Armenia is the first country to adapt Christianity as a state religion and therefore known as the “land of churches.” With other 4,000 churches and monasteries standing among the scenic mountains, traveling to Armenia is now possible with cheap travel packages. To give you a quick guide, we listed some of the best ancient monasteries and churches you must visit.
Khor Virap Monastery
Located in the Ararat plains, Khor Virap, which means deep pit or deep well, is one of the most visited places in Armenia. What tourists lure to come here is because of the scenic beauty of Mount Ararat’s stunning view right beside the church. In addition to the remarkable view, the mountain is believed to where the Noah’s ark landed after the Great Flood in the bible. It is also believed that Saint Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned here for 14 years and when they dug him up, he’s still alive when they found him.
Echimiazin Armenian Apostolic Church
Built in 301 AD, this structure was the first cathedral built in Armenia and also the oldest cathedral in the world. The cathedral was known to be the headquarters or the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Although the current sanctuary was founded in the 1600s, remnants of the 4th-century old altar have been excavated underneath the present structure.
Formerly known as the Zvartnots Cathedral, is the first circular 3-storey church that was built during the 6th century. But the structure was destroyed by an earthquake leaving the place in ruins, which only lasted for three centuries. Zvarnots locally means “celestial angels.” Today, you can still see the exterior’s circular shape of the ruins left behind. It is located at the edge of the city of Vagharshapat in Armavir Province of Armenia and is listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site.
This is one of the most historical and the most beloved tourist attraction in Armenia. Geghard Monastery is recognized today as “the Monastery of the Spear”. This is because locals believed that the monastery contains the Holy Lance or the Geghard (spear in English). On the other hand, it is known as the spear that wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude. Until now, many pilgrims and tourists visit here via cheap travel packages to see the other relics.
The other thing why tourists love to come back here is because the monastery was carved inside a rock mountain. Given with the limited tools and technology, the place still offers a stunning view surrounded by cliffs.
It is notable as one of the most photogenic monastery in the country founded during the 9th century. It is located on a large basalt plateau near the Tatev village in Syunik Province in southeastern Armenia. In October 2010, Armenia launched the world’s longest reversible aerial tramway, as part of its effort to revive tourism.
Armenian churches wait for you to visit them as the country is a window through time. Their national churches are a witness to a Christian tradition both ancient and unique. Besides, Armenia is quite affordable to visit. The prices on food at restaurants and hotels are quite reasonable. Lastly, with the help of tour operators and cheap travel packages to Armenia, it’s time for you to plan your next trip to this historical and religious country.