Armenia - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Armenia


Historically, culturally and scenically the Republic of Armenia is a captivating destination. Not only has it been acknowledged as a cradle of civilisation with centuries of ancient history to unravel, but it also boasts natural attractions aplenty and is spoilt for beauty.

Armenia was one of the first countries to adopt Christianity as its official state religion in 301 AD and many of the country's surviving ancient monuments are Christian churches and monasteries. Mt Ararat, in Turkey, was once within the borders of Armenia before the area was divided between Turkey and the USSR, and is believed to be the site of Biblical Noah's landing of the ark following the great flood. Armenians still consider the mountain, the highest in the region at 16,946 feet (5,165m), to be a symbol of their land, and it features on their national emblem today. The story of Noah's Ark is important in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The tiny landlocked country is part of the Southern Caucasus region sandwiched between Europe and Asia and between the Black and Caspian Seas. Present-day Armenia occupies but a fraction of the ancient Armenia, and was once a republic of the Soviet Union. Its capital, Yerevan, is one of the world's oldest cities, founded years before the founding of ancient Rome.

Armenia is largely mountainous, with the alluring Mount Ararats its highest peak at 13,435 feet (4,095m). The countryside is riddled with small lakes, and also boasts one of the world's biggest mountain lakes, Lake Sevan. The mountains are also home to health spas and treatment centres, and the Tavush region is known for its healing mineral waters where resorts such as Ijevan and Dilijan are recognised treatment centres.

The Kotayk region boasts some of Armenia's most spectacular scenery and is a popular destination for local and foreign tourists. The resort of Tsakhkadzor ('canyon of flowers') is most popular in winter with excellent skiing. Visitors to the Syunik region will find beautiful scenery and natural springs, as well as sights like the Tatev Monastery, the Stonehenge of Armenia (Karahunj), Goris and the Shake waterfall. To the north, the Lori region is sought out by campers and hikers, but also boasts two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat, as well as the Odzun Cathedral. East of Yerevan lies the spiritual centre of Armenia, the Holy See of Echmiadzin, the most significant cathedral in the world's oldest Christian nation.

Information & Facts


Business is conducted formally in Armenia. Business hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm.


Most of Armenia experiences a continental climate due to its high elevation, with hot summers and cold winters. The higher elevations receive more precipitation and are cooler. Summer is the most popular season for travellers, but spring and autumn are the best time of year to travel in Armenia with milder temperatures. Yerevan has average summer temperatures of and 23°F (-5°C) in winter, but temperatures are often more extreme.


The international dialling code for Armenia is +374. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). Cities codes are in use, and the national prefix to call between cities is 0 e.g. (0)10 for Yerevan. For mobile phones the prefix is 09. Public pre-paid card phones are available throughout the country, but not all will allow international calls; post offices and major hotels have international dialling access, but calls are expensive. Internet cafes are available in Yerevan and other large cities. Mobile phones can be rented.


Armenia is an orthodox Christian country and outside the capital people are conservative, so women in particular should avoid wearing shorts and short skirts. Military bases and installations should not be photographed.

Duty Free

There is free import on 400 cigarettes, one bottle of alcohol, perfume up to the amount of US$500, and personal goods of up to US$500 in value.

Electrical current in Armenia is 220 volts, 50 Hz. Round two-pin attachment plugs and ?Schuko' plugs are in use.

There are no immunizations required for travellers to Armenia; however there is a small risk of malaria between June and October in some of the villages of the Ararat Valley. Medical care is limited, particularly outside of Yerevan, and treatment is not recommended for anything major. Comprehensive medical insurance should include emergency medical evacuation.

Armenian is the official language, and it has its own alphabet. Russian is widely spoken and English is becoming more prominent.

The official currency of Armenia is the Dram (AMD), which is divided into 100 lumas. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks as well as many hotels, with US dollars the most widely recognised and easily changed, although notes should be in good condition. Credit cards are not widely accepted other than in some large hotels and restaurants. Travellers cheques should be in US dollars to avoid additional charges and there are few ATMs in Yerevan, including HSBC. It is advisable to carry plenty of small change in local currency as shops and markets will often not have change.

Passport Visa

All passports must be valid for the period of intended stay. It is recommended that all visitors requiring a visa should obtain it prior to arrival from the Armenian Embassy in their home country, however visas are obtainable for most nationalities for a tourist stay of up to four months at Yerevan Zvartnots Airport if holding sufficient funds.


Crime is relatively low in Armenia, but travellers should still be careful with their personal possessions and avoid any unnecessary displays of wealth. Pickpockets take advantage of crowded market areas. Avoid travel near the border with Azerbaijan due to the unresolved dispute over Nagorno Karabakh.

Local time in Armenia is GMT +4.

Many restaurants in the capital will add a service charge onto the bill, but this does not go to the staff, so tips are welcome in Armenia.

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