Erevan, Garni, Geghard, Erebuni, Echmiatsin, Armenia

After it rained for forty days, Noah’s ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, and after receiving annunciation from the Dove, Noah came out of the Ark with his sons and animals

National Gallery of Armenia

The Ararat is the symbol of Armenia. The fact that it currently lies in the territory of Türkiye is symbolic of the tumultuous history and hardships of the Armenians.

History, tradition, spirituality are fundamental to Armenia, and Armenia is fundamental to the world’s history, spirituality and civilisation.

I visited this country early October 2023, in times of war and massive population displacement. The bravery, kindness and determination of the Armenians to preserve a unique heritage were striking.

This unique country and its brave population must be preserved 🇦🇲


Yerevan city centre
The National Gallery and the History Museum of Armenia. Both these museums richly highlight the history and culture of Armenia
Yerevan city centre at night
Yerevan city centre at night
City centre of Yerevan at night
Marshall Baghramyan, a commander in the Red Army during WW2, in many decisive battles, among others in the Ukrainian and the Baltic front

National History Museum of Armenia

With the rich and ancient history of Armenia come craftsmanship and a vibrant art. With deep spirituality come an emotional beauty and a call from ancient times and an even stronger call to preserve this unique country.

The Nativity and adoration of Magi, Akhtala, 13th century
A wonderful mural painting – The Eucharist, Akhtala, 13th century
A couple from Akhaltsikhe, late 19th century
A woman from Nakhichevan with a child
Traditional armenian tapestry, from a private collection

During my visit, the National Gallery held an exhibition in honour of the Armenian painter Hovhannes Aïvasovsky. I admired some of his paintings in Tachkent and Tallinn before. Admiring his work in his country had a special meaning for me.

Among this rich exhibition, picking paintings on the theme of Ararat and Constantinople (the 2nd Rome) seemed a natural choice to me.

Hovhannes Aïvasovsky – Noah descending from the Ararat
Hovhannes Aïvazovsky – Night in Constantinople

Mount Ararat

Mount Ararat, from a distance, on the road to Garni. The Mount Ararat is the identity of Armenia, though it it is located on the territory of Türkiye
Mount Ararat from a distance, on the road to Garni


A Pagan temple that survived. Built in the first century AD and dedicated to the God of Sun, Mithra. Persian cult was common in Armenia before Christianisation.
Typical armenian landscape, from the Garni Temple

Saint Hripsime Church

This church was built in 658 by Komitas Aghtsetsi Catholicos on the place where the tomb of the virgin Martyr St Hripsime is.

Hripsime is a saint martyr, belonging to a group of virgins led by the Saint Gayane.  Hripsime was martyred by the king Tirdat, after she refused his advances. Despite being responsible for her martyrdom, Tirdat converted to Christianity in 301, thus making Armenia the first kingdom to turn to Christianity.

Saint Hripsime Church
Saint Hripsime Church
Saint Hripsime Church
The Ararat is visible from the church. A deep sense of spirituality surrounds you from every angle in this land
Tomb of Hripsime

I have visited many places, but I have never felt so physically and emotionally close to a Saint as I have been to the tomb of Hripsime. There is a common conception in the armenian churches that one should be as close as possible to God and the saints. The word sacred gets all its meaning in this holy place of Echmiatsin. 

The armenian crosses have a distinctive shape. According to a great guide I had during my visit to Geghard Monastery, the Armenian cross has a more peaceful round shape. It is closer in its form to a tree of a life. Rather than the sacrifice, the armenian cross rather conveys the idea of hope and life.
The city of Etchmiasin. The city was founded in 303 by Grigor Loussavoritch, his prayers are said to have cured the king Tirade during the last months of 300, thus contributing to the king’s conversion to Christianity. On a small public garden in Echmiatsin : Icones, crosses, miniatures of churches and other religious objects. I didn’t dare get closer nor could I fully grasp the meaning of this « sanctuary », but it says so much about the place of faith in Armenia.

Yerevan Railway Station

The beautiful Railway Station of Erevan is a testimony to the great achievement of building and electrifying the railway network in the hard Armenian topography 🇦🇲
As integration within the region and Eurasia continues, the Armenian railways are named “South Caucasus Railways – Южно кавказская железная дорога”, so you can not only visit wonderful Armenia, but also reach another jewel of the Caucasus : Tbilissi 🇬🇪

Erevan Railway Station : a very nice construction
Erevan Railway Station, from another angle
The legendary David of Sassoun, a here of the Armenian epic, credited with driving the Arabs out of the Armenian land
The platform and the overall station were calm, sadly. Due to the Armenian topography, railway operations are a tough challenge
These are the faces of the brave men who built and make the railway operations in Armenia possible
Despite the hard topography mentioned above, the electrification of the network has gone a long way