You will be reminded frequently when visiting Armenia that it was the world’s first officially Christian country, since countless monasteries are among Armenia’s premier tourist attractions. Fortunately for those who might otherwise suffer monastery fatigue, many of these monasteries are built in places of incredible natural beauty, making the sites of monasteries like Tatev, Noravank, Haghartsin, Haghpat and Geghard well worth a visit even without the impressive, millennium old monasteries found there.
Armenia occupies the territory of Armenian uplands; consequently, its relief is basically mountainous and consists of numerous high mountain ridges (about 47% of the territory), intermountain hollows, extinct volcanic mountains, plateau and plains. The 90% of the territory of Armenia is located at a height of 1,000m above sea level and higher. The highest point of Armenia is the top of Mt. Aragats (4,090m) and the lowest is in the gorge of the river Debed (380m).
The Highest Mountains:
Aragats – 4,090m
Kaputjukh – 3,906m
Azhdahak – 3,598m
Spitakasar – 3,555m
Vardenis – 3,522m
Armenia is protected from the harsh winter conditions of the Russian landmass by the Northern Caucasus Mountains, and consequently receives much of its weather from the Persian and Syrian Plains. In winter, the southern regions and northernmost regions are the warmest. While the mountains may be covered with snow, lower valleys are clear, getting their first spring flowers as early as the end of January. Ararat valley is one of the lowest areas in Armenia, and does not receive as much snowfall or rain as the upper elevations.
The weather changes according to the great variety of geographic terrain. While it may be sunny and hot in the Ararat valley, 60 km away in Sevan it may be cold and rainy, and snowing in the upper regions of Mt. Aragats. Common July temperatures range between Ararat valley highs of 25-30° C (77-86° F) to middle mountain regions summer highs of 18-20° C (64-68° F). The average number of frost-free days in Armenia are 250 in the Ararat valley, and 150-200 days in the middle mountain areas. In the upper elevations no more than 30-50 days are considered frost-free.
RAINFALL & SNOW
Armenia receives a total average precipitation of 550 mm (21.6 in). Ararat valley receives the least amount of precipitation, 200-250mm (7.9 to 10 in). The most amount of precipitation occurs in the upper regions, and during spring and early summer, with a second rainy season in October and November. When rain falls in the summer months, it often begins with a drizzle and soon develops into a downpour. In the winter months, snow does not last in the Ararat valley, as the temperatures often vary between freezing and just above. In the middle mountain areas, the snow will keep for long periods of time, and commonly reaches 100 cm² (40 in).
Armenia receives an average of 2,700 sun hours of light a year. In the summer months, the Ararat valley is perpendicular to the sun, and each square cm of land receives per minute 1.46 calories of heat. Because of the perpendicular alignment of the land with the sun, people who sunbathe can obtain very even suntans (listen up, beach bums!).
Armenia is not rich in water resources despite having quite a network of rivers. Altogether there are more than three hundred rivers of 10 km and longer. Some of them cut deep gorges and canyons in steep stony rocks.
The Longest Rivers:
Arax – on the territory of Armenia – 158 km (total length 1,072 km)
Akhuryan – 186 km
Vorotan – on the territory of Armenia – 119 km (total length 179 km)
Debed – on the territory of Armenia – 152 km (total length 178 km)
Hrazdan – 141 km
Agstev – on the territory of Armenia – 99 km (total length 133 km)
Armenia has one large fresh water lake – Lake Sevan and dozens of smaller shallow ones. Lake Sevan is located at 1,900m above sea level in the mountain hollow in the country’s east. Its area is 1,200 km², depth – 83m. The lake is fed by precipitations as well as 28 rivers flowing into it: the out flowing is the river Hrazdan (the Arax inflow). Lake Sevan is extraordinarily picturesque, its turquoise azure waters, pure curative air and the beauty of surroundings attracts a big number of visitors throughout the year.
The Main Lakes:
Lake Sevan – 1,200 km²
Lake Arpi – 22 km²
Lake Akna – 0,53 km²
Lake Sev – 2,0 km²
THERMAL AND MINERAL SPRINGS
There are more than 20,000 natural springs in Armenia. The most popular ones are in Jermuk, Hankavan, Bjni, Dilijan and Arzni. There are countless other thermal and cold water springs, mostly known only to the local villagers. It’s well worth asking, since you may just stumble across a natural treasure. If you find one off the beaten path, relax and soak, while you will be undisturbed, often completely alone in stunning wilderness.
FLORA AND FAUNA
With eight geographic zones, seven climates, nine altitudes, and sixteen soil zones plus over half of all plant species in the Transcaucasia and two-thirds of all bird species found in Europe, Armenia’s small territory is a stunning biotopes region. More varieties of topographies, plants and fauna can be found per square kilometer in Armenia than almost anywhere on earth. The closest competitor for the same type of diversity is the USA, and it requires 100 times the space as Armenia. The relative ease of exploring these often overlapping flora and fauna zones makes Armenia a destination of its own.
Birding and flower watching have already put Armenia on the map, with birders and botanical tourists coming from around the globe.
Trekkers and mountain climbers can explore 85 mountains over a mile high, in diverse ranges that cover and divide the country into microclimates and topographies. Mt. Aragats, Armenia’s tallest mountain can be surmounted in a tight 6 week span from July to mid-August.
For avid spelunkers, the most spectacular images in Armenia are underground, with more than 10,000 caves found throughout the country.
There are so many fun, convenient, and inexpensive ways to explore Armenian nature, by spending time with family and friends outdoors, and trying to explore the hidden treasures of this beautiful country. Our tourists can explore Armenian nature by hiking, trekking, paragliding, balloon riding, ziplining, skiing, and horseback riding their ways across the country, exploring remote regions of Armenia.
Enjoy the beauty of Armenian nature through those adventures and discoveries. Just pick out what you’d like to do and our dedicated team of professionals at Phoenix Tour will help you decide where to start, assisting you at every step on your journey.