Mary is the founder of Bambinos Without Borders, a family travel blog dedicated to encouraging parents to travel with their kids in order to educate them about global tolerance and citizenship. She currently lives with her family in Bogota, Colombia.
Visit Mary’s Website – Bambinos Without Borders
The most common response I receive when I tell someone I lived in Armenia is “where the heck is that??” I get it. In all honesty, I didn’t know where it was when we first found out we were moving there. So, to answer your very logical question, Armenia is smooshed between Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Georgia in Western Asia. The one thing you have to understand about this small landlocked country is just how old its culture is. It holds roots to the time of Noah and his ark and was the archaeological site where the oldest shoe was found. The capital city of Yerevan just celebrated its 2,800th birthday! It’s a place as interesting to the historian as to the archaeologist, the economist, the artist, the theologist or the philosopher.
The next question I always get is “is it safe??”
My answer is always and emphatically: YES! In all honesty, I’m not sure we could have found a safer or more kid-friendly place to move as our first overseas experience. With nearly no crime to speak of, the biggest danger you may face in Armenia is perhaps overeating? (I have a great post on traditional Armenian khorovats barbeque here) With a low cost of living, it’s very affordable to travel around Armenia and soak up it’s incredible history and culture.
What makes Armenia so family friendly?
It’s also important to know before you go that Armenians absolutely adore children. It’s not uncommon to find restaurants with playgrounds inside. Don’t be surprised if you get pulled to the front of the line in the airport, have someone scoop up your baby to give them hugs and kisses, or give them candy in the street. It just happens.
Great things to do with the kids:
- Take a walk through Victory Park to get an up-close view of the Mother Armenia statue and Soviet-era machinery.
- Climb the Cascade. To get the best view of the city, and tire them out, climb to the top of the Cascade. There are tons of restaurants and cafes to greet you when you come back down to the bottom.
- Watch the fountain and lights show in Republic Square after dark.
- If you visit in the summer, make sure to check out the Vardavar water festival! It’s the only day of the year that playing in Yerevan’s many fountains is acceptable. If you brave the streets, prepare to get wet! No one is safe!
- Older children will love the stories of Gregory the Illuminator at the Khor Virap monastery or Etchmiadzin. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity, which is why you’ll find plenty of antique churches to explore!
Experiencing Armenia with my children wasn’t on my list of long-term plans but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. Armenia is a small country with a big personality. Tourism is small but steadily growing, making Armenia a perfect undiscovered family destination.