Armenia is a nation, and former Soviet republic, in the mountainous Caucasus region between Asia and Europe. Among the earliest Christian civilizations, it’s defined by religious sites including the Greco-Roman Temple of Garni and 4th-century Etchmiadzin Cathedral, headquarters of the Armenian Church. Khor Virap Monastery is a pilgrimage site near Mount Ararat, a dormant volcano just across the border in Turkey.
Medieval Geghard Monastery, featuring churches and tombs carved from stone, and Byzantine Haghpat Monastery, perched above the Debed River, offer far-reaching views. High-altitude Lake Sevan borders the monastery Sevanavank, dating to the 9th century, and beach resorts known for windsurfing, jet-skiing and sailing. In the capital, Yerevan, historic attractions like Matenadaran, a library filled with ancient manuscripts; mix with modern nightclubs and street markets. Yerevan is also home to the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial, which commemorates a dark period in the country’s past.