Armenia (Armenian Հայաոտան, Hayastan) – the world’s first Christian country more than 1,700 years ago in 301 AD, and has a large Diaspora all over the world. As a former Soviet republic lying in the Caucasus region, straddling Asia and Europe, Armenia has an ancient and rich culture. Armenia is very easy to experience, thanks to very hospitable people.
Landlocked, Armenia is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Iran to the south, Azerbaijan to the east, and Azerbaijan’s Naxcivan exclave to the southwest. Five percent of the country’s surface area consists of Lake Sevan (Sevana Lich), the largest lake in the Lesser Caucasus mountain range. The many mountains and mountain valleys create a great number of micro climates, with scenery changing from arid to lush forest at the top of a mountain ridge.
Yerevan (Երեւան) is the capital of the Republic of Armenia, one of the three hubs of the South Caucasus and is home to over a million people – the largest Armenian community in the world.
The best way to get around the Yerevan is taxi. They are cheap and available at any time of the day. There is a price difference between taxis that are freely available on the streets and call taxi services. Call taxi services are cheaper and convenient. The service can be arranges by the phone in advance. Taxicab drivers know the city and arrive within 5-10 minutes. The cost is around 500-1000 Dram ($1-$2.5) in the downtown or within 1.8 miles and 150 Dram ($0.15) every mile after. Tips are not necessary, but the good taxicab driver deserves 200-300 Dram ($0.50) tip. Taxi service in Yerevan is exceptional and is a very convenient way to get around the city.
For your shopping needs there are many grocery stores and open markets in the downtown. If you are looking for art or Armenian souvenirs then go to Vernissage on a weekend. Every Saturday and Sunday the park behind the Nalbandian and Khangian streets becomes a souvenir fair. Make sure to negotiate a better deal and you can get some discounts on gorgeous woodcarvings, pottery and hand made jewelry from Obsidian. A word of advice, please do not buy key chains or objects with insects or reptiles frozen in plastic. It is illegal to catch endangered animals and use them for the souvenirs in Armenia. Help us protect Armenia’s unique wildlife.
Yerevan has very active social life. If you are looking for nightlife and live entertainment, there is a live music in some cafes and restaurants in Yerevan.
When you are in Yerevan do not forget to visit small holly town Ejmiatsin that is originated in the 7th century BC. Ejmiatsin is the seat of the supreme Catholicos, or primate, of the Armenian Apostolic Church. You will find beautiful churches, monasteries and interesting architecture in the town center.