Why Armenia? (VI)

Everyone who follows this blog knows that I currently live in Armenia. Everyone knows that I blog not only to document my travels and share hundreds of my pictures with you. One of the reasons why I keep blogging is to promote traveling in Armenia and South Caucasus.
I know many bloggers that visited Armenia. I even met some of them during their travels and I follow their sites daily. One day I decided to ask them to help me encourage people to travel to Armenia.
Every Monday from now on, I will be featuring travelers and bloggers that have visited Armenia. Every author will share three reasons to visit the country along with some great pictures taken by him/her while in Armenia.
Today I’m happy to present you Nora from Not Your Grandma’s Armenia
So, why Armenia?
Armenia is a funny place. I’ve spent my life thinking about it, wrote my graduate thesis on it, lived here over nine months now and I still know absolutely nothing about it. It is constantly changing and surprising me with its sometimes ridiculous yet always funny quirks and its genuine desire to be better. I consider myself a lucky son of a gun to be able to witness this all first hand but realize that some of you haven’t been so lucky yet so let me give you a few reasons why you should make the trek over here to this particularly enchanting country in the Caucasus.
Mother Armenia, Yerevan
1. The people
Where I come from, everyone is expected to look nice. You may not be nice, but you better have a smile on your face and a positive energy radiating off you or by golly people will talk. This is not so much the case in Armenia. Truth is, Armenian people don’t really look nice. You probably won’t see too many people skip down the road with a smile on their face whistling a happy tune. That being said, I have rarely come across friendlier people. This is not to say that Armenia is a utopia, but I will say that more often than not, if you are in need of assistance and you ask the nearest stranger, they will go beyond the standard to help. (I’m not even talking about the randos who will invite you into their house for dinner after only just meeting them. They’re a different, albeit common, breed. Don’t get too weirded out if you encounter their kind. It happens.)
2. The contradictions
There is something illuminating about being in a country where you can hear the delicate melody of hymns echo from inside a centuries old church, and then attend a rock concert down the street only hours later. There is something humbling about witnessing one of the many beautiful and untouched landscapes and then marvel at the beauty of the structures in the city center, “hrabarag” or Opera music hall. There is something fulfilling about feasting on a lunch of the simplest of ingredients, cucumber, tomato and cheese and believing it to be the freshest and most delicious meal you’ve ever tasted, only to then visit a five-start restaurant later that night where you are presented with a complex combination of ingredients creating a culinary treasure for you to enjoy. This array of experiences within such a geographically small space will no doubt keep you amazed at all the country has to offer.
the Cascade, Yerevan
3. The history
When you ask someone what they know about Armenia, if they know anything at all, the answer will be relatively standard. It will undoubtedly be something along the lines of genocide or Christianity. But this culture has such an expansive and interesting past that it is very difficult not to get swept up in it once you delve a little deeper. And Armenia itself is a testament to that. Walking around the country you have a chance to walk where great political, intellectual and cultural figures once walked. You can visit sites that are the birthplace of immense cultural activity, not just for Armenia but for humanity. Its all here to explore and marvel at, just a Lada-ride away.
About Nora
I was born in raised in California. I enjoy reading, staying indoors at all times if possible, film history, pop culture and fashion. I happen to think Armenia is the most interesting place around and couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.
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