Being the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion, Armenia is abundant with religious sites and monuments most of which are located outside of the capital. Among these sacred sites, the main place is, of course, occupied by the majestic Armenian monastery complexes each of which has its own unique architecture and history. For those who plan to make a photo trip to Armenia we recommend to visit the following sites and take photos that will long remind of your travels:
Echmiadzin Cathedral – the first Christian Church in the world and the residence of Catholics of the Armenian Apostolic Church – proudly stands in the town of Echmiadzin in 20 km from Yerevan. This majestic place is the religious centre of all Armenians and it is even said that if a tourist visited Armenia and didn’t see Echmiadzin – he hasn’t seen Armenia at all. That’s why you won’t find any guided trip to Armenia that doesn’t include the excursions to Echmiadzin. The construction of the cathedral was connected with the adoption of Christianity which happened in 301 AD with the assistance of Gregory the Illuminator.
Another amazing place so revered and beloved among both Armenians and tourists is the monastery of Khor Virap with its surrounding beautiful landscapes. This place is related to the tragic story of the torments of the founder of Christianity in Armenia – Gregory the Illuminator: once in pagan times, there was a royal prison, where he was imprisoned for 13 years because of his faith. After the adoption of Christianity near the prison was erected this majestic monastery. This place will impress any photographer with its indescribable and breathtaking view of Mount Ararat – the symbol of Armenia. Standing here, surrounded by such beauty, you will understand why for Armenians Ararat is more than just a beautiful mountain.
The monastery of Tatev is the best example of Armenian medieval architecture. The visit to it is hardly ever forgotten, its majesty and the surroundings evoke striking and miraculous feelings in the heart. The monastery stands just at the edge of a cliff and you can get there by the famous ropeway called «The rings of Tatev». It is the longest ropeway in the world and is even included in the Guinness Book of Records. For fifteen minutes you will fly over the picturesque canyon – just imagine what beautiful photos will be made!
The monastery of Geghard is located in Kotayk region at the distance of 50-minute drive from the capital. This monastery is absolutely unique because of its amazing rock architecture: just imagine the part of it is carved in the rock! This place is included in almost all Armenian sightseeing tours.
The monastery of Noravank was built in a very beautiful place among the bizarre steep red rocks on a ledge of the winding gorge. From Armenian «noravank» is translated as «a new monastery», however, today this name does not match any longer – it has a respectable age of more than 7 centuries! Speaking about Noravank it won’t be right not to mention the name of one of the most famous and talented architects and sculptors of Armenia – Momik. He is the architect and the sculptor of the church as well as the author of some khachkars (cross-stones) that can be seen on the territory of Noravank. These unique creations are still considered unsurpassed masterpieces of art.
Sanahin is one of the most impressive monastery complexes in Armenia which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999. The complex consists of several churshes, gavits and sepulchars. Once in Armenia try not to miss the opportunity and visit this famous place.
Sevanavank Monastery differs from the others by its simple and modest architecture, but despite this fact it admires the visitors by the simplicity and grandeur at the same time. Its location is no less wonderful: it stands on the Peninsula of Sevan Lake – one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Standing here you will feel a special peace and tranquility. The tourists also like visiting this place because of the wonderful view which opens onto the lake and the surrounding neighborhood.