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Introducing Armenia

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Tatev Monastery © Alexander Naumov

Armenia is a captivating destination, long acknowledged as a cradle of civilisation with centuries of ancient history to unravel. Armenia was one of the first countries to adopt Christianity as its official state religion and many of the country's surviving ancient monuments are Christian churches and monasteries. Mount Ararat, in Turkey, was once within the borders of Armenia before the area was divided between Turkey and the USSR, and is believed to be the landing site of Noah's ark. Armenians still consider the mountain to be a symbol of their land, and it features on their national emblem today.

Present-day Armenia is a tiny landlocked country sandwiched between the Black and Caspian Seas, occupying but a fraction of the ancient Armenia. Its capital, Yerevan, is one of the world's oldest cities, established years before the founding of ancient Rome.

Armenia is mountainous and incredibly picturesque. The countryside is riddled with small lakes, and also reveals one of the world's biggest mountain lakes, Lake Sevan. The mountains are home to health spas and treatment centres, and the Tavush region is known for its healing mineral waters, with popular resorts such as Ijevan and Dilijan.

The Kotayk region has some of Armenia's most spectacular scenery. The resort of Tsakhkadzor ('canyon of flowers') is most popular in winter, with excellent skiing. Visitors to the Syunik region will find beautiful natural springs, as well as the Tatev Monastery, Karahunj (the Stonehenge of Armenia), and the Shaki Waterfall. To the north, the Lori region is great for hiking, and hosts two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat, as well as the Odzun Cathedral. East of Yerevan lies the spiritual centre of Armenia, the Holy See of Echmiadzin, the most significant cathedral in the world's oldest Christian nation.

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