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The Armenian Capital Yerevan

Yerevan was very much different than both Baku and Tbilisi. It has been seat of an empire more than five times its current size and the city boasts of soviet style monuments and buildings on the scale of those in Moskva and Minsk.

One of these buildings is the Cascade. A massive staircaise decorated with flowers that hosts many floors of museum and art objects connected by series of escalstors. From the top you can get a good view of the city, and particularly the opera house with is at the end of one of the main streets called Northern Avenue.

The daily fountain show with music outside of the Historical museum

The city center has a circular shape, with the bus roads and parks being curved around the main plaza called Republic Square. One of the main attractions is the brandy factory museum, but as I had not pre booked a tour I didnt get to see it. Another great museum was the free Armenian Genocide Museum which was probably the best museum I have ever visited! I had no clue about the scale of the massacres of Armenians during the Ottoman empire in the beginning of the 1900s before I went there.

There are also lots of stuff to do not far from the capital. I went on day trips to the Geghard Monastery, Garni Pagan Temple and the Zvartnots Cathedral outside of the old capital Vagharshapat- the latter two looking more like East Roman ruins than anything else. In the background of Vagharshapat I could also see the highest Mountain of Armenia, Mt. Ararat but unfortunately this could not be as easily seen in the photos that I took.

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My Day Trip to Garni & Geghard

As mentioned there are plenty of options for people looking for day trips from Yerevan. One of them is the so called Garni-Geghard trip which combines a Hellenic Pagan Temple from the first century with a much more impressive Monastery called Geghard (or Geghardavank) meaning the Monastery of the Spear, as the spear that killed Jesus during the crucifiction once was kept there.

To get to Garni you can take a mashrutka from the Gai Station in Yerevan for as little as 50usd cents for the 30km long ride. The entrance is also very cheap if you are a student (20cents) whereas others have to pay 3 dollars to get in. At the site there is a pagan temple from the first century, but the heavy restoration makes it look fairly new. A visit is not really neccessary.

Second up was the Geghard Monastery which was way more impressive. Built in the 4th century in the mountains together with lots and lots of caves there is plenty to do to keep you occupied for an hour at least! There are trails leading into the woods where you will find trees with cloths wrapped around them, which apparently make wishes come true, and if you continue furthee up the mountain you will get exceptional views of the monastery which 99,9% of the visitors will not see.