San Francisco Foghorn, Univ. of San Francisco
March 31 2016
One Summer in Armenia
by Sevana Zadorian is a senior politics major.
I spent most of my life surrounded by Armenians and Armenian culture.
I’d been yelled at in the house to only speak Armenian. I’d been
constantly told that I could never marry an odar or non-Armenian. And
I’d been taught that my duties as a female were to greet and host our
guests with tea while my brother lay on the couch. So why was it I
still loved my Armenian-ness and jumped at the idea of volunteering in
a village in Armenia during my summer off college?
As a child I’d always considered myself white, and tried to maintain
the notion that I was just like all the white girls in school. But the
truth was, I wasn’t anything like them. As I grew older, my complex
Armenian-American identity began to unfold and I no longer bought into
the idea that in order to be better, I needed to be whiter. My
experiences this past summer in Armenia became the quintessential
moment in my affirmation of Armenian-ness, my passion for the Armenian
cause, and being unapologetically Armenian.
The plan was to spend four weeks in a rural village of around 100
people, living in a concrete home, with bed sheets instead of glass
on the windows, and a hole in the ground as a toilet. All I knew was
that we were helping rebuild a broken down Soviet-era church, and that
it would be hot. Luckily I spoke the language, unlike a few of the
By the third day, we had a routine. We would wake up for breakfast,
spend five hours working on the church, have lunch, go swimming in the
river with the village kids, play soccer with the village boys, eat
dinner, then go dancing at the discotek. Sure enough, I was being
proven wrong about my preconceived notions of the misogynistic life in
Armenia and specifically, villages. They named me team captain during
soccer games and let me choose my team. They even praised our work
there, as girls in Armenia would never leave their privileged lives to
live in a village and perform hard labor for free.
I wasn’t sure whether it was the immersion into all the rich culture
or the familiarity of all of it, but something about this place had me
crying every step of the way. I would obediently listen to the
villagers’ stories of the war, and the people they had lost along the
way. I attempted to take in as much as possible. One day I decided to
take a walk around the village and seemingly became lost among the
hills and sheds.
Around the corner from the village church was an old man staring off
into the view. I walked closer and said barev (which means hello) in
an attempt to not frighten him, but he didn’t react. As I walked
around him, he caught me in the corner of his eye and turned to me
with his broken smile. He had beady blue eyes and a frail body, but he
continued to smile. I told him I did not want to frighten him, but
would love to pick some mulberries from his tree. He nodded then began
speaking slowly and I listened. He was 90 years old and was almost
completely deaf. He told me of his experiences fighting for the
Soviets in World War II and how his son had died in the Karabagh War
protecting this very village. Something about this man made me feel
the most comfortable I had ever felt. He noticed I had started to cry
during his story and pulled me in for a hug. He said, “Do not cry, you
are my grand-daughter, and you are home now.” I made him a promise
that day that I would come visit him everyday until the day I left,
and I did. And every time I did, he would give me the biggest kiss on
my forehead and call me his granddaughter, consistently leaving me in
I had never paid much attention to religion growing up, and it made no
sense why I had come here to help rebuild a church when there were
people with homes made from leftover metal scraps. That was until we
spent every weekend excursion visiting the ancient churches of
Armenia. Every church had a different feel to it; some were dark,
musty, and gothic while others were filled with light. Whichever
monastery I stepped into, I found myself questioning my choices in
coming to Armenia, in never having gone to church growing up, and why
an organization was bringing people from around the world to work on a
church. And most of the time, I was just trying to cover up the tears
rolling down my cheeks before anyone else noticed.
One day, while we worked on the village church, a priest from a nearby
city came to see the work we were doing with a news station crew. The
priest had asked us about our backgrounds and what we hoped to gain
from this experience. He began to bless us volunteers and told us that
“we are all Armenian, whether we are born here or not.” As I looked
over to the other volunteers I noticed my friends had also begun to
cry. I realized then that it wasn’t just me who was undergoing a
revelation, but all of us who had decided to venture back to the
homeland with hopes of helping others.
I had decided to go to Armenia to help my homeland and the people I
felt like I had left behind all this time. But the truth was, Armenia
was helping me. I believe most people share the notion that by
volunteering in impoverished areas you are helping the natives, but
really those living in Armenia didn’t need me, I needed them. They
have lived and will continue to live in Armenia, continuing to better
the country. And I, now equipped with the experiences and new
perspectives was ready to gain from this country. I learned that as
much as I had resented being Armenian growing up, Armenia had never
turned its back on me. I felt like I had become whole, someone in tune
with their identity. I learned that if it smells like home and looks
like home it must be home. Because Armenian-ness is like a tree, those
living in the diaspora are the leaves and Armenia, the root. Both need
each other for survival. Now I am in between a home and homeland,
learning how to be.
Photo courtesy of Sevana Zadorian
Stunning Armenia, a fascinating glimpse into Noah’s land
Posted 02 April 2016 - 10:21 AM
San Francisco Foghorn, Univ. of San Francisco
Posted 13 April 2016 - 11:32 AM
Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens hosts “Armenia: The spirit of
16:03, 13 Apr 2016
The history of Armenia is closely connected with Byzantium and Greece,
through common course and tragic events. The Athens-based Byzantine
and Christian Museum, hosts the exhibition “Armenia: The spirit of
Ararat, from the Bronze Age to the 20th century,” organized in
collaboration with the History Museum of Armenia and the Embassy of
Armenia in Greece.
Director of the Byzantine and Christian Museum Mrs. Katerina Delaporta
told CNN Greece that “the exhibition includes 104 items, starting from
prehistoric times, findings that emerged from excavations of the
Hellenistic and Roman period to digital material from the modern
history of Armenia, presenting the destruction of monuments and the
It is the first time that archaeological treasures of Armenia are on
display in Greece. Visitors will certainly find the historic link
between the two countries.
Armenians made their presence felt both in Europe and the Middle and
Far East and India and China. This geographic expansion of their
commercial networks, particularly to the east, influenced their
cultural preferences, which are visible on objects in the collection.
The exhibition will remain open until May 31.
Posted 30 May 2016 - 10:18 AM
Armenia and Artsakh inspiration for Colombian girl - Photos
May 19, 11:05
By Diana Hovhannisyan
Armenia and Colombia - what can unite these two countries, situated in different parts of the world. Perhaps the diplomatic relations established in 1994. Maybe the link between these states is the Colombian city Armenia (the capital of Quindio Department) named in memory of the Armenian people murdered in the Turkish Ottoman Hamidian Massacres of 1894-97 in Western Armenia, and later the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23.
Recently NEWS.am STYLE has found another ''bridge'' between Armenia and Colombia - 23-year-old Natalia Labrada Zapata. Talented Colombian girl with no Armenian ancestors but truly in love with Armenians. As Natalia claims, her heart belongs to Armenia. Her unique pictures are about Armenians and Armenian soldiers, she writes poems about Armenia and Armenian Genocide. But how? How Colombian girl is inspired by a foreign country like Armenia.
How Natalia who has no Armenian roots fell in love with Armenia?
Well, first of all, I would love to say that yes, I am a Colombian girl but I am different from my own people for the fact that I am a Colombian girl whose heart belongs to you: Armenia and Armenians. And yes, I don’t have Armenian roots or any ancestors in what I’m concern until nowadays. This is something that is beyond my understanding, it is a deep feeling in my heart.
I felt in love of Armenia since my childhood, to be more precise, I was 7 years old by that time. I had in my hands an old book of my grandfather, and there, by destiny or I do not know how to called it, I’ve found your flag. And something caught my attention. Also the similarity with my flag in a sort of way, that's was a big surprise for me. So I decided to learn all I could about Armenia: history, culture, music, etc. By Internet I could read more and more about you, I listened the popular songs of Armenia, the sound of the Duduk that's gorgeous and there is not instrument and sound to compare with it, and for me the Duduk and Mount Ararat represent the soul of Armenians. I began to draw the different monuments and landscapes of Armenia, writing poems about you since I was little. And I can assure you that today I know more about you all than my own country.
There are even people and professors who tell me that in “another life” I lived in Armenia, as a way to understand me.
How could you create so many wonderful art-works of Armenian theme before visiting the country?
I really do not know the answer to this question. Firstly,I just started drawing things I’ve already seen in one book I had read or pictures I saw related to it, for example Tatev monastery, Akhtamar Island, Noravank, Tatik-Papik [We are our mountains monument in Artsakh] etc. After that I started drawing also Armenian people with traditional taraz and garments (a lot among them I invented with the ideas I have in my mind) as well Armenian intellectuals, such as Komitas, Avetik Isahakyan, Hovhannes Shiraz, SoghomonTehlirian [For more pictures see Natalia's Instagram].
Furthermore some cultural loses like the historical city of Ani with “1001 churches”, Varagavank in Van, Holy Mary church of Sassoon, Aleppo churches, and many more.
It is just a feeling I have that tells me what to draw or what to write you, it’s something like beyond my knowledge and understanding to be honest. I pray to have more ideas, so I imagine and I’m sure it is God who shows me what I have to do. I do not have any doubt of it.
What is the message of your works?
I just want to spread peace, love and forgiveness. I want to speak about peace even if we are now in a world full of war. I love the people even if they feel they do not deserve it. I want to help even if the people say they don’t need it. I could say that I don’t have dreams for my own, my dreams are yours, to help you. That’s all. My desire is to draw smiles in people faces even if today it’s just with little details or small things. I put all my heart and soul in everything I do.
My desire is to make your lives a little bit happier and easier and I’m sure I can do that. We need love and peace in the middle of the pain. And I’m here to support you, I am always ready to help you. And like Jane Austen wrote once:
"There is nothing I would not do for those who are truly my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves. It is not my nature."
This is like the best way to describe myself, I embrace it like my own.
You have written poems about Armenia and Armenian Genocide. When and how did you know about the tragedy of 1915?
I do not remember the exact moment but it was long time ago already. Until today I have four poems about the Armenian genocide written in two languages: English and French. But I do not only have poems about the Armenian Genocide, I have also about your soldiers, Armenian nature, Artsakh and I have more ideas to continue writing for the rest of my life.
I just want that my country recognizes one day that tragedy perpetrated against you. And I will try my best to achieve this.
Recently one of your photos has been used for donation campaign for Artsakh. Please, tell our readers about it.
About this topic, Artin Nazaryan, executive director of public relations of Hyer United contacted me the week after all started in Artsakh on behalf of his organization after seeing one of my drawings on my Instagram account. He explained me how the foundation works. They get donations of medical supplies from various hospitals in Los Angeles and they ship them out to several regions throughout Artsakh. He told me that by that time they raised over $10,000 and that they used the money to ship out all those supplies.
Also he told me that they're going to be giving out the shirts for free as well. That the purpose of it is to spread the word and get more people involved. And I allowed them to use my drawing for that. I was more than happy to contribute with that.
You know more than 3 languages and also a little bit Armenian. How do you succeed in learning Armenian as a foreign language?
Armenian is a very difficult language, I would dare to say the most difficult one. First because it is such a unique language with its own sounds and even extraordinary alphabet never seen before. I think I have a sort of succeed with it because you are my inspiration, and I love Armenian language in all it ways, sound, tone, rhythm, intonation, that makes it inimitable.
I can say that is hard because in the languages I speak I don’t have the sound of some letters you have, even if I try the sound of it don’t come out as I want it. But I will continue trying my best as I always do. I’m sure I can speak Armenian soon if I continue like this. For the moment I learn before your alphabet by myself, one friend helped me to write the letters as you normally use it like handwriting, I practiced this in notebooks I have just to practice the writing of your alphabet.
And I’m used to hear your language, for the fact that I love to hear Armenian music while I am drawing or not, like the master of the Duduk, Djivan Gasparian, Flora Martirosian with her unique voice, Sevak Amroyan with his patriotic and meaningful songs and others. Some Armenian songs had inspired me to make a few of my drawings. Some songs speak deep inside of me even if I don’t understand the lyrics it’s like my heart or soul get it all. Then I ask to my friends to explain me that and after it I understand all, why I felt that.
Natalia, you have visited Armenia last year. In your opinion what is the most amazing and attractive thing of Armenia, which makes it unique?
I would dare to say that what make Armenia unique are the Armenians: neither any place, nor food, nor monument. The treasure of Armenia are the Armenians, I am sure about it. It’s a country like no other. People who have unique, bright and caring soul and you can feel it when you look at their eyes.
I could quote some words of one of my poems called “You are more than just a nation” that I wrote last year by this time:
“You are your mountains; you are your lake,
You are the soul of your motherland.
You are strength, you are love,
You are history and much more.
You are more than just a nation,
You are heroes and a living legend.
You are the source and proud of the world,
You are ARMENIANS, that’s how you’re called…”
I think with all this I said enough.
You intend to come to Armenia in summer, 2016. What are the plans for your second visit?
Well, my plans for this summer are to visit the people that already made contact with me and want to meet me. I have scheduled some drawing exhibitions in different cities like Yerevan, Vanadzor and Gyumri. Also I just want to share good quality time with my old friends, I missed them very much. I hope the situation in Artsakh will be good by then, I want to be there because past summer I couldn’t go there and to admire the beauty and uniqueness of that land.
I want to visit places such as Tatev monastery, Yerablur and Zorats Karer and some museums like Yeghishe Charents museum and many more as well. I hope that this summer would be enough to make all of this. It won’t be my last time there for sure, I want to live in Armenia in the near future.
I also intend to meet Kyaram's [Kyaram Sloyan was a Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army soldier who was beheaded after his death during the 2016 Armenian–Azerbaijani clashes] mother and give to her the drawing I made of his son and also donation, I think is the least I can do for her. I’m sure now he is an angel.
Speak about the opinion and feelings of your parents, friends, who know about your crazy love to Armenia. Don’t they get surprised or maybe jealous?
It is a little hard question to answer but I will tell you for sure. Before it was a little bit difficult to talk about this subject for the fact that almost no one in my country understands why I am doing what I am doing, even until today. But that’s not an obstacle for me because I’m the kind of person that now is not important what others think of me, instead of that I just try to make my best for all and with all.
And sure, both, surprise and jealous, even some of them tell me I don’t deserve to be Colombian, but that kind of opinions are not important to me now. They are surprise also for the fact that I’ve never been there before last summer and I knew so much.
For some reason God put these feelings like love and respect towards you, not towards my homeland. I’m a proud Colombian girl, I like my country but Armenia it’s something I cannot explain with words, it’s a deep feeling that I think just my soul can understand it. I was waiting all my life for this moment to be honest, and I’m happy that already arrived me. May God bless and keep Armenia.
- See more at: http://style.news.am...h.7JLIEE4E.dpuf
Posted 30 May 2016 - 10:21 AM
The Standard Digital News
May 28 2016
Allure of Armenia
By Shamlal Puri
Nature has been generous to landlocked Armenia by bestowing it with
stunning natural beauty which is relatively untouched. Locals say it
is a land where God descended from Heaven.
Surrounded by Georgia in the north, Iran in the south, Azerbaijan in
the east and Turkey in the west, Armenia is a mountainous country in
the southern Caucuses. This is the region between Black and Caspian
Seas, bordering Europe and Asia.
Armenia boasts history which is longer than other European countries
even though it gained its independence from the Soviet Union only in
1991 after the Russians had colonised it in the 1920s. It has one of
the earliest Christian civilisations with churches built in the Fourth
Choked by a trade blockade by its neighbours Turkey and Azerbaijan due
to historical political differences, Armenia is a relatively poor
country with a high unemployment and poverty levels. It depends on
development of its international tourist industry to beat abject
History hangs in the neck of the country and its capital Yerevan. The
city’s claim to fame is its religious heritage because it is dotted
with monasteries going back to centuries. The museum of Matenadaran
houses over 1,500 religious manuscripts going back to ancient times
revealing its past.
Today, Yerevan is a compact metropolis affectionately called the City
of Cafes. It is gaining in popularity as a holiday destination and a
springboard for travel into the rest of the country.
The lack of sea and ocean coasts, except for an inland lake,
compensates with mountains and valleys. Mount Ararat, with its
snow-dusted crown rising above the hazy clouds is a national symbol
offering a tantalising sight from Yerevan city nestling under its
Yerevan has many attractions a city can offer but one has to venture
further out to enjoy the thrill of an adventurous holiday. Top of the
list is the Republic Square in the heart of the city. It is a nice
place to wonder around. The large clock on the Government building at
the entrance of the square grabs attention.
This 92-year-old Russian-built majestic square looks like something
out of Walt Disney’s stories! The musical water fountains featuring
computer-controlled displays amid the sounds of jazz, pop, classical,
and rock music are a special attraction in the evening.
This is a beautiful place at night when the lights come on and crowds
turn up to enjoy some unforgettable moments.
The square is close to the National Gallery and the History Museum
which houses over 20,000 exhibits of Armenian, Russian and European
paintings. The History Museum is home to more than 400,000 items of
The buildings are largely made of Armenian rose tufa stones. Armenian
architecture also gives an interesting insight into the country’s
Enjoy some tranquillity at The Cascade, an amazingly beautiful place
with fountains and sculptures where you can sit and meditate amid the
sounds of falling water.
Described as a “giant stairway” connecting downtown Kentron with the
Monument neighbourhood, the Cascade stands out on its own making it a
symbol of Yerevan. It has an arts centre, cafes and restaurants.
You have to climb more than 570 steps to get to the top to enjoy
breath-taking views of Yerevan city and Mount Ararat in the distance.
There is also a lift to the top if you do not wish to use the stairs.
The Vernissage Market is a huge street market which captures the
attention of many visitors.
Vendors have a rich display of traditional Armenian handcrafts, silver
jewellery, carpets, souvenirs and paintings. I also saw stalls selling
replica Russian military peaked caps and collectors’ items such as old
cameras and antiquated ribbon typewriters! Haggling is strongly
recommended as vendors can rip you off! Best time to visit is the
weekends when there is a bigger selection of items on sale.
The nearby Blue Mosque is the only place of prayers for Yerevan’s
Muslim community. The ornately-designed mosque, with its beautiful
Persian architecture and art in several shades of blue tiles is an
interesting attraction because of its colourful dome. The Iranian
Government pays for its maintenance.
Classic music lovers should not miss the Opera Hall in the heart of
the city. Enjoy an afternoon of high quality music and dancing.
Though Armenians are not known for binge drinking, the country
produces famously high strength brandies and wines mainly for
alcohol-loving Russians. Most production is concentrated in the Ararat
There are many brandy companies that offer guided tours of their
distilleries. However, the Yerevan Brandy Company is more popular and
visitors enjoy their famous Ararat brand vintage cognac with
chocolates and cigars for free. It is a treat to see the huge barrels
of brandy in storage. Interestingly, their building is also built
using brandy coloured stones!
There are plenty of thrills outside Yerevan. Winter sports are very
popular in Armenia and there are several places to enjoy skiing.
Head off to the mountain spa town of Jermuk in the Vyots Dzor
Province, southern Armenia for a fascinating spectacle of fire and
After walking for a few hours in the deep snow, you come across the
amazing spectacle of a natural hot spring with abundant supply of
mineral water. You will be tempted to spend a few hours soaking in the
The beautiful Tatev, Garni and Goris monasteries are among the many
picturesque places worth visiting.
Armenia’s only inland Lake Sevan, with its beaches and scenic
mountains is a powerful attraction. Described as the Pearl of Armenia,
this is one of the largest mountain lakes in the world with rare
beauty. Thousands of holidaymakers descend on this area every year.
Like the rest of Armenia, Yerevan is bound to increase in popularity
among international holiday seekers in coming years.
Posted 12 June 2016 - 06:28 AM
Head off the typical tourist trail to explore these surprising destinations.
The Situation on the Ground: Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the tiny Caucasus country of Armenia has often been associated with conflict. The country’s Nagorno-Karabakh war with Azerbaijan over a 1,700-square-mile patch of land each claim as their own ended with a cease-fire in 1994, with Armenia technically in military control of the ethnically Armenian territory, which currently exists as a self-proclaimed, largely unrecognized republic. Despite occasional skirmishes along the Karabakh border, however, Armenia today is safe, with a burgeoning tourist infrastructure, largely centered around family-run B&Bs and agrotourism-style homestays, designed to attract adventurous backpackers to the country’s staggering and often unheralded natural and architectural beauty.
Why Go Now: Few people know that Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion, in A.D. 301. And Armenia’s ancient churches—massive, sprawling complexes of ruins nestled into the wildly green canyons and mountaintops of the countryside—are among the world’s best preserved. While other Christian churches are decorated with painted frescoes, many of which have faded or been destroyed, the carved stone lions of cliffside Geghard Monasteryand intricately carved khachkars (stone graves) of Sanahin stand as a testament to the creative power of one of the world’s oldest, and least heralded, civilizations. And Armenia’s churches aren’t the only attraction of its countryside. The wildflower-dappled hills and valleys here—far more accessible than the vertiginous mountain paths of Georgia—are full of pagan temples like Garni, just outside Yerevan, and cobblestoned “spa towns” like Dilijan, nicknamed “Armenia’s Switzerland.”
Don’t Miss: Most tourists concentrate their activities around Yerevan, the country’s muted, largely Soviet-era, capital. But a half-day’s drive from Yerevan ($50 with a reliable taxi driver), is the town of Goris, set among caves and cliffs in Armenia’s verdant south and among the country’s most spectacular. Winding hikes through the historic village take you through the cave villages of Old Khndzoresk, while a short bus ride takes you to the ninth-century mountaintop stone monastery of Tatev, once a capital of Armenian culture and learning, accessible by one of the world’s longest cable cars. In the heart of Goris, an eccentric mountaineer runs Khachik’s B&B (from $20 per night, including meals), a homestay with nightly home-cooked meals, garnished with fresh herbs, boasting terrace views over Old Goris.
Practical Tip: While violence at the Nagorno-Karabakh border is uncommon, the occasional flare-up can turn fatal, so it’s vital to be aware of the situation on the ground before traveling south, particularly to Goris or Tatev, which are near the border. If you’re planning to visit Azerbaijan after Armenia, be aware that border control may take a dim view of your prior travels and may even encourage you to get rid of offending photographs (or guidebooks). If Azeri officials suspect you of having visited Nagorno-Karabakh, furthermore, you may be denied access to the country entirely.
Posted 24 August 2016 - 08:37 AM
11:11 • 24.08.16
In an interview with Tert.am, Mr Jason White, an international sales manager and business consultant, voiced an opinion that tourism can absolutely increase the country’s economic wealth by the generation of jobs and money that is bought into the country from tourists who are buying products and services.
You are in Armenia more than a year. How was Armenia as a country for you as a foreigner when you came here at first and how it is for you now? (Now you can talk about the country as a person who lives here).
Well I think you know that I have lived outside of Armenia now for over 1 year. I think and feel it has moved forward a little, but these small steps can have a positive effect. But that is what has happened these past few years, no real exponential growth really. I think most foreigners come to love the place they love the sense and feel of Yerevan, its café culture, the weather, the friendliness and sense of family as you walk around the city. It has a European cultural feel I believe. So many people (foreigners) that I have spoken have such a warmth and love for the place it takes hold of you…That really is something Armenians should try to convey and market more in their promotional activity with regard to Tourism.
You are a Business Consultant and you previously looked at Armenia as a place for potential business activity. And I noticed that you mentioned touristic opportunities of our country. What do you think what is the problem that Armenia is not very popular in the world? Whom we should “blame” for it?
If you read my article in the Moscow Expat Times I talk about two factors really - historical under achievement in the Tourist infrastructure from the pre USSR times, and an additional lack of for sight and investment in then building an Armenian brand (showcasing the country) for Tourists, and finally the lack of current investment in Tourism by the Government and administrations since. I really cannot stress the importance of the Government investing funds into marketing and advertising the country. Tourism can absolutely increase the country’s economic wealth by the generation of jobs and money that is bought into the country from tourists who are buying products and services. It’s not rocket science really. But sadly for Armenian governments past and present it appears to be!
What is the most important advantages of Armenia (I mean in regard to the touristic sphere) and how we can present it to world? (In your articles you have written what we should do practically. I would like to introduce them to our readers).
What most people come to understand about Travelling is that it can be absolutely uplifting, it engenders personality, cultivates awareness and understanding, makes you appreciate geography and natural beauty and gives you a quality of life through these things. Therefore International tourists will want to come and visit your country. Armenia may only be a small country, but it has a big heart. Foreigners sense that when they come. Besides you have everything here to entice people to come. A deep religious history, churches and monasteries from antipathy, wonderful wineries. Mountains and interesting geography allied with four seasons that manifest beautiful and natural colours. You have an endearing and magnificent lake Sevan that can act as a pull for those who wish to feel the natural healing power of waters. Wellness centres such as Jermuk with clean alpine air. Skiing in Tsaghzadzor. But more than anything you have a country where prices are so much cheaper than mainstream Europe . in this age of financial crisis in so many countries people have to be careful with their budget so this point should not be underestimated too.
You have a web-site about Armenia for tourists. You are presenting the sights of Armenia, advertising them. Armenians every time complain that Armenia is not very good place for intern tourism because of the high prizes of hotels, service and so on. What do you think about it? And what do foreigners who read your web-site and want to come to Armenia think about it?
Well that is a good question. I would answer by saying this. Most foreigners would not say Armenia was an expensive country on the whole whilst they are here, indeed as I mentioned earlier the prices are much cheaper than other more well known locations. However I also understand that for Armenians themselves wanting to holiday within the country it may well be rather expensive due to low average wages ( lower than China for some years now). I think this is where there is opportunity for Armenians to see an opportunity and open homes or small businesses to the potential of cheap guest houses and bed and breakfasts especially in the areas of Sevan and Diligen, Jermuk etc.
What are the real practice and let’s say “stupid” problems that we have in tourism? How we can resolve them?
Well other than a couple of Linkedin and twitter pages set up. I have not seen any momentum to really advertise the country by tourist sites. I do not see any Facebook groups promoting Armenia or any advertising ( I mentioned the governments lack of advertising and support) specifically promoting holidays, in addition I don’t see any real Armenian tourist businesses thinking outside the box and promoting in emerging and potential more profitable markets such as the UK and Northern Europe. More focus and attention needs to be given in this area as well as here in Russia. This is a massive market potentially especially after the terrorist problems of last year, for travelling Russians, and them now choosing to travel within Russia and the CIS. Additionally more work needs to begun to introduce low cost airlines to Svartnots airport. Increased carriers and numbers of flights from Europe is absolutely essential. Etihad began flying directly from Abu Dhabi but then stopped after a year, more things need to be done to overcome barriers and challenges. But this is something the government should be doing proactively with foreign carriers.
You mentioned that Russia is a good partner for Armenia. Now you are in Russia. Do you speak with them about Armenia-Russia business relations? Would they like to cooperate with Armenians? If yes, where they want to “put” their money?
It many ways it’s not that easy to give you a straight answer to this question. That is because the business culture I have found both here in Russia and the CIS generally is highly complex. Historical business mistrust still exists in certain areas. Relationships are fostered through historical ties, be it business and or family, traditional business development and networking is still something that is not as well developed to the point of any real focus sadly. In addition I have also come across examples of when I am introducing business potential from Armenia as to “Why is a British Business man promoting Armenia ? “. The loss of substantial sums of money after the devalution of the Ruble has not helped from the Armenian side either. Therefore the simple answer is there is more hard work to be done here. There are Russian business people looking to invest in opportunities but more work is needed ie more liaison and regular investment workshops by Armenian stakeholders / joint venture protagonists to educate and inform the opportunity currently in Armenia.
Any other comments….
More lobbying of the Government for greater support and funding from them. More advertising means potential increased numbers of tourists, which equates to more jobs and an even distribution of the income to the business community. Better use of social platforms to advertise and market the country. PR agencies, content and more interactive websites need to be initiated. You have a wonderful Human resource in Armenia, highly intellectual and IT focused. This still needs to be utilized more effectively and with a value added emphasis…Good luck.
Posted 01 September 2016 - 09:23 AM
What makes Armenia such a good destination for medical tourists? Raffi Elliott, writing for GetTreated, mentioned several reasons why Armenia could attract medical tourists:1- Professional Doctors
This may seem obvious, but one of the crucial elements that a country needs in order to rank as a medical tourism destination is professional medical staff. This is one category where Armenia excels. The small Caucasus nation has a long, and proud history in medicine, with the subject being taught in the medieval Gladzor University. 12th-century physician, Mkhitar Heratsi, known as the “father of Armenian medicine” greatly contributed to the medical fields of surgery, diet, and psychotherapy.
Since then, Armenians such as Raymond Damadian, inventor of the MRI machine, Michel Ter-Pogossian, inventor of the PET scan, and Dr. Varaztad Kazanjian, father of modern plastic surgery have built impressive reputations and helped put Armenia on the map of medical innovation. In Soviet times, Armenia became a hub for medical research and development, producing countless health professionals in the process. The Yerevan State Medical University attracts medical students from around the world to this day. The country is well known for the unrivaled quality of its medical staff.2- Top of the Line Medical Equipment
Despite its small size, Armenia has invested heavily in the purchase of next-generation medical technology, as well as the necessary training. Low import and operational costs mean that Armenian doctors are more likely to be using up to date medical equipment than their counterparts in Canada or Denmark.
This ensures that patients receive the best care currently available. In most cases, innovations in these practices allow for reduced cost, as well as minimised treatment time, allowing patients to get going with their life as fast as possible.3- It’s Accessible from Many Destinations
Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Armenia is an ideal location for medical tourism. Yerevan is easily accessible for travellers from major cities in the region, such as Dubai, Paris, Vienna, Moscow, Doha, to name a few, which all offer affordable direct flights.
This makes it much more convenient to fly to Yerevan for a weekend operation than do see overpriced doctors at home.4- Safety
Armenia is one of the safest countries in the World, in every sense of the term. Gallup’s Law and Order Index ranked Armenia as the 9th most secure country on the planet in its 2015 report, indeed far above North American and Western-European cities. Categories cited included security felt by citizens, global confidence in the police, and safety walking alone at night.
Being a small nation with a long history, Armenians have a particular bond of solidarity and respect for others. It is not uncommon for locals to go beyond the call of courtesy in order to help tourists feel more at home.
Armenia is also home to a number of local and international insurance companies, which offer very affordable health coverage for patients arriving from overseas for medical tourism.5- There is Just so Much to Do
One thing that our guests always enjoy is the sheer amount of activities the country offers. It’s not just about the medical tourism. Explorer types can visit Armenia’s wide variety of changing landscapes, hike to hidden monasteries in the mountains, skydive, and so on while the more culturally-minded can visit Yerevan’s countless museums, or watch world-renown ballet performances at the National Opera. Night Owls can get a taste of Yerevan’s extensive nightlife, including Jazz bars, unique lounges, and clubs.6- It’s Really Affordable
One of the main factors driving medical travel in the first place is competitive pricing. It may come as a surprise to many that for many medical procedures, it is actually more affordable, and often quicker, to get on a plane, book a hotel room, and receive world-class treatment in Armenia than to go to your local doctor.
On average, surgery costs in Armenia cost between 40 and 50% less than they would in North America or Western Europe. Low taxes, combined with reasonable labour costs makes Armenia an incredibly competitive market in the region for medical tourism while retaining its high standard for quality.7- You Can Combine Your Medical Procedures
Armenia is already a well-established destination for dental and plastic surgery tourism, but there is way more. Since you’re already in town for a particular procedure, why not use the opportunity to combine your visit with other medical needs which you’ve been constantly putting off back home? If you’re in town for new implants, you may as well get your teeth whitened, or a cleaning.
Full checkups at bargain prices are readily available in Armenia. An average X-ray typically costs less than $50 as opposed to the $200 or more which patients fork over in the United States. This makes it really worthwhile to get every part of your body checked before your return. You can even keep the medical reports for future doctor visits. This sort of services makes it worthwhile to visit Armenia for medical tourism.
Posted 10 September 2016 - 07:21 AM
ArmInfo. The cozy and homelike Qefilyan guest house is located over the picturesque Debed River gorge, nor far from the Haghpat medieval Armenian monastery. At first sight, its only difference from similar local facilities is the beautiful stained-glass windows on the building façade that catch the eye from afar.
The landlady, Lia by name, greeted me right at the entrance gate. It was a warm welcome, the kind that Armenian hostesses usually give their dear guests. She offered me a cup of coffee while the concierge was lifting our things to the room. At first it seemed to me that the landlady just took a shine to us, because at hotels it is usually the well-trained employees that welcome the visitors with a token smile. But having spent a few days there, I understood that Lia welcomes and sees all her guests off in the same warm and kind manner so that each of the visitors is eager to return to that picturesque and cozy place some day.
Over our seven-day stay at that hotel, Lia gave us her warmth and exceptional attention, trying to find out our food preferences in order to surprise us with some new dishes for dinner or supper. We gradually made friends with the landlady and our conversations went beyond the cuisine topics. Yielding to the journalistic curiosity of mine, Lia told me the whole story of her family and the story of her business and success.
To be honest, before visiting the Qefilyan hotel, I did not even suspect that so many tourists travel to Armenia from various corners of the world. Every day over a hundred travelers from all over Europe and Israel had meals at the hotel restaurant. What amazed me most was that the travelers were Europeans, not Armenians from the Diaspora. Most of them would spend their night at the hotel to continue their journey further to Dilijan or Georgia, because the expensive air tickets or the lack of convenient flights make them visit Armenia in transit via Georgia.
Lia told us that her family business founder is her husband Armen, whom I happened to see at the kitchen of the restaurant but did not suspect that the man skillfully handling the kitchen knives was the landlord. “Armen is a cook. In the daytime he works at the Flora Restaurant, which is on the road leading to Alaverdi. It is not our restaurant, we are just renting it. In the evening, he comes here. In addition, he is the chef at the Alaverdi copper-molybdenum combine,” Lia said. I have to admit that her story surprised me very much because we are accustomed to the fact that as a rule, the owners of restaurants, hotels and other facilities in Armenia are state officials, not ordinary workers, who start their business with a rent of a restaurant in a remote town, where the socio-economic situation is much worse than in Yerevan.
So, I decided to get acquainted with Armen in person and to learn his success formula. Armen proved to be a modest and at the same time sociable man. The impression was that he gave interviews quite often and even needed no suggestive questions (this is a quality that most of the Armenian officials and politicians lack). “You are very interesting to talk to. Would you like to run in the next local elections?” – I asked him. “Spending money on electoral campaign? I’d better spend the money on developing tourism, doing good to both the country and me,” he replied.
Armen assured me that Armenia has a big potential to develop tourism. “What you see now is only a small part of our capacities. In case of an efficient policy, it would be possible to double and even triple the inflow of travelers to Armenia. Little is needed for that - it is necessary to improve the infrastructure and rehabilitate the roads,” he said. By the way, Armen himself built the road leading to his hotel from the highway.
He noted that the inflow of travelers to Armenia has intensified since 1998. “At that time, I was only renting the Flora Restaurant. Initially, we received income from the local visitors only, but starting from 1998 foreign tourists, who arrived in Armenia to see Haghpat and Sanahin monasteries, visited us, too. Another interesting detail in those years was that the tourists visiting Armenia sought to enjoy the local color here rather than comfort, trying to become utterly absorbed in rural environment, tasting the local food under the trees or on the grass. They invited me to make barbeque and other traditional dishes right in the yards. This lasted for about 5-6 years until I decided to open my own guest house, because travelers had to pass dozens of kilometers to reach the nearest hotel. I needed financial means for that purpose. I was denied loans at the banks. Fortunately, one of the local entrepreneurs stood bond for me and I was provided with a loan. The risks were high and my wife was trying to discourage me, but I was sure of success. I was working hard, keeping my nose to the grindstone. Serious health problems arose but I did not give up even in the hardest minutes, because I realized the need to keep working,” Armen said.
“And still, there are a lot of hotels and restaurants in Armenia and in Lori Province in particular. How did you decide to run the risk and what is Armen Qefilyan’s success formula?” I asked. “The secret is quite simple – it is necessary to welcome each visitor as a dear guest, to make the meals for him/her personally, and to create a warm family atmosphere. The most important thing is that one should not work exclusively for the sake of money and profit. Believe it or not, but when launching my business, I was not even making serious calculations; I just wanted to fulfill my dream. I did it and my dream brought me success. Today, around 120 travelers daily have meals at my restaurant. Last year, their number totaled 6,500. Moreover, not only the number of tourists but also the geography of the countries they represent is growing. Earlier, the visitors were mostly from Europe, but now tourists come also from Arab countries, Japan, Israel, and Russia. So, if you are a truly competent person, if you believe in your success, you should go for it. Probably, you will see the results in 6-8 years, but you will see them by all means. Don’t be pessimists,” he said, noting that after he repays the loans in a few years, his business will bring him real income.
I was also surprised to see Armen’s attitude to loans. Usually borrowers are discontent and complain of loans, but what Armen said was: “One should not be afraid of loans. One should love them and ‘take care’ of them. In that case, they will yield fruit”.
The meeting with these people inspired optimism about the future of Armenian provinces and the republic in general. It seems to the residents of the capital city that life in the provinces has stopped in tracks, whereas the example of Armen and his family proves the opposite. Due to his business, dozens of people from the remote rural communities of Haghpat, Shnogh, Akhtala, and Alaverdi have sustainable employment. In addition, the local villagers have received an opportunity to sell their food products, because the dishes of the restaurant are almost totally comprised of local food – sour cream, matsun, milk, eggs, meat, honey, etc.
- See more at: http://www.arminfo.i...3.lYeaoG9K.dpuf
Posted 22 September 2016 - 09:13 AM
It’s 25 years since Armenia gained independence from the Soviet Union, and to mark the occasion Telegraph Travel has unearthed a few things you probably didn't know about the country.1. It’s the oldest wine-producing nation in the world
At least that’s what the archaeologists claim: in 2011 they unearthed what is believed to be the world’s oldest wine production facility, which was found, of all places, in a cave in the village of Areni.
Christianity spread to the now-defunct Kingdom of Armenia soon after the death of Jesus, though it took until the early 4th century for it to be adopted as the state religion. Still, that was earlier than any other country on the planet.3. ...And it has the churches to prove it
From millennia-old monasteries to crumbling cathedrals, Armenia is scattered with Christian places of worship: they don’t call this the “land of churches” for nothing. It’s impossible to identify the best basilica in the land, but one of our favourites is the 9th-century Tatev Monastery; a stunning building in an area of unremitting beauty.
Which explains why Armenians are so good at it. Indeed, since breaking free from the Soviet Union, the country has proven itself to be a world beater at the sport: the men’s team have won the European Team Championships (1999), the World Team Championship (2011) and the Chess Olympiad (2006, 2008, 2012), while the women’s team have scooped the European Championship (2003).5. It lost 1.5 million people in the Armenian Genocide
In 1915 the Ottoman government orchestrated the systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, an act known as the Armenian Genocide. Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, denies it was genocide, but governments of 28 countries – including Britain, Russia and France – recognise the events as an act of genocide.
The events of 1915 forced millions of Armenians to flee abroad, where they established strong communities in the US, Russia and France. There are thought to be some 5.6 million people of Armenian descent living abroad, which is greater than the population of Armenia (3 million).7. It has celebrity connections
Armenia is the ancestral homeland of Cher, Andre Agassi and Serj Tankian, the frontman of American metal band, System of a Down, one of the groups at the forefront of publicising the injustices of the Armenian Genocide. Armenia is also partly responsible for the Kardashians - dad Robert was second generation Armenian American.
There’s a widely-held belief in Armenia that Noah’s Ark is embedded in ice atop Mount Ararat. Despite many expeditions, said ark has never been found, but that doesn’t stop it appearing on Armenia’s coat of arms.
Snow-capped Mount Ararat is the principal national symbol of Armenia and is considered by many Armenians to be sacred. The massif has featured prominently in Armenian art and literature and is depicted on the country’s coat of arms, however it is actually located within Turkey. It hasn’t always been that way: the holy mountain has been passed between the Kingdom of Armenia, Persia, Russia and Turkey.10. It has one of the world’s oldest capitals…
The Armenian capital, Yerevan, is one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities, constructed as it was 29 years before Rome. Overlooked by the snow-capped Mount Ararat, the capital has a bewildering number of historic buildings, not to mention a clutch of excellent museums.
Yerevan gets its pretty pink hue (and moniker) from the rosy volcanic rock that was used to construct many of the city’s buildings.
During the Second World War, Joseph Stalin shipped several dozen cases of Armenian cognac to Winston Churchill, which the then-British prime minister consumed with gusto. His love for brandy was no secret: by his own estimate he had drunk enough brandy to fill three railway carriages by the time he was 71.
The Yalta Conference – a meeting in the Crimea between Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Franklin D Roosevelt to discuss Europe’s post-war reorganisation – is believed to have been largely fuelled by Armenian cognac and wine. One of Churchill's aides at Yalta famously wrote about the then-British prime minister “drinking buckets of Caucasian champagne which would undermine the health of any ordinary man”.
Posted 22 September 2016 - 09:14 AM
According to Guinness World Records, the longest non-stop double track cable car is the Tatev Aerial Tramway, which clocks in at 5,752 m (18,871ft) long. The spectacular cable car connects the village of Halizor with the aforementioned Tatev Monastery, offering spectacular views across the Vorotan River Gorge en route.
Relations between Armenia and neighbouring Azerbaijan have been fraught for years and the two countries are technically still at war. The issue centres around Nagorno-Karabakh, an area of south-western Azerbaijan populated largely by ethnic Armenians. Supported by Armenia, it tried to breakaway from Azerbaijan in 1994 sparking a bloody war between the two nations. A Russian brokered ceasefire was signed in 1994, but fresh fighting broke out this year.16. You can go skiing there
The main ski resort in Armenia is Tsakhkadzor, which has some 27km of slopes, plus six lifts to get you up there. Expect to pay around 8500 Armenian dram (about £17) for a day ski pass.
Armenia is a twitchers delight, home as it is to 345 of Europe's estimated 530 bird species. Highlights include falcons, swans and eagles, which also feature on the Armenian coat of arms.
Armenia won one gold and three silver medals at the Rio Olympics, all of which were in wrestling or weightlifting. Enough said.19. They like Shakira (sort of)
Many Armenians were delighted to hear about Shakira’s stunning faux pas at a concert in neighbouring Azerbaijan, whereby the Colombian singer walked on stage carrying her national flag upside down, thus turning it into the Armenian standard. Oops.20. Its bread is Unesco-listed
Dinner tables are rarely without huge piles of lavash, a tasty flat bread that is the cornerstone of Armenian cuisine. So important is this humble dish that it was placed on Unesco’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014.
And what a beauty she is, too. Covering one sixth of Armenia’s territory, Lake Sevan is overlooked by the stunning Sevanavank monastic complex, which is one of the country’s top attractions.
At least that’s according to a dubious poll of 44,000 US men, who voted Armenian women the world’s sexiest. The results were perhaps skewered by the ubiquity of Kim Kardashian, who famously “broke the internet” with her nude photoshoot for Paper magazine.
Despite being Armenia’s national sport, football is not something it performs particularly well at – at least not on the international stage. Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union, the country has failed to qualify for either the UEFA European Football Championships or the FIFA World Cup.24. It has three Unesco World Heritage Sites
Which are: the monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin; the cathedral and churches of Echmiatsin and the archaeological site of Zvartnots; and the monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley.
When the Armenian alphabet celebrated its 1,600th birthday in 2005, the authorities erected 39 stone statues depicting its letters near the final resting place of the man who created it, Mesrop Mashtots. Visitors can visit the giant letters, which stand proud in the town of Aparan.
Posted 22 September 2016 - 09:30 AM
“When you dream about your next big trip, your immediate response isn’t likely to be Armenia. But that’s where you are woefully overlooking a beautiful spot that hasn’t yet been overrun by tourists,” the Weather Channel writes.
In honor of Armenian Independence on September 21, the website presents 15 reasons why Armenia should be the next vacation spot.
Excerpts from the article are provided below:
With its rich cultural heritage, scenic landscapes, and tasty local cuisine, Armenia is a perfect spot for a long trek or a short trip. Throw in the friendly atmosphere (and copious opportunities for extreme sports) and it is clear that Armenia’s reputation is due for a change.
The first Christian country in the world, Armenia officially took on the religion on a statewide level in 301 at the encouragement of Gregory the Illuminator. That century, the country began abolishing their pagan temples and building Christian temples and monasteries, some of which are still active and can be visited today.
Travelers can visit the Monastery of Tatev, a gem of medieval Armenian architecture and spiritual life. The monastery can be accessed via the longest ropewalk in the world or Wings of Tatev cable car, the world’s longest non-stop double track cable car, according to the Guinness World Records.
Where culture is concerned, as Armenia is situated snugly between on the border between Europe and Asia, their identity is a unique blend of east and west. People are extremely kind and tend to appreciate tourists. It is not uncommon for locals to invite a traveler over for sweets, tea, or even a meal.
If none of that sold you on Armenia, I could always remind you it’s the land of Andre Agassi and Kim Kardashian.
Click here to see the full article.
Posted 23 September 2016 - 09:42 AM
GETTY:The Tatev Monastery at dawn in Armenia
Posted 28 September 2016 - 09:02 AM
Armenia becomes attractive destination for tourists from Far East
YEREVAN, September 27. /ARKA/. "According to statistics, the vast majority of foreign tourists visiting Armenia are from Russia, Georgia, EU, Iran, the US, Ukraine and also from China, Japan and Korea," Mekhak Apresyan, the head of a department at the ministry of economy overseeing tourism industry, told a news conference today, marking the World Tourism Day.
Apresyan said that a relevant intergovernmental agreement was signed earlier between China and Armenia, as well as a memorandum on cooperation between the Armenian Ministry of Economy and the National Tourism Administration of China, based on which the Chinese government assigned Armenia the status of safe tourist destination.
Apresyan said Armenia is also proud to host the 38th Annual Congress of the affiliated members of the UN World Tourism Organization, describing the event, scheduled for October 1-4, as a great achievement and an example of effective international cooperation.
According to him, the problems of the sector stem not only from a relatively small amount released by the government to support the industry, but also from Armenia’s geographical location with no outlet to the sea, and with closed borders with two of its neighbors.
The director of Areni Festival Fund Nune Manukyan said various festivals conducted in Armenia also contribute to development of tourism and one of them is Areni Wine Festival, which is being included by tour operators into their packages.
According to her, this year’s 8th Wine Festival will be held October 1 with 14 wineries from Armenia and 5 from Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), as well as 100 individual winemakers from different communities of Armenia showcasing their products.
World Tourism Day is celebrated annually on 27th of September. It was established by the General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 1979. The aim is to draw the attention of the international community to the importance of tourism and its social, cultural and economic importance. -0-
Posted 02 October 2016 - 10:33 AM
I’m entranced by the movement and play of colours in Andrew Carson’s Three Glassinators, a kinetic sculpture made of glass, aluminium and steel, on the top level of the Cascade, a giant stairway that ascends the hillside.
The artist has blended aesthetics and mechanics! I understand from my guide that every design by the American artist starts as a rough sketch on paper, which evolves into an intricate drawing. He then calculates the mechanics and develops a prototype. Close by is the sculpture Laughing Man by Yue Minjun, a famous Chinese artist whose trademark art is frozen laughter in sculpture, painting and print!
Yerevan, the capital of pint-sized Armenia, is one of the oldest cities in the world. But walk through it and you’ll be surprised by the wealth of contemporary art on display. There are works by local and international artists who use streets, buildings and public spaces of the city to host their masterpieces.
At Cascade (in the centre of Yerevan), a series of escalators and exterior stairs that, well, cascades from the Monument neighbourhood to a district near the Yerevan Opera House. The New York Times has said that “the centre, a mad work of architectural megalomania and historical recovery, is one of the strangest but most memorable museum buildings to open in ages. Imagine an Art Deco version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon!”
Its construction began in the 70s under the Soviet rule, but the project was not completed as the USSR dissolved. Built into a gigantic hill, with a staircase that links the gardens on the outside, the place was originally conceived in Soviet times to be topped by a monument to the Soviet revolution. Then, in 2001, Gerard Cafesjian, a rich member of the Armenian diaspora, began transforming the grounds and the space behind the staircase into a museum that it is today.
The Cascade, explored at different levels, has a terrace, works of art, and views of the city. A massive stone staircase with sculptures, gardens and fountains rises hundreds of feet up the adjacent hill. A great work-out is to climb the 572 steps, past art-filled landings, to a monument celebrating the Soviet victory in World War II. There’s an escalator for those who don’t feel too active. From a height of nearly 100 feet, you can see Mount Ararat on the border with Turkey in the distance, on a clear day. At the base of the staircase is the Cafesjian Center for the Arts.
I stroll through the sculpture garden that fronts Cascade, lined with arabesque plantings and fountains. Locals sit on benches and read newspapers, and also chat with friends. The Black Cat (Gatto), a sculpture by Colombian artist Fernando Boteron, is installed in the sculpture garden. The sculptures arrived by sea, land and air from all over the world. Included are major works by international artists Fernando Botero, Barry Flanagan, Jim Unsworth, and Peter Hill Jones, among others.
A buxom woman wrought out of black onyx lies nude on her stomach, looking out over her cigarette at the tourists and locals who surround her. That’s rotund but loveable Woman Smoking a Cigarette, by Botero. I love British sculptor Lynn Chadwick’s abstract geometric heads and bodies in a couple sculpture. The figures are usually created in pairs combining Chadwick’s extraordinary imagination with superb technical skills. Spanish artist Jaume Plensa’s Shadows is my favourite piece in the park — a sitting figure created out of sculpted alphabets.
It’s made out of fine, stainless-steel wire mesh so that the surrounding environment is visible through the work. Then there are the larger-than-life whimsical teapots created by Joana Vasconcelos, a bronze sculpture of impalas springing up, a cool, and a white-marble Polar Bear (by Chinese artist Zhaohui Liu). At the far side of the park is a towering statue of Alexander Tamanian, the visionary Armenian architect who originally envisioned Cascade.
The beauty within
Inside Cascade there’s a long shaft containing a series of escalators, and an intricate network of halls and courtyard. As visitors ride their escalator, the innovation and humour of the exhibits keep them entertained. Landings act as dramatic stages for art pieces and installations. Then there is the famous LOVE sculpture — Yerevan is one of 38 cities that have this pop artwork by Robert Indiana. I love British artist Maylee Christie’s Giant Orchid — in a pleasing shade of pink, made of mosaic glass, ceramic and semi-precious stones.
Another public space that acts like a canvas for art installations is the green above the Monument Terrace. I see the colourful sculpture, Circus, by British artist Jim Unsworth, which has three balancing elephants performing in a circus ring. The circus theme has inspired the artist for some time. Then there is The Little House, a charming and delightful creation by Peter Hill Jones. It’s a miniature clapboard house with clay tiles and interiors, made from wood, stone, clay, and iron. Constructed of building materials, the green itself has become part of the sculpture, forming the lawn and garden surrounding this diminutive bit of architectural whimsy. At another end is a bevy of exotic bird sculptures.
I head to the Republic Square to watch the cheesy sounds-and-lights show that includes a fountain and some hits from the 90s or older times. Crowds sit around to watch the spectacle as strains of classical music echoes. It seems a fitting finale to the visual feast that the city has offered at every stage.
Posted 30 October 2016 - 10:31 AM
An ancient kingdom that passed between empires until it finally gained independence from the Soviet Union, Armenia is a tiny landlocked country, sharing borders with Iran and Georgia. Better known as the homeland of world famous celebrities like Cher and Andre Agassi, Armenia is worth the trip for travellers willing to explore it.
Armenia is the oldest Christian country in the world, dating back to 301 A.D. The country is dotted with beautiful monasteries belonging to the Armenian Apostolic Church. Absolutely stunning views of Mount Ararat, along with lakes and monasteries at strategic locations make every picture taken here look like a postcard.
Here are some top tourist picks:
The capital of Armenia is a great place to start with before exploring its other cities. The best part of Yerevan is the Grand Republic Square with its majestic archways and central musical fountains that dance and whirl at night. Also called the Pink City, the Square is built in Armenian pink stone. There are plenty of local side cafes to indulge in people-watching. The Square also has a spectacular view from the Cascade, which was built to celebrate the Soviet victory in the Second World War. In Yerevan, many people speak English and you can travel in marshrutkas or mini buses to make your experience special.
Many travellers visit Armenia because of this beautiful beach and natural lake, famous for water sports and dotted with ancient churches.
Khor Virap Monastery
The Khor Virap monastery is where Noah is believed to have landed the Ark, and this 17th century church provides a spectacular view of Mount Ararat. The story goes that Saint Gregory was imprisoned in a pit for 13 years and he came out alive, resulting in the conversion of the king into Christianity.
The Garni temple
The Garni temple is the oldest and best preserved pagan temple in the world. This building played a role in establishing Armenia as a country, but many temples were destroyed with the rise of Islam and Christianity. The 2000 year old temple has some older structures around it, including some interesting mosaics with huge basalt columns.
This is the oldest state built church in the world. Legend has it that Saint Gregory had a vision of Christ coming to the Earth. He struck the ground with a hammer and at that very moment, a huge cross arose. This convinced him that God intended him to build the church there.
The Armenian Genocide Complex
The Armenian genocide complex is a memorial with an eternal flame and a pillar pointing towards heaven. The Government of the Ottoman Empire ordered the destruction of Armenians in Anatolia, Eastern Turkey, in an organised extermination of the Armenian population. Women, children and the elderly were sent on death marches in February 1915 towards the Syrian Desert, where more than 2 million people died.
This charming town in the South is located on the way to Nagormo Karabakh. Set along a river, what really sets it apart are the breathtaking rock formations on the edges of Goris. At 850 metres, the ancient Tatev monastery is a must-see and you need to take a cable car to get there. From there, the scenery below is breathtakingly beautiful.
Facts about Armenia
Armenia is the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as its state religion.
Armenia is the only nation in the world which is mono-ethnic, meaning 99 percent people living in Armenia are Armenians.
The first church in the world, the holy Etchmiadzin Church, was built in Armenia.
The entire country worships Mt Ararat, as it is believed that Noah’s Ark was found there.
Lavash, the national flatbread, is listed in Unesco’s cultural heritage.
Armenians make up the largest diaspora of the world.
Location : Crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
Currency: Armenian Dram
How to reach : Travel to Dubai from any metro city in India and fly Air Arabia or fly dubai into Yerevan. Tariffs are cheap.
Official language : Armenian and Russian
Visa for Indian citizens : Takes 3 to 4 days to process the visa, generally without any complications.
The writer is a travel enthusiast
Posted 29 November 2016 - 10:50 AM
After a one-week visit, the “3 op Reis” travel program on BNN Dutch public broadcasting association, which is supported by the Netherlands Public Broadcasting, has aired two travel documentaries on Armenia.
In their first documentary, the Dutch travel journalists presented several most renowned places in capital city Yerevan.
And in the second documentary, the Dutch TV journalists traveled outside Yerevan, and presented the tourist attractions and natural world of the rest of Armenia.
These travel documentaries about Armenia a can be viewed by following these two links:
Posted 11 December 2016 - 01:04 PM
Where the hell is Yerevan? To be honest, many people asked me this question, being totally unaware of this hidden gem. Located at the geographic heart of the Armenian Republic, this city offers a surprising variety and cosmopolitan lifestyle. A typical morning starts with strolling around and getting a good coffee at the Green Bean Coffee Shop close to the cascade. The cultural, political and economic capital of this caucasian country offers much more than good coffee. This historically rich place impresses with a unimaginable tranquility which is unthinkable in any other 1.1 million capital. High street shops with the latest fashion trends from Europe, museums and lovely little parks and squares offering some space for neat cafes – Yerevan got it all. Not convinced yet? Keep on reading!View from the top of the Cascade 1. The unkown capital and its people
Many people around the world know the country of Armenia. In the past year there was a larger news coverage due to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. But the country’s capital, its people and culture is predominantly unknown. Considering the size of the city, the cultural life is amazing. The Middle East meets Europe may be a very general description, but from my point of few, it captures it well. Friendly greeting and helpful people, taxi drivers turning into a history teacher and guide at the same time and an barely beatable hospitality characterizes our whole experience in Yerevan. Although, there is plenty to see and I will mention it a bit later, if you really want to soak up the local culture, sit down in a cafe and start chatting. I promise you will be surprised as much as I was.Hospitable Armenias 2. History and Museums
The foundation of the city dates back to 782 BC. Until the Russian annexation in 1828 the Yerevan was a regional capital of Persian and Muslim khanates rulers. While the Soviets where ruling most Mosques and many churches were destroyed and the city was newly planned in the 1920s. All major streets of Yerevan should point towards holy mountain Mt. Ararat. This particular mountain is of special significance for Armenians. According to the Bible, Noah’s Ark landed in the Ararat mountain range. Today the mountain lies in Turkish territories and for Armenians the border is impassable.
The younger history of Armenians is characterized by a genocide in the early 20th century. Armenians were spread all around Turkey and Syria. During the Ottoman Empire Armenians were chased away into deserts and painfully died or were executed. Until today and especially with the 100th anniversary of the genocide in the year 2015, a deep mourning in the peoples heart is palpable. A visit of the Tsitsernakaberd, the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Museum is highly recommend. The dark exhibition of paintings, quotes and historic material touched us emotionally and helped us to understand many previous conversations. The State Museum of Armenian History covers the entire history from stone age to the 20th century and super interested as well. Mentioning only two museums actually is not fair, because you could easily spend a few days in various museums in the city.Memorial of the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan 3. Food
If you are a meatlover, you will love this place. A good shashlik is not far from any place in Yerevan. But also other types of food is available. In general Armenian food is rich with hints of blended, however never overwhelming spices. If the variety in Armenian food is not sufficient. European, Russian and Middle Eastern cuisines, often resulting in an interesting fusion can be found, too. Excellent food in Yerevan is available in every form and shapes no matter what kind of budget you are traveling on. You should certainly not miss out the famous Armenian brandy. If you want to get an insight, check out the tours offered by the Yerevan Brandy Company.Enjoying delicous Armenia food 4. No reason to be afraid of something
During our entire time in Armenia and especially Yerevan, we felt very safe. Although Armenia is often wrongly described as being a dangerous place, it is way more likely to be pick-pocketed in other European city. Also the threat of terrorism is unknown and the government is stable. Seriously, it is really safe and a great place to be.5. Day trips
There a plenty of day trip options and I highly recommend the following:
- Stroll through ancient caves at the Geghard Monsatery
- Flee the heat of Yerevan and head to the largest lake of the country Lake Sevan
Posted 11 December 2016 - 01:05 PM
6. And all the other reasons
Well, only mentioning 5 points is obviously not enough. Yerevan, a culturally rich, modern and relaxed unknown capital offers a lot, but why should we tell you everything. Go there and experience it yourself. I guarantee, you will enjoy it.
Yerevan’s high street
Edited by Yervant1, 11 December 2016 - 01:06 PM.
Posted 30 December 2016 - 11:23 AM
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