Armenia’s Artistic Gems: A Must-See Museum Trail

Dec 3 2023

These museums are not just repositories of dusty artefacts; they are vibrant storytelling hubs that bring Armenia's rich heritage to life

Veidehi Gite

Armenia, a country in the heart of the Caucasus region, boasts a rich heritage that spans thousands of years. From its ancient historical sites to its vibrant contemporary art scene, Armenia is a treasure trove for travel enthusiasts. One of the most captivating aspects of this country is its many museums, each housing a unique collection of gems that offer a glimpse into the country's past and present. Embarking on a museum trail across Armenia promises an enriching and immersive experience, unveiling the diverse facets of its art and history.

In 1919, an ethnographer, archaeologist, and folklorist named Yervand Lalayan laid the foundation for what became the first museum of the Republic of Armenia in Yerevan. This three-story edifice, now a cornerstone of Armenian cultural heritage, houses an astonishing collection of 400,000 artefacts, including unique archaeological finds, numismatic treasures, and ethnographic specimens. While the museum's first two floors showcase a rotating array of temporary exhibits, it is the third floor that holds the permanent collection.

Begin your journey on the first floor, where a room next to the reception unveils the museum's journey through its formative years, from 1921 to 1931. As you ascend to the third floor, the museum's permanent collection unfolds before you, with a 1,800,000-year-old basalt chopper from Tavush, and the 1,200,000-year-old basalt hand axe from Kurtan, the oldest of its kind in Western Eurasia.

Stone Age exhibits amaze with the artefacts from the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic periods, offering a glimpse into the lives of prehistoric ancestors. exhibit, marvel at stones adorned with The Kingdom of Gods gallery is a veritable feast, offering a glimpse into Armenian wall painting fragments, a 9th-century phallus, and sculptural portraits of men. The statuette of goddess Arubani and God Teisheba, as well as other artefacts from the 4th to 6th centuries BC, are the standouts.

Getting There: For a swift commute from Yerevan Zvartnots Airport to Republic Square, consider a taxi. These reliable rides cost $6 and whisp you to Republic Square in 30 minutes.

Timings and entry fee: The museum is open to the public from 11am to 6pm, with the exception of Mondays when it is closed. The entry fee for adults is INR 312.

Address: 4 Republic Square, 375010, Armenia

Agulesti, a renowned Armenian painter, is affectionately called the "Van Gogh of Armenia.Her home, appropriately named "Armenia in one room," serves as a poignant tribute to Agulesti's profound love for her homeland. Founded in 1982, and housed in the artist's former home, this heritage house museum, nestled on Muratsan Street, is dedicated to the life and work of Lusik Agulesti.

The museum's labyrinthine corridors are a display of Agulesti's portraits and paintings. Intricate silver belts, adorned with intricate motifs and delicate gemstones, shimmer under the soft glow of museum lights. While traditional Armenian garments with elaborate embroidery, invite you to imagine the grace of those who once wore them. Utensils, dolls, weapons, carpets, and sculptures, all lovingly collected and preserved, offer a glimpse into Aguletsi's multifaceted talents and her deep appreciation for Armenian craftsmanship.

Getting There: The Lusik Agulesti House Museum is a mere 15-minute stroll from Yerevan's central train station and a 10-minute cab ride from the city centre.

Timings and entry fee: For a nominal entry fee of INR 415, the Lusik Agulesti House Museum welcomes visitors with open doors from 12 to 7pm.

Address: 79 Muratsan St, Yerevan, Armenia

Another captivating museum that ranks among the top three must-visit destinations in Armenia, is the Dzitoghtsyan House Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life in Gyumri, established in 1984. Built in 1872 by the affluent Dzitoghtsyan family, this stately residence, adorned with the distinctive red tuff stone, stands as a timeless testament to the city's architectural heritage.

Step inside and immerse yourself in the lives of Gyumri's elite, as the meticulously preserved interiors and traditional furnishings transport you back to the 19th and early 20th centuries. Furniture, wood carvings, metalwork, carpet weaving, textiles – these are just a few of the artistic expressions that adorn the museum's walls and shelves, each telling a story of the craftsmanship that flourished in Gyumri. Exhibits showcasing woodwork, carpets, hat crafting, embroidery, shoe making, tinwork, and silversmithing will open your eyes to the skills of Gyumri's artisans. But the Dzitoghtsyan House Museum isn't just about objects; it's about the people who breathed life into these spaces.

Getting There: The Dzitoghtsyan House Museum in Gyumri is a 2-hour drive from Yerevan by a cab.

Timings and entry fee: It is open from 9am to 5pm and closed on Mondays. The entry fee is INR 208 for adults.

Address: 47 Haghtanaki Avenue, Gyumri 3116, Armenia