How I Went to Armenia?
Among the most beautiful experience before getting old is traveling and exploring new countries around the world. Being a migrant worker here in the Middle East gives me so much opportunity to travel to nearby countries.
Recently, I have visited Armenia from Saudi Arabia. I’m not really familiar with this country at all. As it isn’t a very popular tourist destination, until recently, that I’ve seen YouTube videos of Filipinos traveling to Armenia.
I was curious by then and wanted to go on my own. Last June 2018 during “Eid” occasion, I have more than a week holidays. Instead of staying at home and doing nothing, I decided to book a ticket going to Armenia.
I was very excited since this is my second country to visit after the United Arab Emirates. Armenia is a country located on the borderline between Europe and Asia (Eurasia), thus it’s like the window to Europe. I got a ticket from a budget airline based in Dubai since there is no direct flight from Saudi to Armenia.
Filipinos Visa on Arrival
Depending on your nationalities you can visit Armenia through e-visa or visa-on-arrival, being a Filipino I got the visa-on-arrival. This minimizes the hustle and lengthy procedures of getting a tourist visa from the consulate.
It was afternoon when I arrived in Armenia from my flight Saudi-Dubai-Yerevan (capital city.) The flight is around 3 hours more or less since I went in June, the weather in Armenia was perfect according to my preference. Playing around 20 to 30 degrees Celsius maximum during the day, suitable for an excursion.
I stayed in the center of Yerevan City, the Republic Square, to avoid getting taxis whenever I need to go outside and explore the city. My hotel is very close to the hot-spots of Yerevan and everything I need is walking distance. Armenia is a small but beautiful country.
Everywhere you look around you can see green grassy mountain ranges, scenic terrains, fresh rivers and tranquil lakes. Armenia shares Western and Asian cultures since it’s along the borderline between these two continents. Armenians are very kind and helpful, although it’s hard to find someone speaking English well.
Nevertheless, they would try their best to assist and help you along the way, Yerevan is the capital city of Armenia. The city tells itself its thousands of years of history and tradition, ancient buildings and old edifice are still being used and preserved. Armenia is a country known as the first state adopted Christianity as its official religion.
No wonder why there are many medieval monasteries scattered all around Armenia dated hundreds if not thousands of years old. These magnificent monasteries became the most visited tourist attractions in the country. My trip will not be completed without visiting these historical landmarks.
Khor Virap Monastery
First stop, I went to Khor Virap, an Armenian monastery located in the Ararat plain, near the closed border with Turkey, about 8 kilometers (5.0 mi) south of Artashat, Ararat Province, within the territory of ancient Artaxata.
Seeing it personally brought me to the window of the history of Armenia and its rich religious culture. Inside the monastery, there were devoted people praying and religious relics of Jesus Christ are displayed.
The Khor Virap monastery is facing towards the majestic Ararat Mountain deemed as the resting place of Noah’s Arch. Mount Ararat is considered as sacred by the Armenians and it’s depicted in the country’s national emblem.
The view from the monastery is breath-taking, seeing the vast vegetation on the ground and the mountain ranges from afar make me felt so relax. The night after my excursion, I head off to the Republic Square to witness the dancing fountain. People from different ages gathered around the fountain and enjoyed the live show.
Exploring Lake Sevan
The following day, I decided to visit Lake Sevan, the largest lake in Armenia. The view from Lake Sevan was by-far the most beautiful scenery that I have ever seen so far in Armenia. Standing atop in the peninsula felt so refreshing, I have never experienced such surreal feeling, being a working professional, I’m most often stressed at work.
But my visit to Lake Sevan, truly helped me reset my mind and forgot all the stressors at work. I have spent a couple of hours in Lake Sevan trying to emerge into its tranquilizing beauty before heading back to the city.
Armenian’s Kindness and Hospitality
Earlier on this blog, I have mentioned that Armenians are very kind people, while we were having a city tour. We’d happened to meet a middle-aged man, his name is David, he’s originally from Armenia, but had an Australian nationality (immigrated) and now returning back to his homeland.
During and after the World War 1, the Ottoman government carried-out what would become the Armenian genocide. Killing roughly around 1.5 millions of Armenian people accordingly. The genocide resulted in the diaspora of millions of Armenians around the world.
And Mr. David and his family are among of them, despite being away from his homeland for so long, he’d never missed returning to his motherland. While I was chatting with Mr. David, I can see how happy he was being home again, the smile on his face, the glitter on his eyes and his sincerity reflects the true wonder of Armenia. He’d also invited me to try Armenian local food and toured me around the city prior my last day in Yerevan.
Indeed, my visit to Armenia is among the most memorable experience trip that I ever had so far, seeing this beautiful country, knowing its history and having to meet with the locals are truly an amazing opportunity. The happiness and the therapeutic feeling that I had while in Armenia is something beyond compensable, just a perfect getaway that I need to refresh myself from the hustle and bustle at work.
Have you ever been to Armenia? Let me know your thoughts!
The author is currently based in Saudi Arabia, the holiest land of Islam. He’s a full-time employee of the largest energy company in the world. He’s a graduate of Communication Management, loves to write and travel.