In Armenia, everything is the most ancient – the mysterious monuments of Urartu, national cuisine, precious carpets and ornate toasts. The city on the rocks of Yerevan, rest on Lake Sevan and treatment at balneological resorts – all about Armenia: map, photo and video, sanatoriums and prices.
“The best meat is on the bones, the best earth is on the stones,” this ancient Armenian proverb is endowed with a deep meaning. The stony soil of ancient Hayastan gives unusually generous fruits, the key word in describing which is “the most ancient”. The great culture of Urartu, whose writings have not yet been deciphered, three thousand years of gastronomic traditions and even the oldest knotted carpet in the world – all this is Armenia. The heiress of ancient Anatolia and the very first Christian country that exists on the planet today.
As for the present, since 2001 the number of guests of Armenia has been steadily increasing from year to year by about a quarter. Still would! After all, Armenia is duduk and shish kebab, churchkhela and lavash, carpets and Lake Sevan, noble mountains and dense green forests, apricots, Ararat is cognac and mountain, hospitality, toasts… And also countless ancient monasteries, one of the main tourist attractions – Tatev, Noravank, Haghartsin, Geghard. However, the list can be long, but you need to see Armenia with your own eyes, taste it and enjoy its aromas.
Communication and Wi-Fi
According to Wholevehicles, mobile communication in Armenia is inexpensive and quite high quality. A SIM card can be purchased at any mobile phone shop or newsstand. Sometimes on the days of promotions and special offers from mobile operators they are distributed free of charge at the airport. As a rule, prepaid tariffs are available to tourists, the cost of a minute of conversation with Russia varies from 70 to 95 AMD. You can replenish your account with cards, which are sold in the same place where SIM cards are.
With the Internet in the country, everything is also in order, free Wi-Fi is available in almost all hotels and restaurants, as well as in some parks and even buses. Mobile Internet (3G) is also valid throughout the country, but when connecting a SIM card, the Internet package must be activated separately (instructions are attached). If this is not done, megabytes will be very expensive.
In Yerevan and in the ski resort of Tsakhkadzor, there are many hotels of a completely European level in terms of the state of the room stock and service. But outside of it, they usually offer a rather limited range of services. Even in the city of Dilijan, which was a well-known resort back in the Soviet years, the basis of the hotel stock is made up of sanatoriums and boarding houses of that era.
The same can be said about almost all Armenian resorts: angry, but quite comfortable and inexpensive. Most hotels offer you breakfast, almost every one has a restaurant or cafe of Armenian cuisine. A room in a sanatorium with two meals a day will cost about 35-45 EUR.
A hotel in Yerevan will cost more: 80-100 EUR per day for a double room for 4* and 50-80 EUR per day for 3*.
The sockets are the same as in Russia, an additional adapter is not needed.
Read also: more about what hotels are in which resorts, and how to choose a hotel in Armenia.
The monetary unit of the country is the Armenian dram (AMD), in 1 dram there are 100 lumas, which went out of circulation due to inflation. Current exchange rate: 1 AMD = 0.13 RUB (1 USD = 429.91 AMD, 1 EUR = 452.27 AMD).
You can pay in shops and shopping centers only with the national currency – dram. Exchange points are located literally at every step, they are equally willing to accept US dollars, EUR, and Russian rubles. In addition, you can exchange money in almost any store or at a private merchant – this is not considered illegal, and cases of fraud are rare (although, of course, no one has yet canceled common sense). Passport is not required.
The most profitable exchange rate is with street money changers, a little less attractive – in banks. It is worth changing currency at the airport only in case of emergency, and a small amount, since the exchange rate there is extortionate.
Plastic cards are accepted only in large cities, and even then not everywhere. However, with the search for ATMs to withdraw cash, there are usually no problems. Among other things, there is a wide network of Western Union branches in Armenia.
How to avoid problems
Yerevan is one of the safest cities in the world, the streets of which you can safely walk even late at night. There are isolated cases of theft and pickpocketing, so you should always keep personal belongings and wallets in sight.
Armenia is one of the few countries where you can drink tap water – it is not only safe for health, but also tasty, as it comes from mountain springs. In addition, locally produced bottled mineral water is sold everywhere at penny prices.
Armenia prohibits smoking in public places and enclosed spaces. In practice, they rarely get fined for this, but you can easily lose 95,000 AMD for smoking while driving.
It is forbidden to take pictures of military installations, you need to be especially careful in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenians are very friendly people and treat Russians with sympathy, but it is worth refraining from talking about national conflicts and the Armenian genocide, just in case.
In the courtyards and on the streets of Yerevan, public fountains “pulpulaki” are installed – structures a meter high, from which a stream beats. You can come and drink for free.
Embassy of Russia in Yerevan: st. Grigor Lusavorich, 13 A; tel.: (10) 567-427, 545-218; Web site
Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Gyumri: st. Garegin Nzhdeh, 1; tel.: (312) 345-33; Web site
Fire department – 101, police – 102, ambulance – 103, airport information – 187, information service – 109, weather – 186.
Cuisine and restaurants of Armenia
The basics of Armenian cuisine are minced meat (mainly beef and lamb), fresh, stewed and stuffed vegetables. When cooking, more than 300 types of aromatic herbs and flowers are used, and often they serve not even as seasonings, but as the main component of the meal.
The most popular dish, both on the Armenian table and in catering establishments, is barbecue. It is made from beef, pork, lamb or poultry, seasoned with spices and served with tomatoes, onions, eggplants, sweet peppers and other vegetables. The royal kebab “khorovats” consists of 4 types of meat, each of which is marinated in a separate sauce.
It is worth trying “kutap” – trout stuffed with rice, raisins and ginger and baked in the oven. Let’s mention hearty “khash” and delicious “dolma”, “kufta” from minced meat, many cheeses with herbs, including twisted “chechil”, and, of course, the famous Armenian lavash – by the way, it can be not only white, but also black, from durum mountain wheat.
The most ancient Armenian dishes: “poch” – beef tail soup and “arganak” – chicken and deer meat cooked in chicken broth.
Fans of dairy products will appreciate the natural yogurt “matsun”, okroshka and “savior” – a hot soup based on kefir.
Those with a sweet tooth will love candied apricots “shalah” and peaches stuffed with grated walnuts, sugar and cinnamon, as well as sweet sausages “churchkhela”.
Catering in Armenia is relatively inexpensive. Lunch in a cafe in Yerevan will cost about 2500-3000 AMD per person. Dinner in a restaurant with wine – 9000-10 000 AMD. Keep in mind that portions in Armenian establishments are a little more than generous.