• Mariam Gevorkian

3 places to visit in Ancient Armenia

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

Armenia is blessed with plenty historic sites and ancient land marks, many relating to it's ancient historic past of being the first nation to accept Christianity in 301 AD. National Geographic has placed Armenia within its list of 10 Places that deserve more tourists therefore I feel compelled to create a short list of places in Armenia which show case it's enriching ancient history and sacred spots.

Garni Temple

The Temple of Garni remains as one of the oldest and most beautiful monuments in Armenia. The site is only 27 KM from away from Yerevan making it very accessible and worth while.

According to Greek inscription, pagans built the temple in dedication to Mithra, the God of Sun back in 77 AD. Armenia became an official Christian country in 301 AD, leading to the destruction of pagan worship sites and temples in order to signify the national shift towards religious enlightenment. Yet the Garni Temple was spared the destruction, although it is not clear as to why; and remains one of the most valued historic sites in Armenia. The architecture of the temple indeed shares similarities with Roman construction sites as it was built after Tiridates I, the leader of Armenia at the time, being given 50 million drachmas and provided him with Roman craftsmen to serve to the patron of Mithra,

Tatev Monastery

Did you know the longest cableway in the world is located in the heart of Armenia? It runs through the historic site of Tatev Monastery which dates back to the 9th century. Sitting next to scenic views of the marvellous mountains; the Monastery is located in the Syunik region of southeastern Armenia. During the 14th century, the Monastery became home to the University of Tatev, the most prestigious Armenian institution to this day. The university contributed immensely to Armenia's advancement of art, literature, religion and philosophy enlightenment. The monastery itself contains 4 buildings, all unique in their design and symbolic of ancient Armenian creed and culture.

Areni Cave

Still not convinced on the ancient origins of Armenia? This last location will definitely win you over. Armenia is host to the oldest winery in the world and it is located in a cave which dates back to 6100 years ago. The cave is located deep inside the mountains of Areni, a village known for its wine production. Before the discovery of the Areni cave, the oldest wine site known to archaeologists was in Israel from dating back to 1650 BC. This discovery confirmed that this civilisation had developed agriculture and acquired horticultural skills even back in 4,000 BC.