Armenia creates convenient environment for investments in energy sector – Vice Speaker of Parliament

 12:21, 28 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 28, ARMENPRESS. Armenia has been creating a convenient environment for investments in the energy sector, which has led to an increasing level of energy security and independence of the country, Vice Speaker of Parliament Hakob Arshakyan said at the Armenia Energy Week 2023.

"The economically substantiated, productive and responsible use of the renewable energy potential, development of atomic energy for peaceful means, regional integration of electrical energy system, diversification of energy carrier supply routes and types, introduction of energy efficiency and energy saving actions and digital energy transformation are the sustainable guarantees for the development of the electrical energy sector of Armenia. All steps are aimed at this,” Arshakyan said, adding that sustainable energy is an essential condition for economic development.

“We can underscore that a convenient environment is being created for investments in the energy sector, and as a result the level of the country’s energy security and energy independence is growing further,” Arshakyan said.

President Vahagn Khachaturyan also attended the event.

In his speech, the president attached importance to the elimination of monopolies in all branches of market economy. He said that steps have already been taken in the energy sector.

Azerbaijan delays peace talks with Armenia for unclear reasons, warns Armenian Speaker of Parliament

 14:23, 28 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 28, ARMENPRESS. Azerbaijan has been delaying peace talks with Armenia for unclear reasons, Speaker of Parliament of Armenia Alen Simonyan has said.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Simonyan said that Azerbaijan has been avoiding a number of different formats of the talks.

“I don’t understand why Azerbaijan has been avoiding various formats. First, they accused France, then they accused Brussels, they rejected some format, and then they rejected the Washington format. I honestly don’t understand what this kind of delay would give Azerbaijan and the region, when they are speaking about peace on one hand, and on the other hand they are avoiding the peace treaty that is already very close to reality, if you will,” Simonyan said.

Speaker Simonyan emphasized that Armenia has already drawn its red lines, such as Armenia’s territory of 29,800 square kilometers.

“The red line is drawn, that not a single piece of Armenia’s sovereign territory will be given up. They often speak about, for example, the four villages, but we have thirty-one villages that are either partially or entirely under Azerbaijani occupation. Now we must talk about the thirty-one villages,” Simonyan said.

Speaker of Parliament in favor of Armenia attending EEU summit

 14:25, 28 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 28, ARMENPRESS. Speaker of Parliament Alen Simonyan believes that Armenia should participate in the upcoming Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) summit in Russia.

Armenia is to assume the EEU presidency during the summit.

“We are assuming the presidency of the EEU,” Simonyan told reporters when asked on participation. “There’s no decision at this moment. But I personally believe that Armenia should participate for assuming the EEU presidency, because we are assuming the presidency of that organization. And at this moment it is ensuring our economic environment,” Simonyan said.

Armenian Prime Minister and South Korean President discuss bilateral agenda

 14:43, 28 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 28, ARMENPRESS. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has spoken by phone with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

According to a readout issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the two leaders “were pleased to highlight the recent intensification observed in bilateral relations, as a result of which an agreement has been reached on opening embassies in the two capitals on the basis of reciprocity.”

A number of issues of bilateral interest were also discussed.

PM Pashinyan and President Yoon Suk Yeol expressed readiness to contribute to the development of bilateral relations between Armenia and South Korea.

Armenia doesn’t seek self-determination of NK and fully recognizes Azerbaijani territorial integrity, says Alen Simonyan

 14:52, 28 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 28, ARMENPRESS. Armenia fully recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, which includes Nagorno-Karabakh, Speaker of Parliament of Armenia Alen Simonyan said at a press briefing when asked whether the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been resolved given that over the past thirty years Armenia struggled for the self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“The Republic of Armenia doesn’t have such an issue today. The Republic of Armenia fully recognizes Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, including Nagorno-Karabakh. We’ve said this probably eight times during the last two years. What else should we say,” Simonyan said.

Asked whether Armenia would discuss the rights of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians during peace talks with Azerbaijan, the Speaker said: “I think that at this historic phase we should focus on signing the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty and opening of all regional connections. Then, whether an Azerbaijani will or will not have the desire to return to live in Armenia, or whether an Armenian will or will not have the desire to return to Baku, Stepanakert, Shushi and all other towns where Armenians had lived, this is a matter of the future.” He added that as of today this is unrealistic.

Simonyan stressed that the return of Nagorno-Karabakh residents is impossible as long as peace isn’t established and hate speech isn’t eliminated.

Armenia always sees danger of escalation by Azerbaijan, says Speaker of Parliament

 15:05, 28 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 28, ARMENPRESS. Armenia always sees a danger of border escalation by Azerbaijan, Speaker of Parliament Alen Simonyan has said.

Simonyan was asked whether there’s a risk of escalation given that Washington has said it would have to use whatever tools it could to avoid having a trade route created by non-peaceful means.

“We always see a danger of escalation. Why we always see it, because there are numerous examples, when in late August of 2022 a meeting took place and thirteen days later Azerbaijan launched military operations. I mean we never rule out anything, a politician can’t rule out [anything]. The U.S. official’s statement is a warning,” Simonyan said, adding that Armenia is ready for peace and wants peace.

Israeli right-wing extremists intimidate Armenian protesters in Jerusalem

The Observers

Dec 2 2023

Israeli right-wing extremists have been harassing members of Jerusalem’s Armenian community protesting the razing of an important historic site. An Australian businessman purchased the area, called Cows' Garden, back in 2021 to build a hotel there but there has been fierce opposition from the Armenian community. In recent weeks, the businessman has also participated in intimidating protesters.

A car park in Jerusalem has become the centre of a heated debate over the past few months. The car park is part of a historic area known as the Cows' Garden. Located in the city’s Armenian quarter, this site has cultural and historic significance to that community and includes a wall built during the Ottoman Empire.

However, back in 2021, Jerusalem’s Armenian Patriarchate – the religious authorities in the Armenian community – decided to sell the parking lot and several nearby buildings. They signed a 99-year lease with Australian businessman Danny Rubinstein (known as Danny "Rothman"), who owns the company Xana Garden.

He wants to demolish the site and build a luxury hotel. However, when news broke about the sale in October 2021, there was immediate outcry from Jerusalem’s Armenian community.

The Armenian Patriarchate granted a 99-year lease agreement to a private company called Xana Capital, according to a statement from SaveTheArQ, an Armenian collective that contests the legality of the sale. 

On October 26, 2023, the Armenian Patriarchate published a statement saying that they now considered the sale illegal, apparently backing out of the agreement they themselves signed and leaving the site in a state of legal flux.

Ever since the Patriarchate announced that they no longer considered the sale valid, there has been uncertainty about who actually owns the land. Our team contacted Jerusalem’s city government, but they said that they didn’t want to comment on the land and that it was a “private affair.”

We also reached out to the Patriarchate as well as Danny Rubinstein but neither of them wanted to speak about the contract either.

On November 6, Israeli settlers threatened protesters from the Armenian community opposed to construction on the historic site. Observers

However, the confusion around the site was immediately apparent. Just a few days after the Patriarchate’s announcement that they no longer viewed the sale as legal, demolition crews arrived on the site and began tearing up the parking lot, according to Setrag Balian, a member of SaveTheArQ.

There is talk about construction, but what we’ve actually seen are attempts at intimidation. They came with machines and armed settlers. We made a human chain and peacefully stopped the bulldozers. I was personally threatened by the director of the company [Rubinstein]. Since April, the settlers have banned a number of members of our community from parking in the lot. 

Bulldozers were brought in to demolish some of the lot.

Things became even more tense on November 6 when Rubinstein himself showed up alongside settlers armed with assault rifles. Skirmishes broke out between Armenian protesters and the armed men.

Arrival of Israeli settlers who faced off with Armenian protesters.

Many said that these armed men are radical activists from the Israeli far-right. Thanks to the online facial recognition software PimEyes, it’s possible to identify Saadia Hershkop, an American citizen known to have links to settler movements in the West Bank. On Instagram, Hershkop promotes organised trips to colonies in Hebron in the West Bank and poses for photos with weapons.

According to the Qatari newspaper The New Arab, Saada Hershkop is known to have links to a man named Eden Natan-Zada. On August 4, 2005, Natan-Zada killed four Israeli citizens as a sign of protest against the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza. Israeli law enforcement reportedly put out a warrant for Hershkop's arrest in connection with the crime.

It’s not just the conflict around the Cows' Garden. Some members of the Armenian community are reporting a rise in insecurity all round. Liana Margaryan, a member of the Armenian community who lives in Jerusalem, said the community began to feel intimidation after the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020. During the war, Azerbaijan reinforced its ties with Israel:

These attacks are carried out by Jewish extremists […] Most often, these are psychological attacks and threats. However, it has all become more intense since the conflict in the Cows' Garden […] they even attacked an Armenian restaurant.

Setrag Balian says that the Israeli government holds some responsibility for the rise in the violence towards Jerusalem’s Armenian community.

Since 2022, when Binyamin Netanyahu’s government took office, including ministers from the far right, there has been an increase in attacks against Christians. This includes everything from spitting to harassment to assault. Since the current government took office, extremists have the feeling they can act in complete impunity. 

The people who live in the Jewish quarter have been our neighbours for the past 40 years and we haven’t had any problems with them. 

Of course, it’s common that people who don’t like to see churches or crosses spit at us or shout insults… but it was nothing big, we felt like those were isolated incidents. But recently, we’ve felt directly targeted. 

Despite the intimidations, members of the Armenian community say that they will continue to fight against the construction of the hotel with sit-ins and protests.

Sports: IBA World Junior Championships. Armenia dominates in men’s, India in women’s semifinals

Inside The Games
Dec 1 2023



  •  Friday, 1 December 2023

The eighth day of the 2023 IBA World Junior Championships in Yerevan brought many emotions to the participants, as some of them secured their places in the finals, and the others will go home with bronze medals. The semifinal fights were full of exciting moments, great punches and mixed emotions.

India continues his brilliant performance so far in this competition. Their boxers were absolutely dominant in women’s competition, but the men’s team also produced some decent results. 17 boxers from India stepped to the ring in the semifinals, and 13 of them defeated their opponents. They will have 9 representatives in the women’s finals, and 4 representatives in the men's competition. Russia also had 17 participants in the semifinals, but eight of them will go home with bronze medals. The Russian women’s team also were great today, as six of them managed to reach the finals.

Armenia will have only one representative in the women’s finals, but their men’s team was spectacular on day 8, as eight of their nine representatives claimed a victory and walked to the finals. Only Tigran Khachatryan (+80 kg) lost his fight to Indian Hemant Sangwan. 

One of the most spectacular boxers of the tournament John Maher (63 kg) from the Republic of Ireland faced some difficulties in the semifinals against the Greeck Emmanouil Fotiadis, but eventually 3 judges from 5 gave the victory to the Irish boxer. One of the biggest surprises of the tournament Afghan boxer Amanollah Sahak ended his journey by losing to Adam Maca. The Albanian boxer was so dominant in all three rounds, that one of the judges gave him the victory in  each round 10-8. Maca’s opponent in the final fight will be Platon Kozlov from Russia, who like Maca, didn’t give a chance to his rival.

Tomorrow the boxers will take a small break. In the morning the weigh-in of the finals will take place. The women’s competition finals will be held on December 3, the men’s finals on December 4

All the results of the semifinal fights

Women’s competition

46 kg
Maftuna Musurmonova (Uzbekistan) df Claudia Alcaniz (Spain) 5-0
Anastasia Tiunina (Russia) df Neha Lunthi (India) 4-1

48 kg
Payal Payal (India) df Sila Bibolsynkyzy (Kazakhstan) 5-0
Heghine Petrosyan (Armenia) df Sin-Ai Shen (Taipei) by knockout in the first round

50 kg
Snezhana Kuznetsova (Russia) df Gaukhar Zarden (Kazakhstan) 5-0
Maria Georgopoulou (Greece) df Paro Pari (India) 4-1

52 kg
Farinoz Abdulloeva (Tajikistan) df Aisha Sariyeva (Kazakhstan) 4-1
Nisha Nisha (India) df Diana Sikstus (Russia) 4-1

54 kg
Amisha Kerketta (India) df Rocio Trigos (Romania) 5-0
Sydyk Ayazhan (Kazakhstan) df Zuzanna Golebiewska (Poland) 5-0

57 kg
Vini Vini (India) df Ouriana Kantzari (Greece) 5-0
Sevara Mamatova (Uzbekistan) df Anastasia Taratynova (Russia) by knockout in the first round

60 kg
Tolganay Kassymkhan (Kazakhstan) df Nana Pipia (Georgia) 4-1
Kira Leonova (Russia) df Milka Khalifi (Tunisia) 5-0

63 kg
Sachin Sathe (India) df Alina Kudaigenova (Kazakhstan) 5-0
Siofra Lawless (Republic of Ireland) df Ana Khvedelidze (Georgia) by knockout in the second round

66 kg
Aisulu Mukhit (Kazakhstan) df Anastasia Gribanova (Russia) 5-0
Amalia Tugui (Romania) df Nidhi Dhull (India) 5-0

75 kg
Maftuna Yangieva (Uzbekistan) df Kritika Wasan (India) by knockout in the third round
Ekaterina Frolova (Russia) df Flora Budai (Hungary) 5-0

70 kg
Elizaveta Taimazova (Russia) df Eliza Sopterean (Romania) 5-0
Akansha Phalaswal (India) df Mary Mcdonagh (Republic of Ireland) 5-0

80 kg
Anna Buzuleva (Russia) df Kuralay Yeginbaikyzy (Kazakhstan) 5-0
Megha Sheokand (India) df An-Chi Tseng (Taipei) by knockout in the third round

+80 kg
Prachi Tokas (India) df Maria Osipova (Russia) by knockout in the first round
Sobirakhon Shakhobiddinova (Uzbekistan) df Zaineb Sammar (Belgium) by knockout in the first round

Men’s competition

46 kg
Islam Magomedov (Russia) df Hyeonmin Lee (Korea) 5-0
Arno Darchinyan (Armenia) df Adburakhmon Makhmudjonov (Uzbekistan) 4-1

48 kg
Vagharshak Keyan (Armenia) df Nygman Nygmet (Kazakhstan) by knockout in the second round
Emal Hamdam (Germany) df Sikander Sikander (India) 5-0

50 kg
Tigran Ovsepian (Armenia) df Dominik Gombai (Hungary) by knockout in the second round
Angel Dimitrov (Bulgaria) df Khusan Kokhkhorov (Uzbekistan) 3-2

52 kg
Aren Kharatyan (Armenia) df Yanko Iliev (Bulgaria) 5-0
Amantur Dzhumaev (Kyrgyzstan) df Oscar Grodzicki (Poland) 5-0 

54 kg
Jatin JAtin (India) df Pavel Kondrashov (Russia) 4-1
Nurassyl Tulebek (Kazakhstan) df Przemyslaw Soczowka (Poland) 4-1

57 kg
Platon Kozlov (Russia) df Dilerbek Sadirov (Kyrgyzia) 5-0
Adam Maca (Albania) df Amanollah Sahak (Afghanistan) 5-0

60 kg
Firozjon Sadullaev (Uzbekistan) df Akaki Basaria (Georgia) 5-0
Andranik Martirosyan (Armenia) df Mohamed Zeadeh (Jordan) by knockout in the second round

63 kg
Khikmatillo Ulmasov (Uzbekistan) df Derlys Martinez (Ecuador) 5-0
John Maher (Republic of Ireland) df Emmanouil Fotiadis (Greece) 3-0 

66 kg
Argishti Hakobyan (Armenia) df Akbar Ahmadov (Uzbekistan) 4-1
Ivan Siniak (Belarus) df David Torres (Mexico) 5-0 

70 kg
Samvel Siramargyan (Armenia) df Norbek Abdullaev (Uzbekistan) 5-0
Fabian Urbanski (Poland) df Festim Nimani (Germany) 3-2

75 kg
Albert Harutyunyan (Armenia) df Yolber Bandomo (Spain) 4-1
Sahil Sahil (India) df Vladimir Dranko (Russia) 3-2

80 kg
Bairamkhan Ashurov (Russia) df Guan-Hao Pan (Taipei) by knockout in the first round
Hardik Panwar (India) df Andrei Rumiantsau (Belarus) 5-0

+80 kg
Hemant Sangwan (India) df Tigran Khachatryan (Armenia) 5-0
Islam Salikhov (Uzbekistan) df Ian Bogdanov (Russia) 3-2

Travel: Why Armenia should be your next travel destination

First Post, India
Dec 2 2023
Veidehi Gite
As the pilot’s voice cut through the speakers, announcing our imminent arrival in Yerevan, the sight of Mount Ararat, a snow-capped peak piercing the sky like a giant’s ice cream cone, sent my heart into a tailspin. Nestled amidst the rugged peaks of the Caucasus Mountains, Armenia boasts a rich history that spans millennia, with evidence of human habitation dating back to the Palaeolithic era. I was eager to step into a land where history whispers from every corner. Yerevan, Armenia’s rosy capital and a city so old that it could give Methuselah a run for his money, owes its delightful pink hue to Tuff, a robust stone that puts mere bricks to shame. The city never sleeps, but instead of neon lights and honking taxis, it’s adorned with a blush that would make Barbie jealous.

Tatevik Arshakyan, my guide, was quick to point out that Tuff emerges from the fiery aftermath of volcanic eruptions, from the pumice that once danced in the molten chaos. It’s both lightweight and fragile, yet capable of bearing the weight of history and the hues of a thousand sunsets. With a history that eclipses Rome by 29 years, Yerevan boasts its place among the world’s most ancient cities, its genesis dating back to 782 BC under the reign of King Argishti I.

Frozen in time, Yerevan is like a living time capsule, a Soviet-era relic that has somehow managed to escape the clutches of modernity. My time in Armenia’s capital transported me back to the days of red stars and hammer-and-sickle emblems. It’s a city where Brutalist buildings stand tall, and the streets are lined with imposing Soviet structures, coexisting seamlessly with modern cafes, trendy shops, and bustling markets.

The city’s very atmosphere exudes a Soviet charm, a nostalgic echo of the era of borscht and ballets. The city’s theatres, with their gilded interiors and velvet curtains, seem to mutter tales of thunderous applause. The art museums haul you back to a time when art was a tool for cultural _expression_. The National Opera House, with its imposing façade, stands as a symbol of the rich artistic heritage that blossomed under Soviet patronage. It’s a city that’s old-fashioned, but not outdated, just like a good glass of rosé. Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely stroll or a romantic rendezvous, Republic Square (locally Hraparak), is where all the action happens. It’s where locals and visitors alike gather to bask in the glorious sunshine and revel in the pulsating energy of Yerevan. This architectural masterpiece blends an oval roundabout with trapezoid-shaped sections, creating an ensemble of five grand neoclassical buildings bedecked in pink and yellow tuff. The square’s ambience is further enhanced by the melodies of the musical fountains.

Amidst Yerevan’s bustling squares and grand cathedrals, uncover the poignant tribute to the Armenian Genocide at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex featuring a towering obelisk and a walkway lined with 1,500 basalt pillars. Visit the Cascade Complex, its towering staircase, adorned with sculptures and fountains, cascades down the hillside, offering breathtaking views of the city below. Delve into the world of Armenian manuscripts at Matenadaran, home to a vast collection of 23,000 manuscripts dating back centuries. Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history at the History Museum of Armenia which houses a national collection of over 400,000 objects spanning prehistoric artefacts to contemporary art, and discover hidden gems at Vernissage, a vibrant flea market.

When your feet feel weary from exploring, refresh with sweet water from a Pulpalak fountain, and savour the flavours of traditional Armenian cheese and bread, or desserts like Gata. To embark on an offbeat adventure through Yerevan’s cultural tapestry, step into the Megerian Carpet Museum and let your imagination wander through the centuries-old stories woven into exquisite textiles as well as sample Armenian cuisine that is just as rich. At Lusik Agulesti’s House Museum and Art Cafe, savour the flavours of time-honoured Armenian cuisine while immersing yourself in the artistic legacy of Lusik Agulesti, a pioneer of Armenian modernism. And for a taste of Yerevan’s bohemian side, venture to Dalan Art Gallery, where creativity and culinary artistry converge, leaving you with a symphony of flavours and artistic inspiration.

My second stop in Armenia was Gyumri, its second-largest city which is a mere 120 km (or a brisk two-hour drive) from Yerevan. With a history stretching back an impressive 5,000 years, Gyumri, formerly known as Alexandropol, is a veritable archaeological trove, where history whispers from every stone. During the Soviet era, Gyumri underwent a name change and a makeover, shedding its former moniker of Alexandropol and embracing the Soviet moniker of Leninakan. Here, ancient ruins stand side-by-side with modern buildings, creating a fascinating blend of old and new. As you navigate through Gyumri’s labyrinthine alleys and cobblestoned streets, you will find the echoes of the past serenading you, their melodies weaving tales of forgotten lore.

From churches with intricate carvings to quaint houses exuding old-world charm, Gyumri’s architecture stands as a testament to the craftsmanship of generations gone by. Galleries pepper the cityscape, their walls decked with the works of talented local artists who draw inspiration from both the past and the pulsating rhythm of the present. Some of Gyumri’s most fascinating museums can be found tucked away within the homes of renowned authors Hovhannes Shiraz and Avetik Isahakyan, or in the artistic world of sister artists Mariam and Yeranuhi Aslamazyan. For a glimpse into Gyumri’s rich history, don’t miss the Dzitoghtsyan Museum, or the Museum of Urban Life and Culture, a hidden gem clad in red and black tuff, housed in the grand two-story residence of one of the city’s wealthiest families during the 1800s.

Amidst Gyumri’s architectural tapestry, there are a few landmarks that stand out like a sore thumb, or rather, a striking masterpiece. The Seven Wounds church, constructed from black tuff stone, stands defiant, a testament to resilience even during the Soviet era when churches were shuttered. Its domes, though toppled by the 1988 earthquake, still stand guard. St. Nshan, Gyumri’s oldest church, graces the charming Rustaveli Street, its weathered walls whispering tales of centuries past. All-Savior’s Church, a masterful replica of the cathedral in Ani, Armenia’s former capital, was built between 1858 and 1873.

Across town, in the park commemorating the Soviet Union’s victory in World War II, stands the Mother Armenia statue, a symbol of strength and resilience. Next door to Mother Armenia stands Gyumri’s iconic Black Fortress, Sev Berd, a formidable structure crafted from black tuff stone in the 19th century. This circular sentinel once served as a military barracks and prison, its walls mirroring tales of battles fought and prisoners held. Today, the fortress has been transformed into a cultural hub, its stern interiors now welcoming exhibitions, concerts, and events. Venture inside to explore the small museum and descend into the depths of the fortress’s basement, where a deep well awaits, its secrets whispered from the shadows of time. No trip to Gyumri would be complete without indulging in its culinary delights.

Have your taste buds tantalised by chechil, a string cheese native to the Shirak region, or dine at Chalet Gyumri, where traditional Armenian cuisine dances in harmony with a captivating collection of historical artefacts. And wash down your culinary adventure with homemade fruit vodkas, infused with the sweetness of apricots, cornelian cherries, peaches, or mulberries.

My third and final stop in Armenia was Dilijan, tucked away a mere 95 km (about an hour and a half) from the bustling streets of Yerevan. Dilijan is a picturesque town nestled amidst the verdant Tavush region. This verdant haven, often dubbed Armenia’s Switzerland or Little Switzerland, has long been a sanctuary for those seeking refuge from the urban clamour. Its serene charm is enhanced by its idyllic location along the banks of the Aghstev River. Dilijan’s verdant embrace will greet you from every angle, and if you visit during autumn as I did, the forested slopes transform into a vibrant canvas of golden yellows and crimson reds. Legend has it that the town’s name stems from a shepherd named Dili.

Sharambeyan Street, the heart of Dilijan’s old town, has been lovingly preserved, its pedestrian-only lined with artisan workshops, art galleries, and traditional Armenian architecture. Step back in time where cobblestone streets and beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings await. Delve into the treasures of the Museum of Folk Art on Getapya Street and discover exquisite local art and handicrafts, from intricate woodwork to delicate lace, and from handcrafted dolls to vibrant ceramics. While Dilijan’s natural beauty is undeniable, it’s the town’s mediaeval-era architecture that truly steals the show. Nestled amidst the forests of Dilijan, the monasteries of Haghartsin and Goshavank stand as an exemplification of the architectural prowess of Armenia’s mediaeval era. Haghartsin, with intricate carvings and breathtaking views of the valley below, showcases the grandeur of Armenian ecclesiastical art.

Haghartsin’s trio of churches – St. Gregory, St. Stepanos, and St. Astvatsatsin – will leave you awestruck with their architectural beauty and serene ambience. Haghartsin boasts a rare 13th-century refectory, echoing the architectural ingenuity of its time, and is decorated with stunning khachkars, cross-stones that stand as silent sentinels of Armenian heritage. Nearby, you’ll spot the charred remains of an ancient walnut tree, once a symbol of protection against lightning strikes. Legend has it that if you can squeeze through the gnarled cavity in its trunk, your dreams will take flight. To delve into Dilijan’s rich tapestry of folklore, and artistic heritage, visit the Local Lore Museum and Art Gallery. Embark on a nature adventure to the Drunken Forest, where the trees seem to sway in a perpetual state of intoxication or venture to Gosh Lake where tranquillity reigns supreme.

Dilijan’s culinary scene is a symphony of flavours, harmoniously blending traditional Armenian fare with international influences. Kcuch, on Myasnikyan Street, reimagines Armenian classics with a modern twist. For a taste of old-world charm, Haykanoush, situated within the Old Dilijan Complex, transports diners to a bygone era with its restored 19th-century dining room, where handmade Tufenkian carpets adorn the floors and hearty Armenian cuisine warms the soul. Under the watchful eye of Haghartsin Monastery’s benevolent gaze, I embarked on a culinary adventure, learning the art of crafting Gata sweet pastries from local artisans and savouring the unique flavours of green-coloured honey wine, a first for my palate. Most diners perfectly complement the breathtaking views of the town and surrounding hills.

On your way back, don’t miss the mesmerising shores of Lake Sevan and the majestic forested slopes of the Tavush region, a landscape so picturesque it’ll leave you breathless.

With more than a decade of writing experience and a passion for exploring the world, the author is a travel journalist with a knack for captivating storytelling.Views expressed in the above piece are personal and solely that of the author. They do not necessarily reflect Firstpost’s views.

Travel: Discover the Rich History and Cultural Tapestry of Armenia: Yerevan and Gyumri
Dec 2 2023

When you think of Armenia, what comes to mind? Perhaps the stunning beauty of Mount Ararat or the vibrant city life of Yerevan and Gyumri. This small country nestled amidst the peaks of the Caucasus Mountains is steeped in history, with evidence of human habitation dating back to ancient times. Let’s explore the captivating stories and cultural treasures of Yerevan and Gyumri.

As you step into Yerevan, its rosy capital, you are transported to a time where history whispers from every corner. The city’s delightful pink hue owes itself to Tuff, a robust stone that has withstood the test of time. Yerevan is like a living time capsule, frozen in the Soviet era, with its imposing Soviet structures coexisting seamlessly with modern cafes and bustling markets.

As you wander through Yerevan’s streets, you can’t help but feel the nostalgic echo of the Soviet charm. The art museums and theatres, with their gilded interiors and velvet curtains, are a testament to the rich artistic heritage that blossomed under Soviet patronage. Republic Square, with its grand neoclassical buildings, is the center of the action, where locals and visitors gather to bask in the glorious sunshine and enjoy the melodies of the musical fountains.

Venturing into Gyumri, Armenia’s second-largest city, is like stepping back in time. With a history stretching back thousands of years, Gyumri is an archaeological trove where history serenades you from every stone. The city’s architecture, from intricate churches to charming old houses, showcases the craftsmanship of generations past. Museums tucked away in historic homes offer a glimpse into Gyumri’s rich history and cultural tapestry.

When exploring these cities, be sure to immerse yourself in the flavors of traditional Armenian cuisine, visit vibrant flea markets, and sample exquisite local art. Armenia’s cultural tapestry is a symphony of flavors, colors, and stories, waiting to be discovered.


Q: How old is Yerevan?
A: Yerevan’s genesis dates back to 782 BC under the reign of King Argishti I, making it one of the world’s most ancient cities.

Q: What is Tuff?
A: Tuff is a robust stone that gives Yerevan its delightful pink hue. It is lightweight yet capable of bearing the weight of history and the colors of picturesque sunsets.

Q: Where can I visit museums in Gyumri?
A: Gyumri is home to fascinating museums such as the Dzitoghtsyan Museum, the Museum of Urban Life and Culture, and museums within the homes of renowned authors Hovhannes Shiraz and Avetik Isahakyan.