Armavir Marz Travel Guide

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Echmiadzin Cathedral

Echmiadzin Cathedral

(c) Raffi Kojian - Armeniapedia.org

This dry and flat plain is a continuation of Ararat Marz and similar in many respects.  The main attraction is Echmiadzin Cathedral, its surrounding compound and the other churches in the city.  Sardarapat is the other big attraction, with a soaring monument marking the site of the battle in which tiny Armenia routed the Turkish invasion after WWI, saving itself from complete destruction.  Along with the monument is Armenia's largest ethnographic museum, with an excellent collection of Armenian artifacts from life in the Armenian highlands thousands of years ago, all the way up to the time of the genocide.

Sites:

Echmiadzin - the mother church of Armenia, in a city also popularly called Echmiadzin.  Though founded the same year as Armenian Christianity, most of the Cathedral was built and rebuilt many times over the years, making it a much more recent structure.  The impressive belltower is from the 1800s.  The oldest remaining part actually predates the entire church - it's the pagan fire worshipping pit that the church was built over, and it is preserved in the underground chamber that the altar is built over.  The fire pit is accessible through the museum behind the altar area, and usually only by request, and donations are strongly suggested by the priests.  The grounds and gardens have a collection of very nice khachkars (carved stone crosses) from around the country, and there is an Alex Manoogian museum sometimes accessible to the public as well.

Hripsime - also in the city of Echmiadzin.

Gayane - also in the city of Echmiadzin.

Zvartnots - just east of the city of Echmiadzin, closer to Yerevan.

Sardarapat - As detailed above, an impressive ethnographic collection and a somber monument to a battle victory that literally saved Armenia from oblivion in 1918.

Armavir - not the current city, but the nearby ruins of an ancient hellenistic capital.  Not that much remains to be seen, but the museum and grounds are open for visitors and history buffs.

Metsamor - not the nuclear power plant, but the nearby ruins and museum of an ancient past capital.  The excavations and museum are open for visitors.

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: Raffi Kojian (me!)

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