From immemorial times wine has been symbolic for Armenians and now it is the ornament of Armenian tables. Praise to wine which helps us to come back to the roots of mankind and reclaim the wisdom of our grandfathers. Armenia can easily be called the homeland of wine. Armenian wine has over 3000 year old history. There are many stories and legends about the origination of wine in the world. We find the oldest and the most realistic one in the Bible according to which upon the end of the flood forefather Noah landed on the Biblical Mount Ararat and planted the first grapevine on its foothill.
The village of Areni (1730 p, formerly called Arpa) is famous for its wine, much of which is produced in Getap further down the road. Visible to the right of the main road is the Holy Astvatsatsin (Mother of God) church of 1321, built during the tenure of Abbot Hovhannes. The architecture as well as the carvings are the work of Momik, and there are interesting tombstones outside. To reach the church, turn S into the village, cross the bridge, and turn left on a clear road up to the church.
Viticulture and wine-making traditions have been preserved and reached to our days. Today Armenian viticulturists grow more than 200 sorts of vine, the most of which are of Armenian origin such as kishmish, muskat, haghtanak. This sorts are used to make sweet, semi-sweet and dry wines. Armenian wine has its own place among the wines of the world due to the high content of sugar in the Armenian sorts of grapes, which contributes to getting more stiff and semi-sweet wines.
There are ruins of the medieval mansion of Tarsayich Orbelian in the valley and, reportedly, remains of a cyclopean fort SE of the village on the edge of gorge and a 13th c. bridge on the Arpa r. built by Bishop Sargis (1265-1287); further along the gorge toward Arpi, on a hill on the S rim of the gorge, is the ruined 13th c. fort of Ertij. In Areni was found in 1981 an altar with a Greek inscription of AD 163 dedicating it to the Olympian Goddess on behalf of a Roman officer, Aemilius Ovalis, of the 15th Legion Apollinaris.