So, you’ve already booked your trip to Armenia and figured out the “must-see” list in the first Christian country on the planet. Perhaps, you’re now intrigued to learn more about it and other facts about Yerkir Nairi (as Armenians often call their motherland) before beholding the rich history and culture the country oozes. So, here are 12 interesting facts for you to know about your next destination.
1. As you might have already guessed, Armenians pride themselves in being the first nation to have officially adopted Christianity back in 301 AD. Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew were two apostles who preached in Armenia and the Armenian Apostolic Church is named after them.
2. Ever wondered how it feels like to fly over a picturesque ravine for 15 minutes? If no, you’ll have the chance to can experience it south Armenia, in the longest aerial tramway (over 5km) registered in the Guinness Book- Tatev Wings. By the way, after the end of your ropeway flight, you’ll behold the gem of the Armenian medieval architecture, Tatev Monastery, which is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
3. Undoubtedly, French wine is the N1 in the world, but, Armenia is the home to the most ancient winery. During excavations in 2011, scientists concluded that Areni winery (central Armenia) is the oldest in the world – it’s over 6000 years old!
4. Armenia not only boasts the oldest winery but one of the ancient capitals of the world. Armenian capital, Yerevan, is 29 years older than Rome, the Eternal City.
5. The Ararat Valley, home to the capital Yerevan, located in the central Armenia, is considered to one of the oldest settled regions- it’s been inhabited since the Stone Age!
6. One of the “must-bring” items from Armenia is lavash, national flatbread. This authentic piece of Armenian cuisine was included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2014.
7. Armenian brandy, another great souvenir option, is worldwide famous for its delicious taste and aroma. Besides, it is reputed to be the favorite drink of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
8. The beauty of the Armenian nature, Lake Sevan, is the largest in Armenia and Caucasus. It’s also among major freshwater high-altitude lakes in the world.
9. Snow-capped Mount Ararat is the national symbol of Armenia. Although it’s now officially in Turkey, Armenians have special spiritual bond with the mount. As the Bible says, it’s where Noah’s Ark landed after the Flood. Masis (as called by Armenians) is seen from almost everywhere in Armenia.
10. Did you know that Prunus Armeniaca (“Armenian plum”) stands for “apricot”? Yes, Roman and Greek historians evidence that apricots were originally grown and cultivated in Armenia. It was Roman General Lucullus who first imported some trees including apricot from Armenia to Rome during his military campaigns in Caucasus.
11. Armenia is the ancestral homeland of world-famous celebrities such as Charles Aznavour,
Kim Kardashian, Cher (Cherilyn Sarkisian). By the way, Steve Jobs’ adoptive parents Paul and Clara Jobs were Armenian (he was of Syrian decent).
12. According to the recent survey, Armenian women top the list of the sexiest women in the world. The poll was conducted among 110,000 Americans who claimed Armenian women (and Irish men) were the most sexually attractive.
Of course, there are many more fascinating facts about Armenia. To learn them, you should just grab your backpack and explore this emerging hiking as well as cultural tourism destination by yourself. Or, perhaps, you might have discovered something unknown in this ancient land that you would like to share. If so, feel free to comment below!
Text: Sirvard Amatuni