One of the brightest sites of Yerevan is its churches. Tanking into account that Armenia was the first country which declared Christianity as the state religion, the attention to the ancient religious buildings in the city increases. The architecture of the Caucasian churches and cathedrals is significantly different from European and Russian ones.
Practically all churches of Yerevan were destroyed during the great earthquake of 1679, and mostly began to recover in 1693. That is why there are very few churches in Yerevan, representing the samples of early Christianity in Armenia. In addition, part of the churches was destroyed during the Soviet period and the rest were converted into warehouses or cultural institutions. The great loss for the city's architecture was the destruction of the Church of St. Peter and Paul, which was built in V century and destructed in 1931.
One of the oldest churches is the church of St. Zoravor, located in the old part of Yerevan. It was reconstructed in 1693 and took its bright appearance due to the red stone, which was used in the construction. But at the same time it distinguishes with its severity. Great restoration in the second half of the XX century completely changed its appearance.
Another ancient church in Yerevan is the Church of Surb Gevorg (St. George), which is also located in the old part of the town. Throughout its history it was one of the most visited, and even had the name of "Big Fortress Church."
Among the out-of-town churches the most notable churches are Zvartnots Cathedral and Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Zvartnots Cathedral, built in the VII century, was destroyed by an earthquake of the X century but its ruins preserved and now are protected by UNESCO. Excavations of ruins revealed all the beauty of the ruined church to the world. Its walls and pillars were decorated with carvings and the remains of the altar state about the rich interior decoration of Zvartnots church. Now, one of the two airports in Yerevan is named after this church.
Echmiadzin Cathedral, located in 20 kilometers from Yerevan, is the main cathedral of all Armenians. It's not just a church, but the real complex. Here you will find such relics of the Christian world as: the part of the Noah's Ark, Gegard the spear (pierced Christ) and the right hand of St. Gregory the Illuminator. According to the traditions of the Armenian Apostolic Church every Armenian must visit the church at least once in a lifetime. Echmiadzin also is one of the oldest monuments of Christian culture: the first religious buildings appeared here in the II century, and the main cathedral was built in 303 AD. Also the complex includes several churches, built in VII and XVII centuries.
Yerevan and its outskirts is a real treasure for believers, despite of the fact that the Armenian Church does not belong to the Catholic or Orthodox churches. During its long history Armenian cathedrals and churches many times suffered from devastating earthquakes and invasions of destroyers of churches. But they survived and became the country's heritage.