As supposedly the first country to embrace Christianity, Armenia has the architecture to prove it. It is a country boasting 40,000 churches and monuments scattered throughout a picturesque landscape of snowy mountains, caves, and blankets of wildflowers. Whether you’re looking to experience castles, ruins, skiing, hot springs, or a taste of the ancient silk route, Armenia has it all.

Facilities for travellers are fairly limited and Armenia will pose a challenge to the ‘modern traveller’, but it’s worth persisting. For example, in the capital city of Yerevan you can sit in Republic Square and take in the colourful markets, Arab influenced carvings and the pink volcanic rock buildings.

Armenia has a long history of being controlled by many empires: Ottoman, Persian, Byzantine and Roman, to name but just a few. It most recently gained its independence from the U.S.S.R. at the same time as Azerbaijan in 1988. The two countries started fighting over a piece of land called Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas (largely dominated by an Armenian population). Genocide and war ensued. Peace still evades the countries and along with pollution, an economic blockade from Turkey and a fuel blockade from Azerbaijan, their economies are flailing. However, as the interface between Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Armenia is an eye opener of a country you won’t have been taught about in your geography lessons.

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