The Armavir Province in the West of Armenia, is probably one of the most renowned provinces among both locals and tourists. It is named after the ancient city of Armavir founded in 331 BC. Located in the Ararat valley, the biggest and the most fertile of 40 valleys of Armenian upland, the province is dominated by Mount Ararat from the south and Mount Aragats from the north, its capital is the town of Armavirwhile the largest city is Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin). The province shares a 72 km long border with Turkey to the south and west.
When you think of Armavir, Etchmiadzin (town and cathedral) is the first thing that comes to mind, however, the province has a lot to offer its visitors.
Catch some of the best attractions and sights worth to visit in Armavir:
The most significant site of the province is the religious and spiritual center of the Armenian Apostolic Church – The Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin. The monastery was built by the King Trdates III and Gregory the Illuminator (the founder and first patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church). between 301-303 CE. Here you can visit St. Echmiadzin monastery complex, which is the key place of pilgrimage and the seat of the Catholicosate of all Armenians. This historically and culturally-rich city is located about 20 kilometers from the capital city and according to history, Etchmiadzin is the exact place, where two students named Saint Thaddeus and Saint Bartholomew came to Armenia to spread Christianity and wound up.
The Armavir province is home to one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Armenia, the ruins of theZvartnots Cathedral. This UNESCO World Heritage Site sits right on the left side of the road, which leads to Etchmiadzin. it was the biggest and oldest tetraconch church of Armenia throughout its history. Built in the 7th century CE, Zvartnots Cathedral was a rare architectural monument because of its unique design and it was destroyed because of a devastated earthquake back in the 10th century. Now the sight is one of the most leading tour attractions across the entire country. Near the ruins of the cathedral there is a museum, where you can see rare artefacts excavated from the area.
Overall, there are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the small city and almost all of them survived enemy invasions and earthquakes that happened throughout its many centuries.
One of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage churches in Etchmiadzin is the Saint Gayane Church, a small church surrounded by a little garden of apricot trees. The church was built in 640 CE, there are still holding wedding and other traditional ceremonies. It is considered to be one of the coziest and most peaceful places in Etchmiadzin.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Saint Hripsime Cathedral. This 7th-century Cathedral is located right at the entrance of the city and gives tourists a great impression as they pass through.
The triangle of this churches completes the 7th-century Shoghakat Church. Unfortunately, it did not survive and had to be rebuilt in the 17th century by Prince Aghamal Sorotetsi. The name ‘Shoghakat’ in Armenian means ‘drop of light’ and this was the given name because of the light that shines from the heavens onto one of the virgin martyrs.
Not to mention The Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin, which is the most significant cultural and religious gem not only in the province, but also in the entire country. As mentioned at the bottom of the article, it is the exact place where Christianity started in Armenia, since it is the first Christian church in the world. The original church was built in the early 4th century between 301-303 CE by Armenia’s patron saint Gregory the Illuminator, later in medieval era an extension was added to the church, turning It into a cathedral.
Inside of The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin facility, there is oldest restaurant in the Caucasus and has been welcoming guests since the 17th-century. the restaurant has a spacious interior that can accommodate a lot of guests as well as a terrace that overlooks a beautiful rose garden.
Another archaeological and historic site worth to visit is the Metsamor Historical and Archaeological Museum. It is another joint open-air and indoor museum that the Armavir province. This museum is located about 16 minutes away from Etchmiadzin. This site dates back to the 5th millennium BC and stayed populated until around the 18th-century. The neolithic stone circles dating back to around 5000 BC, was excavated in 1965. The site has become a museum only during the Soviet Era, in 1968. It is another favourite place for history and archaeology lovers.
Another great and underrated point to visit is the village of Sardarapat. Right in this town you can find an astonishing memorial complex and museum built from red tuff stone. The Sardarapat Memorial Complex is dedicated to the battle of Sardarapat (May 21-29,1918). The entrance is flanked by huge winged oxen made of red tuff stone. A flight of steps leads to a square from which a 26-metre-high bell tower rises. This beautiful trellised structure with its twelve bells can be seen from afar. This is another great place to get acquainted with the history of Armenia.
The Armavir province is not surrounded by forests and high mountains as the other parts of Armenia, since it is flat, however, the Armavir province is rich in fruits and vegetables.
The Armavir province has a lot to offer its visitors, so make sure to add it on your travel bucket list, when you are in Armenia.