Armenian souvenirs often reflect the culture, history, and philosophy of the country. There is a broad range of goods and a variety of gifts to choose from to suit every taste. Here are some of the most unique items to bring home for friends, family, and yourself.
Armenians are proud of their cognac, and it’s the number one item to bring home for someone who enjoys brandy. If the weight of your luggage is an issue, don’t worry! There are small bottles available, as well, and they’re much cheaper.
For those who prefer to purchase souvenirs that can be used in daily life, Armenian jewelry might be a great choice. The traditional jewelry features Armenian symbols, which makes them the perfect item to remember your time in the country and to highlight your individuality. Moreover, the jewelry makes for a great gift. It can be pricey, but there is a range available, so you’re likely to find something to suit your pocket and your taste.
Pomegranate is a symbol of Armenian culture, and, therefore, souvenir stalls are filled with pomegranate gifts. You can buy a piece of décor for a shelf or desk, a fridge magnet, necklaces with real dried pomegranate, or plates with the shape of the fruit cut in half or with a simple drawing. The possibilities are endless.
Tigran the Great was the Armenian king who managed to make the country the strongest nation in the Roman East during his reign in 95-55 BC. He expanded the territory beyond its traditional boundaries and earned the title of Great King among the locals. Thus, the souvenir is a symbol of Armenian power that history buffs are sure to enjoy.
In addition to the cognac, Armenian’s are proud of Mount Ararat, an inert volcano peak in the far east of Turkey with two main cones: Little Ararat, which is 12,782 feet (3,896 meters), and Greater Ararat, which is the highest peak in Turkey at 16,945 feet (5,165 meters). Mount Ararat is a point of national pride because the Mountains of Ararat are mentioned in the Book of Genesis as the final resting place of Noah’s Ark after the flood. Scholars have yet to prove that these mountains are exactly the ones alluded to, but many Christians believe it to be so.
Carpets are another important item of Armenian culture and come in various shapes, colors, and sizes. Tourists should note that they tend to be quite heavy and could take up considerable room in your luggage, but they are worth it. The best place to buy carpets is at Vernissage Market on the weekends, where you might even stumble on small ones, too. Antique carpet shops are also great places to look, if you happen to be in Yerevan during the week.
Armenia is famous for its plums, apricots, and peaches, and tourists are likely to want to bring some home after trying them. Buying the fruits dried is the best option. Drying fruits is a common tradition here, and almost every family makes and stores them to have for a snack or to use as a key ingredient in their cooking. Although they’re delicious plain, be sure to also try the chocolate-dipped fruits. They’re finger-licking good.
Fruit leather is a unique souvenir in the Caucasus region. They’re great for a snack or an instant energy boost, and they’re easy to pack. The leather is made from different dried fruits and can be sweet or sour.
Armenia is famous for producing fruit wine along with typical wine made from grapes. The most popular among foreigners is the pomegranate wine, but travelers can also buy raspberry, blackberry, or cherry wines to bring home and surprise everyone.
Also known as an Armenian cross-stone, a Kachkar is a carved stele that bears a cross and additional motifs, such as interlaces, rosettes, and botanicals. The stone is a great example of Medieval Christian Armenian art. In 2010, Kachkars were added UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. They make a great gift for anyone who likes history and art.