ADVENTURE THROUGH HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY!
The Time of a New Era
03-14 Aug 2015
ARMENIA TOUR with Graham Hancock
August 3-14, 2015
Have you ever dreamed of a journey to a country that is still not
swarmed with tourists? To a country where people are living in harmony
with their ancient culture and customs? If this is your dream, The Time
of a New Era will make it happen! Armenia Tour is a journey through
time that will allow you to become fascinated by Armenia's beautiful
grace, to breathe fresh mountain air, to sink into mountain healing
springs, to climb rocky peaks, to eat ecologically clean food, to
taste the specialties of Armenian cuisine, to listen to their songs
Graham Hancock: I've been blessed to be able to spend much of my life
travelling the world investigating the ancient mysteries of earth's
lost civilization, so it's always exciting to discover a country I've
never been to before. In 2014 I visited Armenia for the first time
and found it to be just an incredible place filled with exciting
antiquities and real adventure. On this exclusive tour I'll share
what I found there from extraordinary petroglyphs created high in
the mountains and showing scenes of a primordial 'Garden of Eden'
to enigmatic stone circles aligned to the heavens 12,000 years ago,
to traditions that link to the constellation of Orion in that same
remote era and to unexplored megalithic sites. Along the way we'll
also visit some of the most ancient Christian places of the worship in
the world, with cathedrals and monasteries of profound beauty where
an ancient spirituality still lives and breathes. I'll give several
lectures in the evenings as we travel showing how all this links in
to Magicians of the Gods, the new book I'm working on that will be
the sequel to Fingerprints of the Gods.
Armenia borders Turkey and Georgia. It is a fascinating and still
undiscovered country, with breathtaking monuments and impressive
mountain landscape. Its beauty and heritage equals other countries
like Egypt or Turkey. In its golden age, Armenia was one of the
most powerful kingdoms of Asia Minor and its territory was spreading
to the lands currently belonging to Turkey. The current capital of
Armenia, Yerevan, is one of the oldest cities in the world, funded
in 8th century BC. Armenia once included Mount Ararat, which biblical
tradition identifies as the mountain that Noah's ark rested on after
the flood. It was the first country in the world to officially embrace
Christianity as its religion (c. A.D. 300).
1. About Armenia
14,000 years ago, thousands of years before the ancient civilizations
of Egypt and Mesopotamia, the territory of Armenia was inhabited by
prehistoric people. An ancient community in Armenian Highlands left
traces of habitation on over 2000 rocks carved onto dark volcanic
stones. Located high in the mountains, situated more than 9000 feet
above the sea level, on top of the Ughtasar Mountain. These rock
carvings known as "itsagir" depict hunting scenes, a wide array of
local animals, animal domestication, farming, astronomical sights,
solar symbols, geometrical shapes, mythical creatures, ancient rituals,
religious dances, and even zodiac signs. Similar signs can be found
all over the world - on the Egyptian Sahara desert, for instance. The
ones in Armenia are very special, not known to the general public
and rarely seen by tourists.
Another important site is the Pyramid of Dvin. You may ask - a
pyramid? In Armenia ? The pyramids have been discovered in different
regions of the world - in Egypt, China and Mexico. For a very long
time nobody suspected that Armenia can have its own Pyramid as well.
Dvin - the medieval capital of Armenia - is located 250 km from
Armenia's current capital city, Yerevan. It is a place where we will
see the mysterious Pyramid, still not officially discovered and
covered by sand. The Pyramid is well known to the locals, but the
government did not issue a permission for excavation so far. A few
years ago illegal excavations have been conducted at the top of this
artificial hill and they found a stone construction underneath. What is
more, a few kilometers from the Pyramid, in the ruins of the ancient
city of Dvin, there is a stone with an engraving of a Pyramid, which
clearly points to the fact that it has not been always covered by
sand. When Armenia adopted Christianity as its official religion,
the remainders of the ancient beliefs were destroyed or hidden. The
Pyramid as a symbol of ancient cult was probably simply covered by
sand and disguised as a natural hill.
During our journey through this diverse country, we will also visit
Armenia's Stonehenge. Zorats Karer is the oldest astronomical
observatory in the world, built thousands of years before the
Stonehenge in England! Archaeologists estimate that it was built 12
thousand years ago - as much as 9 thousand years before the time of
Armenia is not only known for its archaeological and historical
value, but also for its beautiful green landscapes, high mountains and
natural forests. It is the land of magnificent monasteries and ancient
churches built on the mountain tops or at the edge of a precipice,
creating unforgettable scenic views. Take the chance to see those
stunning natural miracles! This is a tour for the fans of archaeology
and unraveled historical mysteries - discover the undiscovered during
our Armenia adventure!
2. TOUR ITINERARY:
Day 1: Arrival.
Arrival to Yerevan international Airport Zvartnots. A representative of
The Time of a New Era company will welcome our guests at the airport
and transport them to the luxurious 5-star hotel in Yerevan.
After the check-in process at the hotel, our guests will have time
to rest. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 2: Yerevan City Tour
Breakfast at the hotel. You will start your tour with panoramic city
tour of Yerevan. Along the way you will see the Sports and Concert
complex, Kievyan Bridge, Baghramyan Avenue, the Presidential Palace,
Academy of Sciences, National Parliament and the Opera House. You will
also visit History Museum and Brandy factory with tasting of 3 types
of famous Armenian cognac. Lunch during the tour. Back to the hotel.
Dinner at a traditional Armenian Restaurant. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 3: Yerevan - Echmiatsin - Zvartnots-Metsamor - Yerevan
Breakfast at the hotel. We will start our tour with a visit of
Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the first official Christian church in the
world, built in 301 A.D. Lunch during the tour. Depart from Etchmiadzin
to Zvartonts, 7th Century Armenian cathedral. Zvartnots was built at
a time when much of Armenia was under Byzantine control or influence
and during the early invasions of Armenia by the Muslim Arabs.
We will continue our tour to the excavations of Metsamor - an ancient
observatory and center of ancient metallurgy. Excavations have shown
strata of occupancy going back to the Neolithic period (7,000-5,000
BC), but the most outstanding features of the site were constructed
during the early, middle and late Bronze Ages (5,000-2,000 BC). The
site occupies a volcanic hill and surrounding area. The entire city
is believed to have covered 200 hectares at its greatest extent,
housing up to 50,000 people (making it a huge metropolis in those
days). The area was rich in water, mineral and hunting resources at
the time of the development of Metsamor.
Back to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Yerevan.
Day 4: Yerevan -Garni - Geghard-Agarak - Yerevan
Breakfast at the hotel in Yerevan. Visit to Garni, the only pagan
temple in Armenia. We will see the magnificent canyon and organ-like
vertical cliffs. Take part in a traditional lavash making ceremony.
After lunch we will visit a magnificent Christian Monastery Geghard,
carved in the rocks. The monastery has an amazing architecture and
stunning acoustics. In the afternoon we will go on a trip to the
magnificent complex Agarak - ancient settlement, located in the
foothills of Mount Aragats. We will see ancient burial chambers and
places of worship. Back to Yerevan. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 5: Yerevan - Dvin - Noravank - Zorats Karer - Goris
Breakfast at the hotel in Yerevan. Departure from Yerevan to Goris. On
the way we will visit the Pyramid of Dvin. The Pyramid is well known
to the locals, but the government did not issue a permission for
excavation so far. A few years ago illegal excavations have been
conducted at the top of this artificial hill and they found a stone
construction underneath. What is more, a few kilometers from the
Pyramid, in the ruins of the ancient city of Dvin, we will see a
stone with an engraving of a Pyramid, which clearly points to the
fact that it has not been always covered by sand.
After lunch we will continue our trip to Noravank Monastery - a
magnificent monument of medieval Armenian architecture, surrounded by
gorgeous red rocks. In the afternoon we will visit the oldest (12,000
years old) observatory Zorats Karer, also called Karahunj (prototype
of Stonehenge). In the evening we will arrive to Goris. Dinner and
overnight stay in Goris.
Day 6: Goris - Tatev Monastery - Ditaket - Goris
Breakfast at the hotel in Goris. Trip to 9th-century Tatev Monastery
by the longest cable car in the world. In the 14th and 15th centuries
Tatev Monastery hosted one of the most important Armenian medieval
universities, the University of Tatev, which contributed to the
advancement of science, religion and philosophy, reproduction of
books and development of miniature painting. Scholars of the Tatev
University contributed to the preservation of Armenian culture and
creed during one of its most turbulent periods in its history.
Lunch during the tour in the forest on the edge of deep gorge of
breathtaking beauty. After our lunch we will explore the 6,000-year
old city, discovered in a mountain forest. We will see the ruins of
houses and architectural details. In the evening we will return to
Goris. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 7: Ughtasar
Breakfast at the hotel in Goris. Today we will explore the petroglyphs
of Ughtasar. Located high in the mountains, situated more than 9,000
feet above the sea level on top of the Ughtasar Mountain. These rock
carvings depict hunting scenes, a wide array of local animals, animal
domestication, farming, astronomical sights, solar symbols, geometrical
shapes, mythical creatures, ancient rituals, religious dances, and even
zodiac signs. The petroglyphs can only be accessed by an uphill climb
in a 4x4 vehicle (3-hour drive from the highway). The petroglyphs
(12,000 BCE) are carved onto dark brownish-black volcanic stones
left behind by an extinct volcano. Although the site was discovered
in the early 20th century, it is still not fully understood today.
In the evening we will drive back to our hotel. Dinner and overnight
stay in Goris.
Day 8: Goris - Selim - KarvanSaray - Noraduz - Dilijan
Breakfast at the hotel. Cross through Caravanserai, one of the most
famous parts of ancient great Silk Roads. You can trace the Silk Road
in Armenia by following its caravanserai, or inns; medieval stopping
points where caravan riders and their pack animals spent the night.
Continue to Noraduz which is truly considered to be forest of
khachkars, displays hundreds of khachkars, the most stunning of
which are the so called "embroidered" ones typical to the 13th-14th
centuries. Lunch during the tour. Continue to Dilijan - the forest
kingdom of Armenia. Check in the hotel. Dinner and overnight stay
Day 9: Dilijan - Haghartsin
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit Haghartsin Monastery which represents
an indescribable blend of nature with architecture. It was founded in
the 10-11th centuries, though new buildings were added in the 12-13th
centuries. Excursion to Old Dilijan. Lunch at Tufenkian Hotel with
special menu of ancient Armenian cuisine. Free time at a hotel resort.
Day 10: Goshavank - Lori Region
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to visit Goshavank Monastery. It used to
be one of the most famous religious and cultural centers in medieval
Armenia. Here you can see one of the most beautiful khachkars of
Armenia. After lunch we will drive to Lori Region, which is located
in the north of the country. Dinner and overnight stay in Lori.
Day 11: Haghpat - Sanahin - Yerevan
Breakfast at a hotel. Visit Sanahin and Haghpat Monasteries which
are included in the World Heritage List. The two monastic complexes
represent the highest flowering of Armenian religious architecture,
its unique style developed from a blending of elements of Byzantine
ecclesiastical architecture and the traditional vernacular architecture
of the Caucasian region. Lunch during the tour. Drive back to
Yerevan. Farewell Dinner. Overnight stay in Yerevan.
Day 12: Departure from Yerevan
It is the last day of our tour and time to say goodbye to Armenia.
After breakfast we will transfer you to the airport. The Time of a
New Era company will do everything to ensure that our guests will
have the time of their lives during our exciting adventure.
3. Terms & Conditions
Price per person: $3985 USD for double room. Email us at
email@example.com for the payment schedule.
Graham Hancock as our tour-host 11-nights stay in good hotels.
3 meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner.
English speaking guide.
English speaking tour leader.
All entries to sites and museums.
Water during the tours Transfers in air-conditioned buses.
Reception at Yerevan International airport (Zvartnots).
Airport Arrival & Departure transfers.
International flights to/from Yerevan in Armenia.
Armenian visa (It is possible to obtain a visa upon arrival at the
Yerevan airport or on-line at http://www.mfa.am/eVisa/index.htm).
Alcoholic drinks during meals
We encourage you to book this tour as soon as possible, because the
number of places is limited. Please contact us for more information -
Telephone: the phone contact is available 5 days a week - Monday to
Friday - during our office hours: 10am - 3pm EST (Eastern Standard
Time/New York Time) or 3pm - 8pm GMT (Greenwich Meantime; British
USA phone: +1 (917) 719 19 74 Great Britain phone: +44 (203) 026 65 03
Stunning Armenia, a fascinating glimpse into Noah’s land
Posted 06 August 2015 - 08:55 AM
ADVENTURE THROUGH HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY!
Posted 07 August 2015 - 08:59 AM
Actually we are thinking about it, hopefully soon maybe next year!
How are you doing? How is the family?
Posted 07 August 2015 - 09:24 AM
19:18 07/08/2015 » POLITICS
Italian journalist: In Armenia, land of lavash and duduk, no misfortune could spoil peoples’ soul
Armenia is “a country of yelling stones.” These are the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam’s words about Armenia. It is the most beautiful description expressing the whole charm of a land where things have soul. This is how the Italian journalist Francesco Castellini shares his impressions about a visit to Armenia in an article published on the website of the journalGiornale dell' Umbria .
“Four hour’s flight from Italy to Armenia. That country’s history and beauty will live in my memory forever. Armenia is an oasis between the East and the West,” the journalist writes.
It is a magic world where the history has penetrated even into the wrinkles, where everyone retains their unique identity. It is a splendid place. The people there were able to protect their cultural and religious heritage throughout centuries; this is how the Italian journalist describes Armenia and the Armenians.
Castellini highlights that Armenia is the only Christian country in the middle of “the Muslim world”. Its pride is expressed in the architecture, in its art and music.
“Many people say it is not easy to leave Armenia, still, it is even more difficult not to come back. Certainly, those who dip into this extraordinary atmosphere, are caught in a trap, for once you are there the feeling of nostalgia remains with you forever,” the Italian journalist writes.
He describes Armenia as a treasury of natural beauty, spirituality, mystique. There is space for everything in the 30 thousand square kilometers of Armenia – wild and high mountains, a big lake with hospitable coasts, mysterious plains where the stones are placed so precisely that the locals were able to be the first to study the stars and constellations.
“This is the land, where, as the Biblical tradition has it, Eden Garden is situated. Even Ararat and contour of Noah’s Ark can be seen from this land on sunny days. An assortment of beautiful, magnificent and original landscapes – khachkars, crosses engraved on stones, have these all like embroidery on tufa. It is a small country of enormous impressions. This is what all the travelers say,” the traveler journalist admires.
The Armenians’ legendary kindness, friendliness and generosity were not left unnoticed by the journalist. All the difficulties they were forced to suffer throughout the centuries to survive, the evil, the misfortunes around them, the mass killings were not able to spoil and stain the Armenians’ soul.
The author stresses that there were many who tried to wipe the Armenian people off the face of the Earth, yet no one could do that. The distinctive character, values, traditions, they remain in memory, in what happened, in what it saw. “So no one must forget the Armenian Genocide that almost exterminated them, the tragedy which marked the border between ‘before’ and ‘after’ with indelible blood,” Castellini writes.
He also appreciated the exclusively unique and original architecture in Armenia. The architectural solutions of the artisans and architects contributed to the construction of such earthquake resistant buildings in the 5th and 6th centuries that arise admiration even today. “And the churches stand as evidence of the deep religious feelings of these people,” the author writes. Besides, Armenia is the country of lavash, dances, folk music and the penetrating sounds of duduk.
The authors ends his article with the moment his plane landed in Yerevan airport Zvartnots. He describes it as angels’ dwelling-place that opens its doors for the newcomers into a mysterious and fascinating world, where everyone can discover something new for them.
Travel Weekly: Armenia breaking stereotypes – rich cultural heritage, prosperity, safety and fun-loving people await tourists
Posted 13 August 2015 - 10:13 AM
"HUFFINGTON POST" NAMES DILIJAN "ARMENIA'S SWITZERLAND".
21:51, 12 August, 2015
YEREVAN, AUGUST 12, ARMENPRESS. Driving about 90 kilometers northeast
of Armenia's vibrant capital city of Yerevan, the highway narrows
into mountainous roads as you enter the Tavush region famous for its
resort town of Dilijan. Armenpress reports that "Huffington Post"
released an article naming Dilijan "Armenia's Switzerland".
The unseasonably hot and humid summer has vacationers flocking to
"Armenia's Switzerland" from across Armenia and bordering Georgia,
Russia and Iran, as well as from various parts of Europe.
The town of Dilijan is terraced in levels and hugged by natural beauty
of its surrounding forests and mountains - the rushing waters of the
Aghstev River winds through the lower level of the town.
Massive cultural and economic redevelopment plans are underway and
spearheaded by Initiatives for Development of Armenia (IDeA)Charitable
Foundation and Dilijan Development Foundation established by
philanthropists Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonabend. A visit to the
group's supported new college of the United World Colleges network
UWC Dilijan College is a must. The "green" building sports rooftop
and vertical garden exterior with state-of-the art facilities for the
lucky few admitted to the program from around the world. UWC Dilijan
opened in 2014 with 96 students enrolled from 48 countries in its
first academic year. Ninety-six students will enter the college this
academic year expanding the number of countries represented to 63.
- MosJan likes this
Posted 27 August 2015 - 09:13 AM
FOX NEWS INCLUDES ARMENIA IN "FORMER WAR ZONES TURNED INTO VACATION PARADISES"
15:53, 26 August, 2015
YEREVAN, AUGUST 26, ARMENPRESS. Armenia that boasts numerous churches
and monasteries is an attractive destination for tourists from the
United States. It is also the favourite place of European tourists
with limited means. Armenpress reports that the website of famous
American FOX NEWS television notes the abovementioned in its article
"Former war zones turned into vacation paradises".
FOX NEWS reports that Armenia is no stranger to disorder. "Its capital,
Yerevan, changed hands more than a dozen times between 1512 and
1735. But it was the horrors of the Armenian Genocide that occurred
between 1915 and 1918 that people remember most. Today, Armenia has
become a favorite destination for European budget travelers. Last
year the number of foreign tourists increased to over 1.2 million,
11.3 percent more than the year before. The rugged, mountainous
landscape affords unspoiled hiking and outdoor activities.
Culturally, the first nation to establish Christianity as a state
religion, boasts of countless churches and monasteries -- all free to
visit. Also, public transportation is affordable and reliable, crowds
are few and far between and everything is relatively cheap. Expect
to pay $130 a night at a five-star hotel.", says the article.
Posted 27 August 2015 - 09:25 AM
WORLD FAMOUS TELEVISION BROADCASTING COMPANIES PRESENT FILMS ABOUT ARMENIA
10:28, 27 August, 2015
YEREVAN, AUGUST 27, ARMENPRESS. New marketing steps are being taken
year by year to make Armenia more recognizable in the world.
"Armenpress" was informed on the abovesaid from the Head of Department
of Tourism Development Policy Mekhak Apresyan.
"Different events have been organized to raise the level of awareness
about Armenia since 2001. These events are mainly realized due to
collaboration between the state and private sector in cooperation with
"Fund of Development of Tourism" in Armenia and tourism agencies.",
"There have been films made by different countries, for instance
Polish, French, Ukrainian, Argentinean etc. One of the films "Armenia
The Land of Noah" was filmed by a famous Spanish "Documentary maker"
which is a film production company specialized in documentaries;
it was a very high quality film. It has already been acquired and
shown by many prestigious international TV channels like Spanish
"Television Espanola" and international "TVE international", "TVE 1"
"TVE 2" internal channels.", said Apresyan adding that the film was
also acquired and shown by Scandinavian countries, French "TV 5"
and Italian "RAI".
Apresyan informed that apart from organizing events and shooting films,
advertising and informative materials are also being published to
make Armenia more recognizable.
Posted 02 September 2015 - 07:19 AM
MY ARMENIA: AGBU LAUNCHES NEW TRAVEL APP
18:18, 01 Sep 2015
The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) announces the launch of
Im Armenia [My Armenia], a new travel app that takes children on a
virtual journey through Yerevan and its surroundings. Im Armenia is
the first travel guide to introduce children to the sites of Armenia
in a fun and interactive way.
Im Armenia teaches basic vocabulary words in Eastern Armenian,
offers easy-to-navigate maps and colorful graphics of some of the
country's most popular tourist attractions, including Holy Etchmiadzin,
Matenadaran, Sardarapat, Cascade and many more. Users can take their
own pictures, select photos from the gallery and write their thoughts
in a journal at each location.
The app can be used by children of all ages to prepare them for their
trip to Armenia, to keep them engaged on their trip and to spark
curiosity about the country. "We just took our kids to Armenia for
the first time and they loved using Im Armenia! They loved setting up
their profile and reading about each site before getting there. It
was fun and exciting for them to find some of the hidden symbols at
each site," said Maria Stepanian, a mother of children ages 11 and 14.
Designed for both iPhone and iPad, Im Armenia is available for download
through the App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android
devices. The app is currently available in English and plans are in
the works to develop versions in French, Spanish and other languages
of the diaspora. "This beautifully illustrated app offers many ways to
learn about Yerevan. We have plans to expand outside of the city and
into the diverse regions of Armenia with future versions," said Natalie
Gabrelian, Director of Scholarships and Alternative Education at AGBU.
Im Armenia is part of AGBU Education Innovation, a series of quality
Armenian e-products for children, parents and teachers that strives
to make educational apps, e-books and online language courses readily
available to all. Earlier this year, AGBU Education Innovation released
Exploring Yerevan: A Look Inside the City's Past & Present, the second
in its series of interactive e-books by the Armenian Virtual College
The pioneering multimedia e-book series is designed to offer
historical, social and demographic information to readers interested
in visiting Yerevan or learning about the city. The e-book offers a
variety of information, ranging from city tours and hikes to cultural
and social events. Videos, interactive maps, virtual visits, picture
galleries, 3D and panoramic images and puzzles are used to introduce
readers to the city and its surrounding areas.
"With a groundbreaking presentation and a fresh wave of information,
the Exploring Yerevan e-book is a perfect resource for anyone who wants
to make the most out of their visit to Yerevan and learn about one
of the oldest cities in the world. I am sure this book will acquire
a broad readership and will contribute to making Yerevan one of the
best touristic destinations in the world," said Dr. Yervant Zorian,
AVC founder and president.
The English version of the e-book will be accompanied by Eastern
Armenian, Western Armenian, Russian, French, Spanish and Turkish
translations. Exploring Yerevan is preceded by the first AGBU AVC
e-book, The Armenian Highland, released in 2014. Both books are
available for free download and online browsing on computers and
mobile devices through the Apple iBook store, the AVC website and
AGBU online bookstore.
Posted 01 October 2015 - 10:29 AM
TEN THINGS THAT I LOVED ABOUT ARMENIA: BLOGGER SHARES IMPRESSIONS FROM A RECENT VISIT - PHOTOS
13:04, 01 Oct 2015
Kalpana Sunder, freelance travel writer, blogger and photographer
based in Chennai, India, has shared her impressions from a recent
visit to Armenia in an article published by The Huffington Post. The
full article is provided below:
Did you know that Armenia is the world's oldest Christian nation? And
that Cher, who was born Cherilyn Sarkisian is half-Armenian? Armenia
is usually not the first country that will come into your mind when
you're deciding on your next travel destination. It's a mountainous
landlocked country- with beauteous landscapes and a buzzing, vibrant
capital city. I just came back from there, and here are ten reasons
why I loved the country and why you must head there soon.
The fact that it feels very young
I went to Armenia expecting to step back in time: I had read about
Armenia's ancient monasteries, learned about the country's place in
history;. I wasn't prepared for the capital city, Yerevan's dazzlingly
modern Kentron district, where everyone from teenagers to the elderly
dresses with incredible style, and gorgeous cafes and restaurants are
busy even during working hours. For a city that's over 1,700 years old,
Yerevan feels very young.
That it has the most incredible monasteries
Armenian monasteries are just the prettiest! I visited many of them and
every single one was more beautiful than the previous. Dark and stark,
with no decorations but a candle or two lighting up the interiors,
they have a truly spiritual atmosphere of centuries of prayer. The
sparse walls once held a series of religious murals and paintings
destroyed by invaders. Usually their location is breathtaking too -
at the shore of Lake Sevan, in gorges, on a promontory or a cliff or
cut into the rock like Geghard.
That its national icon is a show stopper
Ararat. The magnificent mountain that is on every image of the country-
till the last day it remained shrouded in mist. It is known as the
place where Noah's ark came to rest and is considered the home of
Gods in Armenian mythology. Ararat symbolizes the Armenian national
identity, it can be found on most of the souvenirs, paintings sold at
the flea market, and in the country's coat of arms and the passport
stamps. On the last day I peered outside my hotel window in Yerevan,
and was rewarded by the sight of the snow covered mountain! I was
incredibly lucky .. But the tragic part of the story is that Mount
Ararat, the symbol of Armenia, is actually located in Turkey, 32kms
from the border. So near, yet so far away...
It's amazing cafÃ© culture
It was one of the first things I noticed in Yerevan during my visit
and it gives the city a more European than an Asian ambience. The
city is literally full of cafes! Every park, every square, most of
the streets have them and no matter what time of the day, they were
always packed with people. Armenians like their coffee to be thick
and murky, and sitting in a cafÃ© ( and people watching) will not
ruin your budget as Armenian prices are friendly.
That it has so much contemporary art
Yerevan is studded with contemporary art... The main attraction is
the Cascade complex, that serves as the Cafesjian Museum of Art -
a place full of really interesting contemporary art by international
artists, from the collection of the founder. Lots of art pieces are
located either in the park leading to the Cascade, in the stairs of the
complex or inside, where the escalator is (entrance on the left side).
The city is also full of various monuments of famous Armenians or other
random art installations. The Green by the Monument has a full circus
show with elephant statues and a clapboard house! My favourite was the
'Three Glassinators' by Andrew Carson on the terrace of the Cascades-
a whimsical assortment of glass pieces rotating in the breeze.
The Khachkars or cross stones
I loved the Armenian Khachkars or cross stones with intricate
patterns of leaves, grapes, pomegranates and saintly figures. The word
"khachkar" is formed by two Armenian roots: "khach" (cross) and "kar"
(stone). The cross is the most familiar symbol of Christianity, but
nowhere is this iconography as culture-entrenched as it is in Armenia.
Wherever you go, thousands of khachkars, or cross-stones are found
in the world's oldest Christian nation, providing a rare glimpse
into spiritual expression. Today Khachkars are on the UNESCO list of
Intangible Cultural Heritage.
That it has an incredible variety of fresh and dried fruits and fresh,
Wherever I went there were women selling garlands of dried fruits
called Churchkela, or sweet Sujuk which are walnuts soaked in
thickened grape syrup and dried on a string. They hung like curtains
everywhere alongside paper thin fruit lavash, and baskets of apricots,
dates, almonds and figs. In fact the apricot is called the Armenian
apple. They say that in the first century BC, Roman general Lucullus
took several apricot saplings from Armenia to Rome. The Romans planted
those saplings in their city and called the fruit the "Armenian plum"
and it spread to Europe from there. We drank glasses of Kompot-
clear fruit juice made by boiling fruits like peaches, apricots and
strawberries in water without additives. We saw bottles of fresh juices
and jams and preserves. Fruit country, truly! Our tables were laid
with fresh crunchy salads, sautÃ©ed greens and vegetables , herbal
teas, and sweets. Paper thin lavash bread baked in underground ovens
was a staple and grilled meats called khorovats as well as charred
potato found their place on the menus. I also loved their creamy,
thick yoghurt called Matzoon.
For a small country, it has an incredible variety of landscapes
It is a mountainous country and travelling around can show you how
much the landscape varies - the north is full of green hills while the
south feels more deserted. We drove through miles of deserted roads
and canyons in the Caucasus Mountains, to the Garni pagan Temple,
and the Geghard monastery, carved out of rock faces. Another day we
drove to turquoise Lake Sevan, one of the highest freshwater lakes,
surrounded by mountains, which the Armenians call the Armenian Sea.
You can climb up to the Sevanayak Monastery and get a panoramic sweep
of the Lake and also see ancient cross stones or khachkars. We also
visited the monastery of Khor Virap surrounded by wheat fields and
vineyards against the backdrop of stunning Mount Ararat. Armenia even
has its own little Switzerland called Dilijan National Park! That's
on my list for next time...
If music be the food of love, play on!
Almost everywhere, there was music- from traditional duduk flutes
played by boys in flea markets to street entertainers and musical
fountains at Republic Square. Armenia has a long musical tradition
developed by Komitas , a priest, in the late 19th century. My guide
Tatevik Martini, blessed with a divine voice, sang a religious song
inside the pagan temple of Garni and that will always remain my most
precious memory of the trip. Even while travelling on ski lifts,
each cable station had speakers with music!
That it has some of the friendliest people in the world who are so
proud of their country!
What I found amazing was that everyone came up and spoke to me-
wanted to know if I was Indian and then told me what they liked about
my country. Children and adults were most willing to be photographed
and fruit sellers were ever willing to give me a free tasting before
I bought anything. Almost always they asked me if I enjoyed Armenia. I
always gave them a sincere thumbs up!
Posted 08 October 2015 - 10:23 AM
"ARMENIANS ARE BEAUTY CREATING PEOPLE."
October 8 2015
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to Armenia
Sorin Vasile is impressed by the Armenian culture Recently, the
event on the Unity Day of Germany, among other guests, Ambassador
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to Armenia Sorin Vasile
also attended, who is implementing diplomatic mission in Armenia
for nearly two years. He kindly talked to "Aravot". The ambassador
noted that prior to coming to Armenia, he was quite informed about
our country. In his words, we have a wonderful and old Armenian
community in Romania. To add that the Armenians settled in the
Romanian territories starting from the 10th century, still in 967,
a gravestone carving found in the city of Cetatea AlbÄ~C, Moldova,
asserts about their presence there. As for the Armenian Diocese
in Romania, it is the oldest in the diaspora, and the bishop's
seat was established here since 1400. "In these two years since I
am implementing my diplomatic mission in Armenia, I have realized
one thing that the Armenian people are the kind that love culture,
science, beauty, like to express beautifully, they love good music
and movies, in short, Armenian are beauty creating people," said
Sorin Vasile. The ambassador said that almost every week he enjoys
the concerts of Armenia's National Philharmonic Orchestra at Aram
Khachatryan concert hall, as well as opera performances. He enjoys
Komitas and the Armenian folk music with the greatest pleasure. "I am
also fond of the Armenian jazz, especially when you have wonderful
masters of the jazz, now I'll just give the name of Malkhas, but
a whole constellation of jazz operates in Armenia. Unfortunately,
I am short of time, otherwise I would not miss any event. Because
of the work load, I have to miss the best concerts and events,"
said the ambassador. To our observation that Armenia often hosts
a week of films of a certain country, as well as music festivals,
however, there is no week of Romanian film or music festival held
in our country, Sorin Vasile disagreed. In response, he cited the
concert of the famous Fly Project band on August 28. He said even
though it was raining, but the audience enjoyed it. He also recalled
the famous Romanian violinist Alexandru Tomescu and the concert of the
National Philharmonic Orchestra of Armenia, which was the initiative of
maestro Eduard Topchyan. We found out that the ambassador has learned
some Armenian words and phrases, such as "hello," "good evening,"
"thank you," he says that he will read a half-page in Armenian. He is
impressed by the Armenian cuisine, ecologically pure foods and the
Armenian hospitality. Ambassador Vasili wished the Armenian people
live in good conditions, develop cultural, economic, social and other
ties with other countries, the Armenian people live in peace, and all
the kids always smile. When we addressed a question about the border
tensions and the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, the ambassador just
replied, "I hope that in any case both parties will find resources
to solve the issue through peaceful negotiations so that innocent
people would not be killed, and people live with no fear."
Gohar HAKOBYAN, "Aravot" daily
Read more at: http://en.aravot.am/2015/10/08/172385/
Posted 13 October 2015 - 09:52 AM
FINANCIALEXPRESS: ARMENIA IS ANCIENT COUNTRY WITH MODERN HEART
19:25, 12 October, 2015
YEREVAN, OCTOBER 12, ARMENPRESS. Indian journalist Sudipta Dev
published an article headlined "Ancient Land, Modern Nation"
in Financialexpress based on her visit to Armenia and impressions
received from Armenia. "Armenpress" reports that Sudipta Dev mentions
that Armenia is a country of ancient churches and monasteries.
"Armenia is an ancient country that has a modern heart, it treasures
its traditions but has great expectations from the future. Despite deep
rooted scars of a strife-ridden history, it is a land whose people
hold peace close to their heart. Every visitor to Armenia would know
that it is not just a destination of ancient churches and beautiful
landscapes, but also a journey that makes him discover an unknown
facet of his soul. Irrespective of the religion of the traveller, it
remains a spiritual journey to the world's first Christian nation",
the author wrote.
"Armenia is a land of churches and monasteries, many dating back to the
early Christian era. The most important is the Echmiadzin Cathedral,
which is the Mother Church of Christianity in Armenia. The cathedral,
that it currently undergoing restoration, was established by St
Gregory. It also houses a museum that is an important repository of
religious artefacts. Echmiadzin and Sevan monasteries have seminaries
and visitors can see young seminarians coming out of the church after
prayers or walking around in the precinct. The Sevan monastery with
its beautiful black tuff churches presents a scenic backdrop against
the backdrop of the picturesque blue Sevan Lake. A short distance
from Yerevan is the Geghard monastery which has been carved into the
mountain, where people go to take the holy water that comes from a
natural source. This monastery is only a short drive away from Garni
Temple, the only pre-Christian legacy of Hellenistic architecture in
the country", she mentioned, adding the Mount Ararat (currently in
Turkey) is also considered sacred in Armenia as it is believed that
Noah's Ark came to rest in Mount Ararat.
The journalist also tells about her visit to Yerevan. She says
that she was most impressed by the Republican Square, "Cascade",
and Cafesjian Center for the Arts.
Sudipta Dev considers her visit to Tsitsernakaberd memorial one of
the most important ones. "The genocide museum is a painful reminder of
the sad history of the nation that has seen the death of 1.5 million
people and till today carry the grief in their heart. The photographs
of the orphans of the genocide, women and children sent to Syrian
Desert without food and water, heart-rendering videos, methods of
mass killing depicted, are tragic reminders of the darkest hours for
the Armenians. All photographs were taken by eye witnesses who saw
the genocide. Today as many as 25 countries recognize the genocide,
which for Armenians was not only the death of its people but also a
Posted 13 October 2015 - 09:54 AM
CONAN O'BRIEN SHOOTING AN EPISODE OF HIS LATE-NIGHT SHOW IN ARMENIA
21:30, 12 Oct 2015
TBS's late-night show host Conan O'Brien is taking his show to Armenia,
according to the Holywood Reporter.
The Conan star will be the first American late-night host to ever
do a show from the country. O'Brien's longtime Armenian assistant,
Sona Movsesian, will join him when they shoot the installment of his
TBS show, which will air at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
The trip will mark the first time in Aremia for both O'Brien and
Movsesian. "I think it's every boss's responsibility to take their
assistant back to their ancestral land," said O'Brien. "That's why
I'm going to make sure my next assistant was born in a five-star
resort in Tuscany."
In addition to doing shows in New York, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta,
the host most recently filmed Conanfrom Comic Con in San Diego. In
the spring, he made headlines as the first American late-night host
to shoot in Cuba in more than 50 years.
O'Brien is planning to continue to do shows from various locations
around the globe, with specific details being released over the next
Conan airs Monday through Thursday at 11 p.m.
Posted 15 October 2015 - 01:05 PM
CONAN O'BRIEN IS GREATLY IMPRESSED WITH ARMENIANS
11:34, 15 October, 2015
YEREVAN, OCTOBER 15, ARMENPRESS. U.S. television host and comedian
Conan O'Brien says that "Conan" episode about Armenia to be broadcast
in the USA on October 10 will be very diverse. "Armenpress" reports
that Conan O'Brien gave an interview to Azatutyun.am. "Armenpress"
presents some highlights of the interview.
O'Brien says watching Armenian men walk with their arms interlocked
was also very unusual.
"You don't see that in the United States, and so when you first see it
here, you think: Why are they doing that? But then, I think, that's a
great idea. So, I started walking with one of my producers. We started
linking arms and I actually thought: 'This is fantastic.' We should
adopt this in the West. It's time for us to catch up."
O'Brien says that while he knew that the country marked the 100th
anniversary of the Armenian genocide this year, it wasn't the reason
he came at this time.
"But it certainly adds a lot of importance to the visit," he said.
"This all happened because I have an assistant who I've worked with
for five years, Sona Movsesian, and she is always very active on
behalf of the Armenian community of Los Angeles in the United States,
and she is always talking about Yerevan," O'Brien said in an interview
with RFE/RL's Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am).
"And you cannot come here and not go and visit the genocide memorial.
It is an integral part of this country's history and Sona's history
so ... It was very moving to go. ... I just thought, 'I don't know
what the politics are,' but I'm not gonna worry about that."
O'Brien said they've had a lot of adventures around Yerevan and across
Armenia during their four or five days of filming, getting immersed
in local culture.
Conan O'Brien also expressed his opinion about the Armenians, saying:
"They [Armenians] are very intelligent people, but they are also very
strong, and I don't just mean physically strong, but spiritually very
strong people," the popular TV host says.
Posted 28 October 2015 - 09:34 AM
ARMENIA AND NAGORNO-KARABAKH FEATURED IN ITALIAN TV CHANNEL'S BROADCAST
17:25 â~@¢ 28.10.15
The Italian TV channel Rai 3 has featured Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh
in a recent broadcast for travelers, showing almost all the interesting
sights in the two Armenian republics.
At the beginning, the anchor describes Armenia as a small country with
an ancient history, comparing it with the Italian region of Piedmont.
She speaks of different places of interest, addressing, among other
things, the weather in Armenia and the fact that it is first country
in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion.
Another anchor then adds that the most convenient way to visit to
Armenia is to take a car to travel to the country "which does not
have developed modern road infrastructures to offer trains as an
alternative means of transport."
"A reminiscent of the glorious past, wounds of the Genocide and a
virgin nature: all this tell the history of the ancient and proud
Armenian people. A population of 3.5 million which lives on the
mountains at the heart of South-West Asia," says the first anchor at
She then goes on to speak about capital Yerevan to introduce the
city's multi-color architecture manifested through constructions
built of tufa, as well as the neat and shining streets. Reaching the
Charles Aznavur Square, the author describes it as a convenient site
for playing chess.
At this heart of Asia, life is really full of zeal every single hour.
The Yerevan residents gather at the Republic Square at the evening
hours to enjoy the lights mounting from the magic fountain, says
Continuing the voyage to Nagorno-Karabakh, the authors describe the
visit to the country as an interesting experience allowing one to not
only enjoy the unique landscape but also get to know the history of
the "disputable land that has been a scene of bloody wars since the
early 19th century."
Addressing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that matured into a
large-scale war after the USSR's collapse, the anchor further speaks
of the heavy battles between the Azerbaijani Muslims and Armenian
"It is hard today to tell the right from wrong when it comes to the
past; the only hope is to always have peace in Shushi, and the other
cities and towns," the author says, further dwelling on the small town,
its history and climate and the heavy aftermaths of the bloody war.
After seeing Shushi, the Italian broadcasting team heads to capital
Back to Yerevan again, the author proposes all foreign travelers to
visit the Matenadaran, the institute of ancient manuscripts, to get
familiarized with one of the world's richest collections.
Speaking of the Armenian Genocide, she describes the tragedy as the
20th century's first major crime against humanity.
At the end, the author also proposes visiting the creative
technologies' center Tumo, a place which she says offers young people
a wonderful opportunity to think, create and innovate.
The project was made possible thanks to assistance by the Armenian
Development Fund's tourism board.
The broadcast's part telling about Armenia starts at 1 hour,
Posted 14 December 2015 - 09:56 AM
The Times of India
Dec 13 2015
An Armenian odyssey where tradition meets modernity
TNN | Dec 13, 2015
Saugata Ghosh Dastidar
Armenia, the first Christian nation in the world, could be your
holiday destination this winter if you want to savour the old world
charm along with modernity. Tucked away in the South Caucasus region
of Eurasia, this mountainous country is eagerly waiting to welcome you
with its rich platter of heritage, culture, hospitality, breathtaking
landscapes and feel-at-home ambience.
>From Mt Ararat (the traditional site of landing of Noah's Arc which is
now in Turkey) to the world's largest mountain lake (Sevan), Armenia
promises a thrilling and wholesome vacation.
Planning a trip is not difficult as it neither too demanding on the
pocket nor time. The return air fare to Delhi from Yerevan, the
capital, will not cost more than Rs 37,000 per passenger if tickets
are booked early in low-cost carriers like AirArabia. It takes around
seven-and-a-half hours to reach Armenia from Delhi with a brief
stopover at Sharjah airport. A week-long leave is enough to cover the
Armenia's culture trek will be a journey from the Khor Virap monastery
in the Ararat plain where St Gregory, the Illuminator, was imprisoned
for 14 years by Armenian King Tiridates III, a pagan. A 40-minute
drive from Yerevan will lead to this historical place overlooking Mt
Ararat. Later, St Gregory became the king's mentor and they led
proselytizing activity in the country. The place could be the first
port of call in Yerevan for vistors.
The next day, the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, founded by Gregory the
Illuminator, could be on the top of the tour list. Considered the
oldest cathedral in the world, this structure replaced a pre-existing
temple, symbolizing the conversion of paganism to Christianity. The
cathedral in Vagharsapat city was listed as a World Heritage Site by
the Unesco in 2000.
Etchmiadzin is the seat of the Catholicos, head of the Armenian
Apostolic Church. The altar is built over an ancient pagan fire
worshipping pit. The surrounding grounds have gardens and khachkars
(cross stones). There is a bookstore inside the compound selling
gifts, crosses and jewellery.
Capital Yerevan or Erebuni, has a lot to offer to tourists. From the
dancing fountains at the Republic Square, The State Opera House to the
Cascade Complex, visitors are spoilt for choice. A walk around the
capital at night is an absolute delight. After a hard day's work,
people from all walks of life hang out at the Republic Square to see
the colourful fountains.
Travellers should not be suprised if they hear Armenians belting out
popular Bollywood numbers at street corners. Mithun Chakraborty and
the evergreen Raj Kapoor are very popular names there. Clubs, cafes,
casinos and karaoke clubs offer a thriving night life where quality
time can be spent. Transport should not be a problem as the city has a
good network of taxi service round the clock.
For shoppers, a visit to the open-air 'Vernissage' market is a must.
>From vintage meat, old guns, knives, semi precious stones, jewellery,
traditional carpets, medallions to pets, it is an amazing place, which
was set up by Armenian artists in the Eighties to display their works.
Buyers should have adequate bargaining skills and prices can come down
A must visit is Garni, the only pagan temple in the country believed
to be built by King Tiridates 1 in the first century AD for sun god
Mihr. It was converted into a royal summer house for the sister of
Tiridates 3 after Armenia converted to Christianity. It was destroyed
in an earthquake in 1679 and was reconstructed later. The temple
boasts 24 columns resting on an elevated podium, and unlike other
Greco-Roman temples, it is made of basalt.
The country faced immense financial crisis after the disintegration of
the USSR but is now slowly getting back on its feet. India is also
doing its bit to help this beautiful country march to progress. Indian
ambassador to Armenia, T Suresh Babu says, "India has set up many
schools and computer labs in the Tayosh region besides quick impact
projects for small employment. Both the countries share a cultural
proximity which can also boost trade ties."
A trip to this country is incomplete without a visit to the genocide
memorial. Genocide is not just any term for Armenians, it is what
defines the country and stirs emotions. It is estimated that 1.5
million people lost their lives in the Ottoman government's systematic
extermination of Armenians inside their historic homeland, which lies
within the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey.
However, Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, denies it.
The photographs and accounts of survivors at the memorial hark back to
the country's dark past. A melancholic tune is played at the place all
the time in memory of those who lost their lives.
(The writer was in Yerevan at the invitation of the Armenian embassy
in India, Mystique Mantras and AirArabia).
Posted 07 January 2016 - 11:23 AM
Date: January 6, 2016
Contact: Taniel Koushakjian
>From Tallahassee to Yerevan: My First Trip to Armenia
By Margaret Atayants
FLArmenians Tallahassee Contributor
It took me a while to sit down and write out all of the feelings and
thoughts that I had gathered after my first trip to Armenia. I am blessed
to be an Armenian that was born and raised in America, a country that
allows me to have everything right at arms reach. Growing up, my parents
never really talked about Armenia because they were born and raised in
Baku, Azerbaijan and the only thing that really connected them to Armenia
was the blood that flowed within their veins. As I grew older, the more I
began to feel what it meant to be Armenian. I started reading and learning
more about my culture. I befriended Armenians who grew up in the homeland
and other families who came from Western Armenia, descendants of survivors
of the Armenian Genocide. I read more; I watched more; I listened more; but
never in my life did I imagine to see what I saw when I arrived in Mother
I had been planning my trip for three years, not really knowing how it
would all play out. I imagined arriving at the airport, falling to my
knees, crying and kissing the ground that my ancestors built. Instead, I
arrived at the airport and a spirit that was greater than me took over and
held me up stronger than I have ever felt in my life. It was an uplifting
emotional experience. I retrieved my bags and as I approached the exit the
sliding doors opened, and I smelled the heavy air. It filled my lungs and
fed my soul.
The ride from the airport was long and confusing. I thought that I would be
riding into a city straight from the airport but I was riding through a
ghetto of homes that were left unbuilt from after the fall of the Soviet
Union. It's amazing how after 24 years of independence some parts still
look like it happened yesterday. When you arrive to Armenia, you're
stepping into the past. It's a land that hasn't been touched by the hands
of modern men. Granted there are modernized buildings standing in Yerevan,
but I never felt the air change.
I was blessed to travel from the northern edges of Armenia in Alaverdi,
down to the south where we rode over the mountains to Tatev Monastery. I
had the privilege to smell and feel Lake Sevan. It was cold but delightful
because I could hear the sounds of the Armenian duduk in the wind as it
blew through my hair.
I always knew that our people were hospitable and generous, kind with
hearts and souls as wide as the ocean. But never did I imagine it to be so
I will never forget the moment I was in Garni and we walked by a woman
sitting down at her stand, selling homemade jam and molasses made from
pomegranates; apricots that drip with juices that tasted as sweet as honey.
As I bit into the apricot I looked up into the sky to thank God for these
people who were filling the emptiness that has been in my soul for so long.
As I looked away from the sky, my eyes slowly came down and stopped at the
mulberry tree. As I child, I remember laying down a blanket and shaking the
tree to collect the berries that I didn't even understand at such a young
age, why they tasted to good. Without thinking, I yelled out, `Tout!' (the
Armenian word for mulberry), and the woman turned around and said to me,
`Climb up my life, and pick the mulberries and eat them. This is my
mulberry tree and I want to share with you.' So I did. I climbed up and as
I was picking the berries off of the tree, they were melting into my hands,
staining them black. Never in my life had I tasted something so delicious,
something so sweet, something so full of life. I had my camera in one hand
and the mulberries in the other as I was climbing back down the stairs from
the tree. I didn't know what to do with my dirty hand and this is the
moment that I would never forget. The woman who's tree I was eating from,
saw that I was struggling, and told me to wait. She ran into her home to
get a cup of water to wash my hands. Then a stranger grabbed my hand and
washed it so gently that no matter how deep the stain it would be clean
because this is what this woman had wished.
A stranger? They were no strangers. They are my family.
If Mother Armenia is calling you, go. Do not question her calls. She will
pave the ground that you walk on. She will show you beauty that you cannot
paint or write. She will pull your soul out of your body and with her
majestic beauty and land show you what your own soul looks like. The whole
country is filled with music and art, love and kindness, purity and faith,
joy and sorrow. Go and understand why you love the way you love, why you
cry the way you cry, why you care the way you care and why you breath the
way you breath. Armenia changed my life like nothing else in this world
ever had. Many people are poor; some people have nothing; some people are
hungry; some people are waiting and praying, but they are the happiest to
see you and love you and offer you all that they have.
Today, when I listen to the duduk, images flash of the family I never knew
I had in Armenia. Wait for me, my brothers and sisters. I will be back very
soon to give you all that I have and more. Armenia, you have changed me and
I will forever fall to my knees and love you.
Photo Caption 1: Portrait of Margaret Atayants in traditional Armenian
Photo Caption 2: Armenian villager in Garni.
Photo Caption 3: Margaret Atayants eating mulberries.
Photo Caption 4: Margaret Atayants looking towards Mount Ararat.
Available online at: http://bit.ly/1UwMXjP
Posted 04 March 2016 - 10:18 AM
THE TELEGRAPH LISTS YEREVAN AMONG EUROPE'S 16 OLDEST CITIES - PHOTOS
15:21, 04 Mar 2016
The Telegraph lists Armenia's capital Yerevan among Europe's 16 oldest
continually inhabited cities.
While many of the world's oldest cities, settled around the Fertile
Crescent in the Middle East, are off-limits to travellers at present,
Europe's most ancient settlements are very much open to visitors.
The Telegraph reminds that Some 30 years before Rome was founded,
the city that is now Armenia's capital was serving as an important
stop along the caravan routes from Asia to Europe."
"It was invaded by Assyrians, Romans, Byzantines, Persians, Arabs,
Seljuks, Mongols and Turks, and later by the Soviet Red Army in 1920.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the capital of the Republic
of Armenia has seen the growth of cultural institutions (it is home to
a bewildering number of museums). Tourism is also developing slowly -
a handful operators currently offer guided trips to the country."
Other cities in the list include: Zadar, Croatia; Mtskheta, Georgia;
CÃ¡diz, Spain; Mytilene, Lesbos, Greece; Lisbon, Portugal; Chalcis,
Greece; Larnaca, Cyprus; Kutaisi, Georgia; Thebes, Greece; Trikala,
Greece; Patra, Greece; Chania, Crete; Plovdiv, Bulgaria; Athens,
Greece; Argos, Greece.
Posted 06 March 2016 - 11:54 AM
The Tribune, India
March 5 2016
Faith carved in stone
Connecting the past with the present, Armenian craftsmen continue to
fashion out khachkars, the age-old symbols of Christian faith
by Kalpana Sunder
I am in love¦ with intricate patterns of leaves, grapes and
pomegranates, rosettes and saints carved on stone. I am looking at
Armenia cross stones with burnished orange lichen, called `khachkars'
' a word formed by two Armenian roots: `khach' (cross) and `kar'
(stone). The cross is the most familiar symbol of Christianity, and in
Armenia, this iconography is entrenched in its culture.
Wherever you go, thousands of khachkars, or cross-stones, pervade the
world's oldest Christian nation, providing a rare glimpse into
spiritual expression. `Christianity is at the very core our national
identity', explains guide Tatevik.
In 301, King Tiridates III, who had previously persecuted Christians
and imprisoned St Gregory, the illuminator, for 12 years, finally
repented. He was baptised by Gregory, and declared Christianity the
new state religion.
Since 2010, khachkars, their symbolism and craftsmanship are inscribed
in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The khachkar bears resemblance to other forms of Christian art, like
the Celtic High Cross. This stone stele features a variety of floral,
vegetative, and geometric motifs, as well as tableaus of famous
biblical scenes. How this medieval stone did become so charged with
the Armenian spirit? The resurrection of Jesus, however, and the
persecution of the early Armenian Christians transformed the cross
into an emblem of triumph. At the same time, the mountain, as a
biblical location, connoted austerity, reverence, and closeness with
God. For early Armenians, mountain worship evolved into a stone stela
that could be conveniently erected near the home or church. The
khachkar was seen as also a mediator between the Christian and the
pagan, the secular and the divine. It served various functions from a
gravestone, talisman, to a commemorative shrine of events.
Khachkars originated in the beginning of the 4th century right after
the adoption of Christianity. Since wood was not durable, these were
replaced by stone ones. The peak of the khachkar carving art was
between the 12th and the 14th centuries. The art declined during the
Mongol invasion at the end of the 14th century.
Armenia, with its vast mountain ranges and dormant volcanoes, has no
trouble sourcing the slate and tuff stone needed to make khachkars.
The central symbol of any khachkar is a growing tree or a flower,
cross' the symbol of new eternal life. Under the cross is a circle
with the cross on it ' that symbolises celebration of Christian faith.
Above the cross, they usually placed common Christian faiths symbols
of four evangelists ' an eagle, a lion, a bull and an angel.
Khachkars were commissioned for a number of social, spiritual, or
individual reasons ' some were dedicated to saints. At Sevenavank
Monastery, along the azure Lake Sevan, Tatevik shows us a very unique
khachkar in which the anonymous artist, defying conventional
composition, shows a Christ figure with Mongol features ' slanted
eyes, a beard, and long braided hair. `This was a ploy to protect its
destructions from Mongol invaders,' she explains.
Using nothing but chisels and hammers, local craftsmen still continue
to fashion out intricate designs in stone. Modern khachkars continue
to feature ancient symbols and motifs such as the sun. Designs are
carved using chisel, die, sharp pens and hammers. The carvings are
then ground using fine sand. Khachkars also depict saints and biblical
imagery such as the dove and the grapevine. No two khachkars are ever
alike, adding to their unique character. Connecting the past and the
present, the unique art form of khachkar continues to watch over the
world's oldest Christian nation.
Posted 08 March 2016 - 10:47 AM
ARMENIA: A CRADLE OF TRADE, METALLURGY, AND FORGING OF PRECIOUS METALS
March 7, 2016 - 16:46 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Ancient Origins unveiled an article Sunday, March
6, on the trade, metallurgy, and science of weapon making in ancient
Armenia. According to the feature,Armenia's natural resources, which
were exported to the neighboring countries, contributed significantly
to the development of many economies.
The article reads:
Since ancient times, demand for metals has been a big part of
commercial exchange between countries separated by great distance. The
Armenian Highland has played a significant role in ancient times in
metal casting and processing.
In the second to first millennium BC, the exchange of metals was
characterized by very specific features: Iran was exporting lazurite;
Armenia, copper, tin, gold, silver, iron; Middle Asia, turquoise;
Sinai, copper and onyx; and Egypt was known for the export of lead,
silver, and glass.
Since the fifth to fourth millennium BC, the Armenian Plateau territory
has processed and exported almost all types of minerals.
Among them are: copper, tin, gold, silver, iron, lead, zinc, magnesium,
antimony, arsenic, quartz, salt, and more. This is evidenced by
findings from different corners of the region. Those findings are
also evidence that our ancestors knew how to use minerals and how
establish trade relations, including the exchange of valuable minerals.
The earliest evidence of use of metals in Armenian Highland can be
found in ancient records of Hittites (second millennium BC).
Tin was the rarest metal in ancient world. In ancient Armenia tin
was discovered in several places, such as Aghdznik, Syunik.
Having rich minerals, Armenia played an important role in ancient
world in relation to processing and exporting metals. Initially,
Armenia exported tin, copper, gold, and large amounts of iron into
Egypt, India, Greece and Scythia.
According to ancient Greek writers Homer, Hesiod, Euripides and others,
"copper, silver and iron were first invented in Armenian Highland
and then exported to other countries."
A number of world-famous scientists emphasized that Armenia constantly
supplied metals to Assyria and Babylonia, Egypt, India and Media. The
necessary prerequisite for the development of ancient civilizations
was a supply from a country with necessary minerals or metal products.
The Assyro-Babylonian ancient protocols regarding Armenian metals
are dated to the 13th century BC. During their various invasions in
different parts of the Armenian Highland, Assyrian kings have taken
dozens of tons of metal.
In the Armenian Highlands from the end of the second millennium BC
until the beginning of the first millennium BC, metal casting was
Talking about metal casting, it is also important to mention the
archaeological site of Metsamor, Armenia, where archeologists have
found a large mineral and metallurgical complex dated to between
the third and first millennium BC. Until recently, Palestinian metal
casting furnaces were considered to be the oldest in the Middle East
(13th century BC), but the big and small smelters found at Metsamor
site are older.
An ancient observatory was also discovered at the Metsamor site,
thought to be established between the third and second millennium BC.
The general location of observatory coincides with the Zodiacal belt
direction, in which the average line of length stretches along the
sun's annual path. The tracks of the moon and planets are also lying
along the belt.
So during the middle of the second millennium BC, gold items, and
the moldings of gold, silver, copper and bronze were exported from
Armenia to many other countries. Since the 17th century BC great
amounts of iron from Armenia was exported to the Hittites Kingdom,
Egypt, Assyria, North Caucasus and Central Russia in the form of
weapons and decorations designed for daily use.
During that time period Armenia was supplying almost all neighboring
countries with ferrous (or iron) chariots and horses. In addition
to this, according to Manetho, who was priest in Egypt, horse
domestication first occurred in the Armenian Highland.
So Armenia's natural resources contributed significantly to
the development of neighboring countries' economies and military
preparedness. Because of this, ancient countries of the Middle East
sought to control Armenia, or establish permanent trade relations.
These trade relations with distant countries contributed to the
development of the geological and geographical knowledge of Armenians.
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