Armenia: Crossroads of Civilizations between the Levant and the Caucasus

Armenia: Crossroads of Civilizations between the Levant and the Caucasus

There is a lot that makes Armenia an ideal destination for lovers of tourism and travel in the Arab region, especially in the Levant and the Arabian Gulf, as it is first and foremost located within walking distance, it only takes two hours by plane. In addition, they are located within the same time zone or an hour apart, which makes the journey to it easy and light on the body. I’ve flown in from Sharjah airport in the UAE, which is in the same time zone, and that was one of the few times I didn’t feel like flying at all.

In addition, the Armenian culture is deeply rooted in modern Arab history, as Armenians represent an important component of the peoples of several countries in the region, foremost of which are Syria and Lebanon, in addition to Iraq, Egypt and Jordan. This leaves a deep feeling in the same Arab tourist from those countries that he visits some relatives in a neighboring country, especially since the customs of the Armenians, their lifestyles, their dishes, and the designs of their cities and villages are very similar to the lifestyles, customs, dishes, cities and villages in the countries of the Arab Mashreq.

The entry visa may represent the only obstacle to travel to Armenia, as its procedures may be complicated for some Arab nationalities. The laws are also not clear, and procedures may differ from one embassy to another. I recommend contacting the nearest embassy or consulate before planning a trip to find out about visa requirements and procedures in your country.

However, the importance of the tourism sector in Armenia is steadily growing, as work is underway to attract more tourists, especially from the region, and more airlines are accepting to organize flights to it, and it is expected that work will be done to simplify and organize visa procedures in the near future.

Armenia is a landlocked country that is not bordered by any seas, as airports are the main entry gate to it. Flights from the Arab region land at Yerevan Airport, whose official name is Zvartnots International Airport.

The second step, after knowing the visa procedures, is choosing the time of travel. This depends on the type of vacation the traveler is looking forward to, as Armenia offers a good number of summer and winter activities, including snow skiing. It has very good slopes, and costs less compared to European ski destinations. While it offers winter a nearby, low-cost and ideal destination for those who love skiing and winter sports, Armenia offers many activities that are suitable for summer vacations, whether in its cities, which include everything that may interest the tourist from historical, tourist, cultural and artistic landmarks, restaurants and cafes, or its countryside, which represents The beginning of the famous Caucasus Mountains region, and is characterized by a very beautiful nature in summer that is unique to this region of the world.


Our trip to Armenia was in the summer, between August and September. We flew from Sharjah Airport to Yerevan Airport in a very smooth journey that did not exceed two hours, and we proceeded directly towards our first destination outside the capital, preferring to end our journey there, and heading to the beginning of the village of Tsapatagh located on the shores of Lake Sevan, to be the beginning of our journey in Armenia.

Tsapatakh is a small village that sleeps in the arms of the Lesser Caucasus mountain range, and its inhabitants do not exceed a few hundred. It is an ideal mountain destination for relaxation away from the noise and pollution of cities, and enjoying the cool breezes of the highlands, and provides a wide and varied choice of outdoor activities, especially hiking, camping and picnics in nature, between forests and on the banks of rivers.

We went during our stay in Tzapatakh on hiking trips through the mountains and valleys more than once, and it was one of the most beautiful mountain hiking trips that I have done, as the weather in the summer is moderate and ideal for these activities. As I mentioned, the area overlooks Lake Sevan, which softens the air with a sufficient amount of moisture to protect the skin from the summer sun, but it does not exceed the limit at all and does not cause any sweating while walking.

In addition, the area is characterized by absolute calm, disturbed only by the sound of birds chirping and mountain breezes on the tops. The area is colored from all sides by the green of meadows and forests on one side, and the blue of the sky and lake on the other. This joyful landscape is completed at sunset, when the sun disappears behind the waters of Lake Sevan, coloring the horizon in wonderful shades of yellow and orange, complementing in amazing harmony with the green of the mountains and the blue of the forests.

I am reminded of those who wish to go for a picnic or walk in the mountains or camp near Tsabatak, and the eastern shore of Lake Sevan in general, to be careful because the area is located close to the border with Azerbaijan, and because the relations between the two countries are not friendly, so it is advised to choose the road before setting out and ordering to Hotel staff identify landmarks on the map, or carry a GPS device to avoid entering the border lands between the two countries.

Lake Sevan is the largest lake in the Caucasus Mountains region, and one of the highest lakes in the world above sea level. It is a huge lake, resembling a sea, and provides a haven for water activities, navigation and fishing for the people of Armenia.

During our stay in Tzapatakh, we stayed in one of the Tufenkian hotels, which is a local boutique hotel chain, all of its facilities are distinguished. . There are several hotels belonging to the group in different parts of Armenia, and I would recommend any of them, as they are all located in places worth visiting.

It is reported that the road from Yerevan to Tzapatakh takes about two hours by car. There is no public transportation to it, so the tourist must take a taxi. The fare is around $100 per trip.


From Tsaghkadzor, we headed west towards Tsaghkadzor, which is the most prominent ski destination in Armenia, with very good ski slopes with a total length of 30 km, equipped with all winter sports facilities from cable cars and cranes, and there are local and international hotels and resorts many.

Tsakhador is a wonderful destination in summer as well, as it rises more than 1,800 meters above sea level, and lies in a very quiet mountainous area with a picturesque nature in the majestic Lesser Caucasus Mountains, which continues its gradient upwards towards Mount Aragats, which is 4100 meters high. We stayed there for 3 days, and our stay was very nice, in general it was calm and beautiful in nature and weather.

The ski slopes open their doors in the summer as well, as they are a great destination for mountain hikes. It is possible to reach in Tsakhador to an altitude of 2,800 meters, where it is necessary to take more than one cable car to climb to the top. We chose Istiklal only the first of them, as we completed the trip to the summit on foot. It is a trip that requires a medium to high level of fitness, especially since the area is designed for winter sports, and there may not be a suitable path for walking in some parts, either as it is steep and rugged, or sometimes filled with plants and thorns. But it is undoubtedly a wonderful experience, as it allows enjoying stunning views extending for tens of kilometers towards the horizon, overlooking Lake Sevan when the weather is clear. Water must be carried during the trip, and some food is recommended, as one likes to stop and rest at several locations on the trail uphill.

Several hotels and resorts provide transportation towards the foot of the mountain. We stayed at the Marriott, which offers minibus rides to and from the cable car station at the foothills.

In addition to skiing, hiking and trekking in nature, Tsakhador is a suitable destination for relaxation, as it is characterized by its extreme calm, fresh air, and distinctive restaurants. Although there are many common dishes between the Levantine and Armenian cuisine, there is a lot to discover from the foods and dishes of that region, especially the Caucasus region. We had dinner in a Georgian restaurant one evening, and its meals were so special that I had never had anything like it before. Georgian cuisine is mainly based on cheese, and its dishes are delicious, but they may be heavy on the stomach for some.

Tsakhador is about an hour’s drive from Yerevan, and there is no public transportation to it, so the tourist must take a taxi. The fare is about $50 per trip.


During our stay in Tsakhador we went on a trip to the town of Dilijan, located north of Lake Sevan, in the middle of a national park in the Caucasus Mountains with dense forests. Dilijan is somewhat similar to the Syrian town of Kessab, most of whose residents are of Armenian origin. It is a quiet small town that still preserves its ancient architectural style and its virgin nature far from industrial and urban pollution.

The old part of the town is still the same as it was hundreds of years ago, as it has been converted into a historical tourist center where there are a number of hotels and restaurants. The tourist touches the distinctive urban and historical heritage of the town, even far from the historical center.

The area provides an ideal destination for lovers of relaxing in the lap of the mountains, enjoying the forest breeze and outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping. In the forests of Dilijan there are a large number of marked and marked paths, ranging in length from a few kilometers to tens of kilometres, some of which pass by lakes and rivers, while others run along the mountains. At the entrance to Dilijan’s National Park there is a Tourist Information Center, which provides brochures and maps of routes and trails. I advise those who wish to go on a hiking trip in the forests of Dilijan to contact the center first to determine the route they prefer to take, and to prepare for the trip (according to its length). It is also advisable to ascertain the lengths of the paths, the level of fitness required for them, and the extent of knowledge of coexistence with nature in the forests, as some of them pass in areas inhabited by bears and other wild animals.


The capital, Yerevan, is the largest and most densely populated city in Armenia. The city and the surrounding area have many landmarks, museums, tourist and archaeological sites to visit, as well as parks, markets, restaurants and cafes. It has a character somewhat similar to the cities of the Arab Mashreq, such as Aleppo and Beirut, except that it is inlaid with Russian features from the Soviet era. The visitor thinks in some areas of Yerevan that time stopped in the eighties, and that the Soviet Union still exists, as the landmarks of that era abound in the city, the most important of which are Lada cars that spread during the eighties of the last century, and are widely used as taxis in Armenia (and the rest of the republics the Soviet Union in general). As the visitor glimpses in various parts of the city buildings and monuments constructed during that era. It is integrated with the modern features of the city in a very beautiful harmony, where the tourist feels the fragrance of history and the nobility of this city throughout.

The commercial center of Yerevan was modernized and new buildings were constructed that housed offices and corporate headquarters, while maintaining the traditional features of the building. One does not go far from this modern area until one finds oneself in the streets and alleys that smell of history and are replete with ancient buildings and monuments, as well as wonderful harmony.

Among the most prominent landmarks of Yerevan is its main square, which is called Republic Square, which is bordered by four historical buildings with curved design that reminds the visitor of the squares of the Italian city of Rome, but it is more spacious, arranged and cared. The grounds of the square have been paved with colored stones, which draw beautiful shapes as a whole.

The most beautiful thing about this square is a musical fountain located in the courtyard of the Museum of Fine Arts, whose waters and lights sway to the tunes of the most famous classical pieces every evening, as it is a destination for the city’s residents and tourists in summer, who go to enjoy the beautiful weather, music and the view of the dancing fountains. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful fountains I have ever seen, and I have visited it every evening during my stay in Yerevan.

It is not necessary to note that one of the most important activities that a tourist must do in Yerevan is to enjoy delicious Armenian food and dishes, some of which, as I mentioned, are similar to Levantine dishes, while others have been borrowed from Caucasian, Russian and other cuisines from the kitchens of that region.

Speaking of food, what impressed me the most during my time in Armenia was the abundance of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits in a striking way, as the ingredients for the salads were especially as if they had just been picked from the garden.

The city also includes a number of other museums, the most beautiful of which is the Cafesjian Museum of Modern Art, which is a museum that is spread over several floors, rising on the slope of a hill overlooking the city, where a section of the exhibits were placed on each floor. In addition to the uniqueness of the contemporary art exhibits, this museum offers a wonderful view of the city from its highest floors.

It is possible to walk from Republic Square to the Kavisan Museum of Modern Art, which is a distinctive short walk that passes through many of the markets, parks and wonderful city landmarks, especially the Opera House and its large square, which attracts thousands of tourists and residents of the city during the summer afternoon to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather. The area also includes many restaurants and cafes that serve delicious and fresh dishes.

People start flocking to the Opera House courtyard at sunset

Yerevan also includes a large mausoleum for the martyrs of the Armenian massacres, located on a hill overlooking the city. It houses a museum and a photo gallery, along with documents, correspondence, and other artifacts from that era. In addition to its great importance as a historical, cultural and tourist attraction, the shrine area also offers great views of the capital. Those who like to walk can reach the shrine on foot, but the journey may be arduous for some because of the steepness of the road, so it is preferable to take a taxi or bus.

There are many shopping centers and markets in the area surrounding the shrine. Nearby there is also a restaurant area overlooking the river, offering delicious traditional, contemporary and Western dishes, and some of them offer music and dance performances of Armenian folklore.

The city’s markets should not be overlooked, as Yerevan includes popular markets for everything that comes to mind, especially food, vegetables, fruits, books, carpets, paintings, sculptures, antiques and antiques, including some antiques and collectibles from the Soviet era.

Garni Temple

The Temple of Garni is one of the most important tourist and archaeological sites in Armenia, and in the world, which should not be overlooked while visiting this country. It is an ancient temple dating back to the first century AD, and is a typical building of the Hellenistic period. In addition to being distinguished as a historical edifice, it occupies a high summit in a picturesque mountainous area and overlooks the surrounding valleys and hills, giving it a majestic appearance. Garni Temple is about 30 km from Yerevan, and many tourism companies organize trips for individuals and groups to it.

monastery gehard

The Gehard monastery is one of the most important historical and tourist attractions in Armenia. It is a very old monastery dating back to the fourth century AD. Its facilities were dug and carved into the surrounding mountains. It is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and is without a doubt one of the most important landmarks to visit during one’s visit to Armenia. The visitor immediately senses the amount of effort and time that was required to complete an edifice of this size in this rugged mountainous region. It is located within walking distance from the Garni temple, and it is advisable to allocate time to visit the teachers during the same trip to shorten the time, effort and cost.

Mount Ararat

Mount Ararat is about 60 km from Yerevan, but it is currently located within Turkish territory. It bears historical and heritage significance in the Armenian culture, and is a symbol of Armenia and Armenians around the world. In addition, it is a natural marvel in itself, as it is a towering mountain with a height of more than 5100 meters, and is characterized by its conical shape of volcanic origin, as it rises majestic in the middle of vast flat plains surrounding it from all sides, where no obstacle for tens of kilometers prevents it from looking. It is even visible in the skyline of Yerevan during the clear days. There is a second mountain nearby, called Little Ararat, with a height of 3925 meters.

Those who wish to see this majestic mountain in Armenia can head to the Khor Virap Monastery, which is located right on the border opposite the mountain, which offers an exceptional view in every sense of the word on the mountain and the surrounding area. In addition to the exceptional view, the monastery itself is an important historical and tourist landmark dating back to the sixth century AD.

cognac lab

Armenia is famous for its Cognac drink, as it manufactures and exports some of the best brands in the world, which are superior to its French peers. In Yerevan, there are several cognac factories, I advise those who wish to visit one of them to go to the Noy factory, located within the city not far from Republic Square. .

An interesting story about this factory is that the quality of Armenian cognac Noi made it the preferred drink of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, after Joseph Stalin presented it to him during a meeting. Under Stalin’s direction, the factory sent a box of cognac to Churchill’s office every month. After a period of time, Churchill complained to Stalin about the poor quality of the drink, so Stalin asked to investigate the matter immediately, only to discover that the factory’s chief expert had angered the Soviet authorities, so he was sent to a prison in Siberia. Stalin ordered his pardon, so he returned to the factory and the quality of the product was restored.

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