchill. Although Armenia has long, dry Summers, the Winters can be cold; a reason to have another taste of brandy.
Yerevan is an ancient city which was founded in 782 B.C., making it one of the oldest continually inhabited cities. After a long period of independence, the Kingdom of Armenia declined in power and was occupied by the Persian Empire. In the 19th century, Russia annexed the city and it became part of the Russian Empire. Armenia had a brief period of independence in 1920 before it was captured by Bolshevik Russia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Yerevan became the capital again of an independent Armenia.
Things to Do
Although ancient, Yerevan offers all travellers something to suit their taste. Here are some things to do when you visit:
Climb a mountain
The Caucasian mountains are not far from the city. Many local tour companies offer guided tours to the mountains, where travellers can hike, climb or -- in the Winter months -- ski. The highest mountain in Armenia is Mount Aragats, which is over 4,000 metres high.
Immerse yourself in history
This ancient city has numerous museums where travellers can learn the long history of the city. These include the History Museum of Armenia and the Armenian Genocide Museum. The latter remembers the 1.5 million Armenians who died. There are also many ruins within easy reach of the town.
Yerevan boasts its own brandy factory. The Ararat Brandy factory hosts tours for visitors where one can try the famous brandy. It is said that this was Sir Winton Churchill's drink of choice.
Calendar of Events
Yerevan offers numerous annual events throughout the year, many of which are unique to Armenia. Here is a selection for you to consider:
Tolma Festival. This annual festival to the Armenian dish of Tolma (or Dolma) is held in May. This dish dates back over 2,000 years. Travellers will have the opportunity to try many different Tolma dishes.
Carpet Festival. The beautifully designed Armenian carpets are the focus of this annual festival held in August. Travellers can not only see carpets on display but also watch master craftsmen in action. You could even buy a carpet as a souvenir of your visit.
Extreme Sports Festival. This annual festival takes place near Lake Sevan. Extreme sports enthusiasts compete in paintball, rock climbing, paragliding, motor sports and other sports. It is held in August. If you love adrenaline, this is the place to be.