About Armenia

Armenia: Brief Information

 

An overview of Armenia is given on this page which can be useful for you during your visit in the country. The brief information stated below will give you an opportunity to have a clear idea of the geographical location, climate, culture, national customs and traditions, banking system of Armenia and other peculiarities.

 

Geographical Information

 

Armenia is located in the southern Caucasus, bordered by Georgia from the north, Azerbaijan from the east, Iran from the south and Turkey from the west. Contemporary Armenia has a territory of 29 800 square km, lying between 1000 and 2500 meters above sea level. The highest peak is mount Aragats (4090m), while the lowest point is Debed River Canyon (400m). Yerevan is the capital and the largest city of Armenia. According to the general census of 2003 the population of Armenia is 3.2 million, about 1.1 million of which live in the capital.

 

Climate

Armenia is a mountainous country. 90% of its territory is located at an altittude of 1000 metres or more above sea level. The climate is strictly continental; the winter is relatively cold while the summer is dry and hot. In the Ararat Valley the average temperature in July is + 25 to +27 C ° while in January -5 to -7 C°.

The best time to visit Armenia is spring or autumn. The average temperature in October is 18 to 22 C°. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables in autumn. Learn more about the climate in Armenia at www.meteo.am.

 

What to Wear

The European dress style is accepted in Armenia.

In early spring and late autumn there may be abrupt changes in temperature even during the same day. Tourists are advised to have with them warm clothing, raincoats and jackets.

 

Banking

The Armenian banking system consists of 21 commercial banks, which are supervised by the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia. The banks in Yerevan are open from 10 am to 4 pm on week-days and from 10 am to 1 pm on Saturdays. No lunch breaks! The ATMs can be found in all the major streets.

 

Currency

Armenian national currency, the Dram, was introduced in November 1993. There are banknotes of 500, 1000, 5000, 20000, 50000 Dram denomination. There are also coins of 10, 50, 100, 200, 500 Dram denomination.
Foreign currency (USD, Euro, Canadian Dollar, Japanese Yen, Dutch Guilder, Russian Ruble, etc.) can be exchanged in banks and currency exchange offices throughout the country.
You can check the current exchange rate at: http://www.cba.am.

Any amount that equals or exceeds USD 10,000 or its equivalent should be declared at customs upon arrival. There are no other limitations for bringing foreign currency into the country.

Any amount that equals or exceeds USD 10,000 or its equivalent can be taken out from the country if there is a certificate (given free of charge) issued by any exchange agency. There are no other limitations for taking foreign currency out of the country.

 

Electricity

The electricity in Armenia is 220 volt, 50 Hz. Electric outlets in Armenia use European plugs with 2 round pins. The outlet plug adaptors can be purchased at any electronic shop in Yerevan.

 

Flights

The main air-access to the country is through Zvartnots International airport in Yerevan, which is located about 15 km far from the city center.
There are regular flights to and from Yerevan organized by the following companies: Armenian International Airlines, Aeroflot Russian Airlines, Air France, Armavia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Czech Airlines, Lufthansa, etc. All these airlines offer connecting flights to every major city in the world. For more information please visit: www.zvartnots.am

 

Holidays

Armenians celebrate both public and religious holidays. The celebrations here are usually accompanied with joyful songs and traditional circle dances. Usually all stores are open on holidays and Saturdays. Most of the shops and supermarkets are open on Sundays, too.

 

Language

The official language is Armenian, a separate branch of Indo-European family. The written characters are very unique and are not similar to any other alphabets. However most of the shops and official buildings are also marked with Latin-letter signboards. Besides Armenian, nearly everyone speaks Russian here, and many can communicate in English, too.
Cuisine
The Armenian cuisine is unique due the vast variety of fruits, vegetables and vegetation that grows in the region. Various spices and greens, fish, milk, cool water and cooking skill served in combination reveals a unique cuisine for visitors. Use of fresh made lavash bread for sandwiches made of cheese or kebob is a staple of the Armenian diet.

Also recommended is grape leaves stuffed with meat, cracked wheat, greens and spices. This dish, named “dolma”, is an ancient delicacy.

 

Fruits
Armenia is rich with fruits. From early spring till late autumn one can taste different fruits recognized as superior to the same fruits cultivated at other latitudes. Grapes of some 40 kinds grow on the entire territory of Armenia, but mainly in the Ararat valley.

One can walk the streets of the villages of the Ararat Valley where the sun is usually hidden by the thick foliage of vines.

Peach, apple, pear, cherry, mulberry, fig, pomegranate, walnut, strawberry and many other fruits grow in Armenia. The apricot is considered to be the queen of this assemblage. Apricots have grown in Armenia from time immemorial. Many have tried to grow the Armenian apricot in their own country yet the taste is yet to be proved comparable. People believe that the apricot is good for heartache and that is why many are advised to visit Armenia in May, June and July.

 

Drinks
From ancient times, Armenia has been known as a country of viticulture and wine-growing. Various brands of Armenian wines and cognac (brandy) remain unchallenged to the present day.

Armenian wine-growers produce three main varieties:

Ordinary, matured from three months to one year;

Branded wines that are made according to special recipes and matured from 2 to 5 years in barrels;

Special quality branded wines that after maturity in barrels are kept in bottles for no less than 3 years.

There are excellent table wines, with or without spirit mixing, and also with special aromatic flavors and herb tincture.

Cognac (brandy) has been produced in Armenia for many centuries. Cognac is aged in oak barrels. The combination of the beaming sun of the Ararat valley with the fertile land and Armenian spring water results in the excellent quality of the Armenian cognac.

Armenian cognac comes in many special brands that have won silver and gold medals in numerous international shows. Armenian cognacs are aged from 6 to 50 years, and are from 40 to 57% proof.

Among the famous brands are Nairi, Vaspourakan, Ararat, Akhtamar, Yerevan, Ani, and Dvin.

Beer has been is know to have been produced in Armenia since the Urartu period through archaeological excavations. Alongside Armenian wines and brandy, guests to Armenia can taste a wide variety of imported drinks.

 

Mineral Waters
Armenia is rich in mineral waters renowned worldwide. Armenia’s mineral waters have a healing effect for kidneys, liver, gall bladder and intestinal diseases. In addition, mineral water baths are recommended for abnormalities of the nervous and supportive-protective systems.

 

 

Postal Services

The post offices in Armenia have regular working timetable from 9 am to 7 pm. Sunday is a day-off. One of the central post offices is located at the Republic Square opposite the Government building.

 

Public Transportation

The following means of public transportation are available in Armenia:
Metro: Yerevan subway system has one line stretching from the north to the Railroad Station in the southern edge of the city. There are 10 stations. The fare is 50 AMD ($0.11). The Yerevan metro is open from 6:30 am to 11:00pm.
Buses: There are buses running in major directions. The fare is 70 AMD.
Minibuses: These small vans seating 12-15 people are available everywhere in the city. They run until late at night. The fare is 100 AMD ($0,22).
Taxi Services: There are many taxi services, which accept orders by phone. They offer very clean, comfortable cars with polite and skillful drivers. The fare varies from 70 AMD ($0.22) to 100 AMD ($0.18) per km.
Regular taxi: There are taxi stands at major and busy intersections. Fares are subject to negotiation.

The bus is the main transportation means between towns. Some towns have a railway connection between them.

 

Religion

Armenians accepted Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. The religion is deeply rooted in Armenia.
Most ethnic Armenians belong to the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox church. The head of the church is the Catholicos of All Armenians, who resides in Holy Echmiadzin.

 

Telephone Calls

The country code is 374, Yerevan city code is 10.
Outgoing international calls can be made by dialing:
– 00 followed by the country, city code and the number
– 107 and ordering an operator-assisted call.
Cellular phones for rent can be obtained at the office of Hyur Service. For more details click here.

 

Time Differences

Time difference between Armenia and Europe is +3 hours; with GB +4 hours: with East Coast of the US +9 hours and with the West Coast +12 hours. Armenia observes the clock changes for daylight savings.

 

Visa

You can get a visa upon arrival in Yerevan at the airport for 3000 dram, approx. 8 USD/6 EUR for 21 days and for 15000 dram, approx. 41 USD/30 EUR for 120 days. In general the procedure lasts 20-25 minutes. By the expiration of the visa dates it should be prolonged (500 dram approx. 1.6 USD/1 EUR per extra day). Visa can also be obtained on the Internet at www.armeniaforeignministry.com/eVisa/. The combined application processing and e-Visa fee is for 21 days and for 120 days. Only credit card payments are accepted.

 

More detailed information about Armenia is available at:

Caravanarmenia.com