If you come to Yerevan for at least a few days, I recommend you to visit two attractions located near the city. These are the Zvartnots temples and the Etchmiadzin Cathedral (the main temple of the Armenian Church).
Getting to them is not difficult, because They are located near Yerevan, as well as from the airport. The distance from Yerevan to the first temple (Zvartnots) is only 15 km, to Echmiadzin – 20 km. You can go on your own (we drove a car, rented through the rentalcars.com website , my review in this article ) or with a guided tour, which is also very convenient.
Zvartnots Temple in Armenia
Zvartnots Temple is an architectural monument listed by UNESCO. The “temple of the vigilant angels” was built in the 7th century AD, but in the 10th century it collapsed during the earthquake. At the moment, the temple is being reconstructed and the first tier has been almost restored. Here is a photo of the Zvartnots temple:
But so that you can imagine how the temple looked and how it will look after reconstruction:
How to get to Zvartnots from Yerevan
As you already know, we rented a car, so it was not difficult to get here. The road leading to the airport is direct, two-lane. After passing the airport (rather, you will see a sign for the airport), see the sign for Zvartnots. To approach the temple, you will need to turn around. You can leave the car at the gate (then you will have to go 300-400 meters), or drive outside the gate (after paying for the tickets, a barrier will open for you) and leave the car in the parking lot at the temple itself.
It can also be reached by taxi. You can catch a taxi on the street or book in advance. If you use an ordinary taxi, immediately agree on a price, I know several cases when the price turned out to be an order of magnitude higher than expected upon arrival. We paid about 3000 drams when traveling from the center to the airport in a taxi caught on the street. You can also order a taxi transfer in advance, it will be a little more expensive, but the price will be known in advance, you won’t have to pay anything, and you can also order additional services in advance (for example, a child seat). Perhaps it’s easier to get to the sights by a regular city taxi, but if you are going to the airport (or, conversely, you need to get to the city after arrival), then I recommend using the shuttle service. See prices and options on this site .
By bus or minibus is also possible. Any minibus from the Yerevan bus station, next to Vagharshapat, passes by the Zvartnots temple (for example, 202 or 203), just ask the driver to stop at the temple.
Opening hours : from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 17:30, Sunday from 10:00 to 15:00, Monday is a day off.
Entrance ticket : 1000 dram.
And here are my winter photos of the Zvrtnots temple:
Read also the article “How to Travel to Armenia on Your Own: My Mini-Guide”
Holy Etchmiadzin, or Armenian Vatican
Echmiadzin Cathedral is the main temple of the apostolic church. Echmiadzin is called the Armenian Vatican not by chance, for the Armenians this Cathedral is the main Shrine. It was erected in 4-5 centuries, and today it is one of the oldest Cathedrals in the world! And since 2000, it has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Here is the Cathedral (in January 2017 it was under reconstruction):
How to get to Holy Etchmiadzin from Yerevan
Holy Etchmiadzin is located literally 5 km from the Zvartnots temple, in the city of Vagharshapat, so you can get there in the same ways: by car, taxi, bus. If you have already reached Zvartnots, then getting to Echmiadzin by taxi will cost you symbolic money.
Opposite the entrance to the Temple there is a parking lot (important if you arrived by car), we paid only 200 drams.
Since this is an active Temple, the entrance to the territory is free.
Here is another photo of the Echmiadzin complex:
And I am finishing the story about these sights. If you have any questions, ask in the comments!