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Armenia Maps and Travel Guide
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Foreign powers have treated Armenia brutally over the centuries.
The Seljuk Turk invasion in the 11th century caused the first large-scale emigration of Armenians.
During the 19th and 20th centuries Armenians suffered further large scale massacres and oppression at the hands of Russian and Turkish governments.
The Russians closed Armenian schools and ordered the confiscation of church property, while the Turks wanted to move Armenians to Mesopotamia.
Over a million Armenians died, and there is a large Diaspora. More Armenians live outside of the country than in it.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia has remained on the verge of becoming either an economic crossroads or an isolated backwater.
The Spirit of Armenia:
The Armenians have had their share of suffering, but events have failed to destroy the spirit of Armenia.
Armenia Travel Notes - Submitted by Eve
Armenian men often hold hands or walk closely together - greeting each other with a kiss on each cheek. If you shake hands with an Armenian don't expect to let go until the conversation is complete.
Men don't shake hands with the women (probably a courtesy, or sign of respect) and there is not very much public displays of affection between couples. Women in Yerevan do tend to dress in tight and somewhat revealing clothing.
Men - plan to wear pants at all times as shorts are not the norm for Armenians. Women - no shorts either unless you will be with a man. Many cat-calls and whistles may make you feel uncomfortable.
There are many places to shop in Yerevan but not in the outlying areas.
Be prepared for many Armenians to be smoking in restaurants, on the street, in cafes, the airport, everywhere.
There are many places to get your money exchanged.
Most citizens who completed school before the Armenians regained their independence in 1991 speak Russian and behave in a Soviet manner. Don't expect big smiles or hellos.
Be aware of the traffic at all times. Road rules are rarely followed and the police often pull taxis over to receive bribes.
Don't ask the police for directions unless you are willing to pay for their services. A good tip is 500 dram (about $1).
Food and travel are extremely inexpensive as are most hotels, unless you stay at a commercial location (The Marriott in Yerevan charges rates close to those they would in the US).
Summer is extremely hot but I have heard that the fall (end of September, October, and early November) is the best time to visit.
You will not be hungry - in the city there are many restaurants and coffee shops (try Armenian coffee if you like sweet espresso).
There is a lot of poverty and very underdeveloped places but the hospitality of most Armenians cannot be beat. Most of the architecture in Yerevan is Armenian-inspired and Republic Square is beautiful any time of the day.
In more rural areas the local homes are plain and some residents use old trailers as houses.
Visit the Vernizage on Saturday, in Yerevan, to bargain for souvenirs to take home. Some of the more popular are the stone, apricot, or walnut T-Cross (carved crosses), traditional flutes such as the duduk, pomegranate ceramics, mother earth spice serving containers, obsidian objects of all kinds, apricot wood carvings, and needlework.
Apricot wood is used because Armenia has many apricots (be sure not to drink water with apricots as it can cause some physical discomfort).
Yerevan has a water park called Water World that is a great place to cool off.
A small cafe called 'The Colour of Pomegranates' is an excellent taste of Armenian cuisine. This place is named after a movie by Parajonov - a famous Armenian film maker.
Armenians are very proud to be the first government to adopt Christianity (in 301 AD), to have many literary artists in it's past and present, and many are knowledgeable about their history.
The Armenian genocide has a museum and monument. This is a sensitive subject to Armenians.
Hotels in Yerevan:
A selection of places to stay in Yerevan.
The Odzoun Guesthouse was built in 1971, but until recently remained closed after independence. Local inhabitants have since bought the premises and are currently renovating it.
The Sissian Hotel is an ideal choice for those interested in visiting the Siunik region of Armenia, or those interested in breaking up their journey to Nagorno Karabagh or Iran.
Small, clean guesthouse located in charming Dilijan and conveniently situated close to Haghartsin and Goshavank. Excellent Armenian restaurant.
Tufenkian Heritage Hotels:
A network of luxurious properties in Armenia that combine great design, comfort and service; providing its guests with the richness of experiencing a revived Armenia.
Armenia Travel Notes
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