To describe where Armenia is, we could say that it’s on the easternmost edge of Europe, bordering the Middle East. It only borders 2 partly European countries, which are Turkey to the west and Georgia to the north, which in some respects are European while in others they’re considered part of Asia.
Geographically, the Caucasus mountain range is generally considered a natural border between Asia and Europe, placing Georgia and Armenia firmly on the Asian side.
Learn more about Armenia’s mixed European and Asian location, culture and heritage, plus some top things to see and do on your visit, in our guide below!
- 1 Where Is Armenia Located, in Asia or Europe?
- 2 The Historical Significance of Armenia’s Location
- 3 Where Is Armenia and Where Is Albania?
- 4 What Is the Geography of Armenia Like?
- 5 Is Armenia in the European Union?
- 6 Where Is Yerevan, Armenia?
- 7 Where Is Gyumri, Armenia?
- 8 Beyond the Main Cities in Armenia: Culture & Tradition
- 9 Escaping Armenia’s Major Cities to Explore Nature
Where Is Armenia Located, in Asia or Europe?
It may seem strange, but there is no straightforward answer to this question. We could approach it geographically, politically and culturally with different or unclear results each time.
- Geographically – Armenia borders Azerbaijan and Iran to the east and south, and Turkey and Georgia to the west and north, placing it exactly between Europe and Asia. As mentioned, if we use the Caucasian mountain range as a reference, then it would be located in Asia. However, even the borders between Asia and Europe are widely contested.
- Politically – Although historically it has been ruled by several Asian civilizations, today Armenia is part of Europe.
- Culturally – Looking at the country from this perspective, we find ourselves in a grey zone once again. From cuisine to music, architecture and customs, Armenia has a lot of influence from both Europe and Asia.
So if we’re looking for a definitive answer to whether Armenia is in Europe or Asia, it’s probably best to say that it’s in Eurasia.
The Historical Significance of Armenia’s Location
The rich and diverse history of the country dates back to at least 1,200 BC. Its location at the gateway between Asia and Europe made it a strategically important territory and one of the main trade routes between the continents. Over the centuries, it has been ruled by many civilizations both from the East and the West, including Assyrians, Persians, Romans and Ottomans.
In 1922 it was annexed to Azerbaijan and Georgia, forming the Transcaucasian Soviet Socialist Republic, which was taken over by the USSR. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia was finally able to declare independence. Sadly, peace didn’t last long as the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute turned ugly shortly afterwards.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been in conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory since the 1980s. Although there has been a ceasefire in place since 1994, it’s still unclear who owns this piece of land.
Where Is Armenia and Where Is Albania?
Although they are entirely different countries, people often confuse them so let’s clear things up.
They are both countries in Eastern Europe; however, Albania is located between Montenegro and Greece, facing the Adriatic Sea, while Armenia is on the other side of Turkey bordering the Middle East.
Strangely enough, the 2 countries are very similar in size; nonetheless, they are very different from almost every other point of view.
What Is the Geography of Armenia Like?
Armenia is a landlocked country dominated by mountains. In fact, it has no lowlands and the average elevation is 1,800 metres. The tallest peak is Mount Aragats at just over 4,000 metres. The mountainous terrain makes for some dramatic scenery with deep river valleys surrounded by rugged cliffs.
Although it’s mostly mountainous, you can enjoy a wide variety of landscapes, from deserts to forests. In the east, we find Lake Sevan, the largest lake in the country, located in a beautiful plateau surrounded by tall peaks. As this country’s landlocked, this lake replaces the sea and many Armenians choose to spend their summer vacations here.
Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to marvel at the lava plateaus and the many dormant volcanoes. In fact, you will notice that the black volcanic rock is often present in the architecture throughout the country.
Is Armenia in the European Union?
Armenia is not currently part of the European Union. In 2017, the country signed the CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) with the EU with the aim to collaborate politically and economically, as well as forming strong trade ties.
Armenia, along with Georgia, was expected to join the EU in the near future. However, they recently signed another agreement, the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union), a trade alliance with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. This new agreement reinforces their alliance with Russia rather than with the EU, which means joining the EU is off the table for now.
Where Is Yerevan, Armenia?
Yerevan is the capital and largest city with a population of over 1 million. It’s located near the Turkish border at about 1 hour’s drive from Lake Sevan.
The capital’s unique architecture is a fusion of old and new, with modern skyrise buildings next to old traditional dwellings. This reflects Yerevan’s fusion of tradition and innovation, side by side.
Top attractions include:
- Cascade Complex – This vast construction leads from the city to Victory Park through a series of staircases. If you don’t fancy the stairs, you can take an escalator inside the ‘Cascade’. At each level, you will find different artwork both inside and outside.
- Freedom Square – In many ways, it’s the heart and soul of the city. This large square is dominated by the Opera House and decorated with statues of important Armenian figures.
- Republic Square – This is a must for any visitor to Yerevan. Here you will find the History Museum, National Gallery and government buildings. The centre stage is taken up by the large fountain which turns into a music and light show after dark.
Where Is Gyumri, Armenia?
Picturesque Gyumri is located in the province of Shirak, north of Yerevan, and it’s the second-largest city in the country. Top attractions include:
- Vardanants Square – A meeting point for locals and tourists alike, it’s home to some of the most famous landmarks of the city. Around the square, you will find the Church of Surb Amenaprkich and government buildings made from black volcanic rock with contrasting peach-coloured details.
- Kumayri Historic District – Dive back in time in this area packed with historical buildings and old cobble streets. It’s one of the best places in the country to see Armenian architecture and to get a sense of what the city was like when it was still called Alexandrapol.
- Old Alexandrapol Brewery – One of the most loved attractions of the city, this old brewery dates back to the late 1800s. The magnificent building was damaged in a 1980s earthquake and, during the reconstruction, they discovered an old chapel which is open to visitors today.
Beyond the Main Cities in Armenia: Culture & Tradition
The country has one of the oldest histories in Europe and it’s rich in ancient monuments and landmarks. It’s also considered to be the first country in the world to make Christianity its official religion, so faith and religious sites are an important part of its heritage.
Armenians are characterised by their strong family bonds and a warm and open attitude. They love to welcome people into their homes and, like other Caucasus people, they will often offer you delicious food.
Traditional arts and crafts are a matter of pride across the country and each region has its own speciality and variations. From carpet weaving to woodwork and pottery, you will find plenty of authentic souvenirs to take home with you.
Escaping Armenia’s Major Cities to Explore Nature
Armenia’s natural landscapes aren’t to be missed. The country boasts pretty lakes, hundreds of hot springs, several vast forests as well as deep caves and stunning peaks.
Although technically located in Turkey, the impressive Mount Ararat is a national symbol as its 2 snow-capped peaks dominate the landscape in the south. Mount Ararat is also believed to be the mountain where Noah’s Ark landed after the flood.
If you enjoy hiking, along with the country’s major mountains, you should also explore the region of Tavush where you can enjoy unspoilt scenery, endless valleys and vast forests.
After all the hiking and exploring, it’s time to relax! Head to the spa town of Jermuk and spend a couple of days in its rejuvenating hot springs, rich in natural minerals.
By now, you’re probably thinking of all the things you can see and enjoy on your trip to this fascinating country. Before you go, apply for your Armenia travel visa on our dedicated page. Have a wonderful visit!