Armenian Holidays from Exeter International
An old Armenian proverb says that “The guest is God’s messenger and he is welcome in our home.” Hospitality is central to the Armenian character which has managed to maintain its own unique identity, its own alphabet and language, despite the country having been trampled over, for almost its entire history, by one empire after another: Parthian (Iranian), Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Mongol, Ottoman, Persian, Russian and Soviet.
Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity (in the 4th Century AD) and it is this heritage which gives Armenia its distinctive character, for the country is a tapestry of churches and monasteries, with a kaleidoscope of frescoes and murals. How difficult it has been, however, for the Armenians to hold on to what they hold dear, can be seen in the paradox that the national symbol is Mount Ararat, which is visible from within so much of Armenia, but is today in Turkey.
The present renaissance of the country is attracting many returning Armenians who have formerly been a part of the very large Armenian Diaspora – there were more Armenians living outside of their homeland than within it. This new wave of immigration is manifested in the new hotels, restaurants and businesses being opened. Armenian culture is also experiencing a revival, and, taken together, this rejuvenation makes for an exciting holiday destination.
Yerevan, the capital, is one of the oldest cities in the world. The earliest recorded settlement dates back to 782 BC. The city today has a vibrant café society, and a host of arts and crafts markets selling woodcarving, fine lace, and the hand-knotted carpets and kilims that are a Caucasus specialty. Obsidian and gold jewellery is a centuries-old Armenian specialty.
Yerevan can claim to have a world-class orchestra , with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra which performs at the Opera House, and a number of excellent chamber ensembles. You don’t have to read them all, but the Matenadaran Institute of Ancient Manuscripts boasts the world’s largest collection of ancient manuscripts (over 16,000), including works by Aristotle and Eusebius. The National Art Gallery has a superb collection of Russian art, and houses many works by Aivazovsky, Armenia’s greatest painter.
Places of interest in Armenia centres around the water resorts of Lake Sevan, the hot springs of Arzni and Jermuk, the forests of Dilijan, Aghveran, Tsaghkadzor, Bjurakan and Gugark, and the mountain caves and cliffs of the Southeast region.
Visitors to the country are still so few that many of the Medieval, Iron Age, Bronze Age and even Stone Age churches and fortresses, situated within a few hours drive of Yerevan, can still be seen in their original settings.
Interested in Armenian Holidays? Talk to Exeter International
For more information or a suggested itinerary please call us on 020 8956 2756 or email us at email@example.com