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1Although Armenians carry a lot of psychological baggage from a traumatic 20th century, you’d hardly notice it from a quick tour around the country. The rapidly modernising capital, the boutique tourism industry and the warm welcome you’ll receive everywhere seem to belie the country’s reputation for tragedy. Rather than letting past woes weigh it down, Armenia (ՀԱՅԱՍՏԱՆ) has built its memorials, dusted itself off and moved on. For travellers, easily visited highlights include ancient monasteries, candlelit churches and high-walled forts – but lasting impressions lie more with the Armenians themselves. You’ll easily find friends among these gracious, humble and easy-going people, even without a common language. The travel experience is wide-ranging – you can have a four-star holiday in Yerevan and Sevan or a much simpler experience in rural towns like Dilijan and Goris. Many travellers only spend a week or less as they shuttle around the region but those with more time get to experience the best spots in crowd-free bliss.

Epic History
Aram was the great-grandson of Hayk, the ruler of Armavir. He dissatisfied that neighbors attack on Armavir. He collected 50.000 brave and strong Armenian archers, who were also good spearmen. Near his country borders Aram met Median General Nyuqar Mades with his big army. This Median General had already attacked and destroyed some Armenian settlements several times. Aram with his army attacked on Medians and defeated them. General Nyuqar Mades (Madis) was captured and was taken to Armavir where he was impaled. In the same period Assyrian king Ninos (Ninus) wanted to avenge for Bel's death. But after seeing the courage and numerous victories of Aram, he had to give Aram the rank of "the second after me (Ninos)". During his reigning Aram defeated all enemies of Armenia. He gave his land to his son - Ara Gegecik (Ara the Handsome). After Aram's death Armenia became under the rule of his sun Ara the Handsome (Gegecik). The same period Assyria was ruled by Ninos, who gave Aram many presents and the same rank "the second after me (Ninos)" which was previously given to his father Aram. The wife of Ninos was Shamiram (Semiramis), who wanted to see and be with Ara the Handsome but was afraid of her husband. When Ninos died, Shamiram sent her servants with many presents and proposed Aram to go to Ninveh (Ninve) and get married to her. Ara declined Shamiram’s proposal.Several delegations came to Ara with Shamiram’s demand, but Aram declined them all. Shamiram angered on Aram. She collected a big army and came to Armenia. She didn't want to kill Aram, but wanted to capture him and took Ninveh. Shamiram told his warriors not to kill him. The battle between Armenians and Assyrians began in the valley of Ara, which later was called by the name of Ara - Ayrarat. Armenian army was defeated and all Armenian warriors were killed. Ara the Handsome also was killed. When Armenians heard about the death of their king they collected a new big army. Shamiram didn't want to fight with them. When Armenian army came to kill her, she told them that Aralezs raise Ara the Handsome from the dead. She found a man which looked like Ara the Handsome and dressed him inArmenian king's clothes. Armenian warriors saw that man and believed Shamiram. Later Shamiram built the Statues of a god who had "resuscitated" Ara the Handsome. Ara the Handsome and Nvard (Ara's wife) had a son Ara whose. Shamiram assigned him as a governor-general of Armenia. Arayan Ara was killed with Shamiram in the war. After ArayanAra’s death his son Anushavan became the ruler of Armenia.

Armenian cuisine includes the foods and cooking techniques of the Armenian people, the Armenian Diaspora and traditional Armenian foods and dishes. The cuisine reflects the history and geography where Armenians have lived as well as incorporating outside influences. The cuisine also reflects the traditional crops and animals grown and raised in areas populated by Armenians.The preparation of meat, fish, and vegetable dishes in an Armenian kitchen requires stuffing, frothing, and puréeing. Lamb, eggplant, and bread (lavash) are basic features of Armenian cuisine. Armenians use cracked wheat (bulgur) in preference to the maize and rice popular among their Caucasian neighbors (Georgia and Azerbaijan).

Cultural Depth
This museum spans Stone Age cave dwellers in the Hrazdan Gorge to the astronomy and metallurgy of 3000 BC Metsamor, the Urartu Empire and the gathering of the Hayk tribes into a nation in the 6th century BC. After that, centuries fly past through Hellenic Armenia, the arrival of Christianity and finally the long centuries under Muslim Turkish and Persian rule. There are medieval khatchkars, costumes, jewellery, coins, and models of buried settlements and lost churches. One of the most prized artefacts to join the collection is a 5500-year-old leather shoe discovered in a cave in Vayots Dzor region in 2008. Scientists have dubbed it the ‘world’s oldest shoe’.

Why I Love Armenia
If you’re the type of person that likes “getting off the beaten path” and “discovering new things,” Armenia is a good place for you. I barely ran into any other Western tourists, and most of the people visiting were diaspora Armenians. Or Russians. They would politely ask me if I’m Armenian, and when I responded with the obvious “Nope!” they asked me why the hell I would choose to visit Armenia. They were truly shocked that a tiny little blonde girl from the U.S. would visit, but they thought it was awesome that I was there.
Sure this means that the tourist infrastructure isn’t as great as it is in places like Western Europe, but that’s what makes it feel like a real place, and not just another stop on the tourist trail. When you need to get a minibus somewhere, you’re doing it with the locals. You’ll probably have a difficult time communicating, but that’s the fun of it.

Landscapes & Activities
Armenia has established a Ministry of Nature Protection and introduced taxes for air and water pollution and solid-waste disposal, whose revenues are used for environmental protection activities. Waste management in Armenia is underdeveloped, as no waste sorting or recycling takes place at Armenia's 60 landfills. Despite the availability of abundant renewable energy sources in Armenia (especially hydroelectric and wind power), the Armenian Government is working toward building a new nuclear power plant at Metsamor nearYerevan. The climate in Armenia is markedly continental. Summers are dry and sunny, lasting from June to mid-September. The temperature fluctuates between 22 and 36 °C (72 and 97 °F). However, the low humidity level mitigates the effect of high temperatures. Evening breezes blowing down the mountains provide a welcome refreshing and cooling effect. Springs are short, while autumns are long. Autumns are known for their vibrant and colorful foliage. Winters are quite cold with plenty of snow, with temperatures ranging between −10 and −5 °C (14 and 23 °F). Winter sports enthusiasts enjoy skiing down the hills of Tsakhkadzor, located thirty minutes outside Yerevan. Lake Sevan, nestled up in the Armenian highlands, is the second largest lake in the world relative to its altitude, at 1,900 metres (6,234 ft) above sea level.