A good way to trace through the history of Armenia, the Armenia Heritage Trail is a suggested itinerary of places which takes you on an approximate chronological tour of the long and rich history of Armenia. The route starts near Yerevan, heads almost straight up to the northern border, then loops back to Yerevan from the east.
Khor Virap - Monastery at the foot of Biblical Mt. Ararat, where St. Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned in a deep pit until he converted the Armenian King and thus nation to the first Christian country in the world.
Dvin - Ruined capital of Armenia.
Echmiadzin (3 main churches) - Seat of the Catholicos (Patriarch) of the Armenian Church.
Oshakan - Church where Mesrop Mashtots, inventor of the Armenian Alphabet in 405 AD, is buried.
Ashtarak churches - The town of Ashtarak has some very old churches, including Karmravor, Marianne, one more rebuilt church, two in ruins and an old bridge.
Hovhannavank/Saghmosavank - Two very fine monasteries perched on the edge of the cliffs of the Kasagh Gorge, within distant view of one another.
Kasagh Basilica - Ancient black basilica in the town of Aparan.
Odzun - An advanced seventh century basilica in the village of Odzun.
Haghpat/Sanahin - Two extensive UNESCO World Heritage Site monasteries in villages overlooking the Debed canyon.
Kobayr/Akhtala - Two beautiful monasteries with great frescoes showing a heavy Georgian influence due to the intertwined rulers at the time.
Mikoyan Museum - A museum honoring two brothers born in the village of Sanahin, one of whom invented the MiG fighter jet and the other served as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in the 1960s.
Ijevan - Small museum dedicated to the coming of Soviet rule to Armenia. Also has nice traditional town architecture.
Dilijan (lay architecture - pre-soviet and soviet) - Nice traditional town architecture.
Dilijan (Sanatoriums, cinematographers house, other Soviet architecture) - Also home to many huge Soviet sanatoriums, some are pretty cool 70s (cinematographers house), some massive classical (Lernayin Hayastan resthouse).
Republic Square/Yerevan Opera House - Yerevan was the focus of the Soviet building effort in Armenia, and Republic Square is a massive square with huge buildings full of columns, carvings and nice stone. The Opera House, from the very early Soviet period predates the real Soviet style of architecture.