Religious capital of Armenia is located 18 km away from Yerevan. Echmiadzin or Vagharshapat has been religious center of the country for 1700 years. “Holy City” or “Armenian Vatican” has to be on you bucket list if you want to truly experience Armenian culture.
Echmiadzin is the center of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the location of the main cathedral of the country – Echmiadzin Cathedral. It’s the city where originality of Armenian national culture was formed. The history of the city is closely connected to the history of Echmiadzin Cathedral – one of the oldest churches in the world. The cathedral has distinctive architecture and is built on water. All Armenian churches are minimalistic, but Echmiadzin Cathedral has unique Byzantine luxurious architecture; painting the cathedral took several centuries. The construction of the cathedral was started by Saint Gregory the Illuminator in 301, when Armenia became the first country in history to adopt Christianity. Saint Gregory had a dream, where Jesus Christ pointed on the place for construction of the cathedral.
Armenian Vatican had been inhabited before the city became the heart of Armenian Christianity. It served as the capital of the Arsacid Kingdom from 120 AD to 330 AD. That’s where the first educational institution in Armenia was established.
The city from where Armenian culture took its roots has so much to offer to travelers; they can see the Spear of Destiny – the lance that pierced the side of Jesus, when he was hanging on the cross. Innovative house of Grigor Machanenc is there to surprise visitors with many unusual things that fill up the house. Travelers can try the most popular local dish – kofta. Not visiting ethnographic museum will be a huge mistake. One of the largest city museum has more than 15,000 exhibits. Holy City of Armenia is the perfect place to experience Armenian culture at its best.