The Telegraph on Thursday, November 11 unveiled an article about Armenia and its capital, Yerevan, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. “You know you’re in wine country the moment you arrive at Yerevan airport. You can’t really miss it as there’s a 20ft high inflatable wine bottle parked outside the terminal,” author Frank Gardner says. “A Christian country sandwiched between predominantly Muslim Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan, Armenia likes its alcohol.” They also produce what they say is the best brandy in the world and driving into town the advertisements are everywhere for brandy and cognac, he says. “Yerevan is a delightful capital. Its wide, leafy boulevards are lined with cafés and wine bars where Armenians like to sit chatting late into the night. “Armenians from the large overseas diaspora who visit for the first time are said to be pleasantly surprised by how modern, safe and civilised Yerevan is, and then rudely disappointed to find the suburbs and roadsides littered with the hangover detritus of the failed Soviet economy.”
When you look up to the horizon, Gardner says, there, towering over everything, is the magnificent, awe-inspiring snow-capped peak of Mount Ararat, 5,165 metres high and just across the border in Turkey. “It used to be ours,” lament Armenians.
The author then goes on to recount his visits to several of the most beautiful sites in the world’s first Christian country, including the monastery of Khor Virap, the Hellenic-style temple of Garni and the monastery of Geghard, also giving an insight into his experience during the wine festival in Areni.
The telegraph. Why Armenia might be Europe’s best-kept secret