TRAVELING THE CAUCASUS (PART 1): ARMENIA

All Voices
Nov 28 2014

Anne Sewell
Nov 28, 2014

Armenia is one of three Transcaucasian countries located in the area
known as the Caucasus, a strip of mountainous land between the Caspian
and Black Seas. The Caucasus is a region made up of three different
countries, all speaking their own languages and located right on the
cultural border of Europe and Asia.

All of Armenia is contained within the South Caucasus, with beautiful
and often snow-capped mountain views all around. A land-locked country
with stunning scenery, Armenia still has a touch of the previous
Soviet occupation. However, nowadays Armenia strives for its own
identity with modern, yet historic, interesting cities.

A visit to Armenia must always include the cosmopolitan capital
city, Yerevan. The city has almost a Mediterranean feel, including a
fascinating cafe culture. However, the shopping and dining experiences
in this city are unlike any other.

Weekends in Yerevan always include a fascinating flea market with
many beautiful items on sale including handmade carpets and rugs,
art, handmade jewelry and beautiful obsidian chess sets.

There is much history on offer, with several fascinating monasteries,
churches and temples, all nestled within the spectacular surrounding
landscape. Just outside of town, the Tatev Monastery is worth a visit.

The photo above shows the capital city of Yerevan with snow-capped
Mount Ararat making a stunning backdrop. According to the Bible,
this is the peak on which Noah's Ark is said to have landed during
the great flood. Another beautiful image shows Mount Ararat with Khor
Virap Monastery in the foreground.

Armenia's cuisine is a mix of traditional dishes, sometimes influenced
by the outside world, and consists of traditional crops and farm
animals raised in the area. Fish, meat and vegetable dishes are
usually stuffed, frothed or pureed and the staple food is lamb,
bread and eggplant. Whereas the surrounding Caucasian countries of
Georgia and Azerbaijan prefer maize and rice, Armenians tend to go
for cracked wheat in their dishes.

Armenia's climate tends to be continental with dry and sunny summers
from June to around mid-September. Spring tends to be short and autumn
can be quite long, with beautiful and colorful foliage. Winters,
however, are cold with a lot of snow. Skiers can enjoy the winter
sports skiing on the hills of Tsakhkadzor, around thirty minutes'
drive from Yerevan.

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