10 Things foreigners love about living in Armenia
Updated: Jun 13, 2019
1. It’s safe
There aren’t many countries where you can leave your phone in a taxi and get it back; where you can walk down the street at midnight without fear; or where you can lose your kid in a crowd and know with 99% certainty that someone will make sure it doesn’t walk onto the road. But Armenia is that kind of country. Also: a political revolution took place in April 2018 with no violence at all.
2. It has history
Armenia has thousands of years of recorded history and you can see it everywhere: ancient texts, medieval monasteries, 5,000 year old shoes, remnants from the Silk Road and the Urartu Empire, and much more.
3. Cultural crossroads
While the Armenian population is fairly homogeneous, it has strong cultural influences from the east and the west. Older women dress like American housewives from the fifties; men look like Russian mobsters, and girls look like European hipsters, or the Kardashians. The food is also diverse: eastern humus and falafel; Russian salads; and Caucasian fresh herbs and roasted meat.
Don’t worry about your kids when you’re in Armenia—Armenians love kids. Girls croon over babies; adolescent boys carry strollers up the stairs without even having to ask; elderly people give them food and candy; and waiters in restaurant take them for a stroll while you eat.
5. It’s cheap
Living in Armenia is cheap, especially if you don’t buy a lot of imported goods. Fresh produce, restaurants, kid entertainment, hotels, skiing—it’s all eminently affordable. If you have 10 bucks in your wallet you have enough to get through the day; buy food, drinks, and take a taxi home.
Armenians aren’t just nice—they’re also very helpful. Armenians do whatever they can to make sure you got what you need and they don’t expect much in return (tips aren’t really a thing here). That also means it’s super easy to hire quality domestic staff and to have everything you could possibly need delivered to your doorstep.
When you live in Yerevan, you have a gorgeous view of Mount Ararat from just about anywhere (provided it’s not cloudy or foggy) and there’s a lot of natural beauty in general, from rolling hills and picturesque farmland to snowy mountains and giant lakes. And since Armenia is relatively small, you can see and experience it all in a matter of days.
Perhaps not everyone would agree, but a lot of people think Yerevan--especially since the 2018 revolution--has a great vibe that I would describe as relaxed, old-school, and still dynamic. People are friendly in a way I imagine people elsewhere used to be, before they became too busy being capitalists. In some neighborhoods, and when it's warm, Yerevan feels like Paris because it has lots of outdoor cafes, interesting fountains and trendy wine shops. In other neighborhoods Armenia’s soviet past takes the upper hand, with dilapidated buildings, abandoned factories and above-ground gas pipes everywhere.
9. It’s “undiscovered”
Few people know much about Armenia, which I think is a benefit. It’s lots of fun to live in a place that has so much to offer that nobody knows about, like good wines (since about five years ago) and great skiing (Olympians used to train in Tsagkadzor). Everything is a surprise and it’s not overrun by tourists, so it feels relaxed and authentic.
10. My two cents: no rules & lots of sun
I’m sure not everyone agrees, but I also like the fact that there aren't many rules in Armenia. It’s a big free-for-all when it comes to things like driving, smoking in public places, building houses, and dumping trash. It has bad sides to it (I’m not a fan of trash everywhere) but it’s very refreshing if you come from a city where everything is regulated and people are total sticklers about the rules.
Also, I love the weather here. In a “normal” year the summer is long and warm while the winter is mild (albeit a bit dreary). In the higher parts of the country, the winter brings snow and there are two ski resorts. Spring is announced by blossoming fruit trees. Summer is perfect for camping and dinning alfresco. And fall is everybody’s favorite season because it’s warm and beautiful.
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