Early morning in Arabkir District. I'm in Armenia and will be covering this hidden gem for the next several months.

This closeup shows the Cistern fountains at the base level of the Cascade complex in downtown Yerevan.

Mount Ararat towers in the distance with a prominence of nearly 12,000 feet and an elevation of 16,854 feet. It is easy to see why it holds such a prominent place in Armenian culture.

Republic Square is in the heart of Yerevan. Summers in Yerevan are extremely hot, so visit in the evening and sit by the pools to cool off.

Saint Hripsime Church is nearby the Etchmiadzin Holy See and was built in 618 AD. Armenia was the first nation to convert to Christianity, predating even Rome, and has some of the oldest Christian churches in the world. This church is named for Saint Hripsime, who fled from the Roman Emperor Diocletian's court when he made unwelcome advances towards her only to be tortured and killed by King Tiridates III upon reaching Armenia.

If you're visiting Yerevan in the summer you'll experience sweltering heat during the day. No matter how thirsty you get, resist the urge to drink from any of the public water fountains around Yerevan. You will see many locals crowded around drinking from them but they have built up an immunity to the pathogens in the water. The public drinking fountains are not drawing from the municipal water supply but are pumped in untreated from other sources, so don't think you can drink from them even if you have been able to tolerate the tap water because it is not the same. I'm not entirely clear why the drinking fountains aren't using the same tap water supply, but it is something to keep in mind since you are almost guaranteed to contract a giardia infection from them. Don't do it.

Many of the churches at Armenia's monastery sites are still active places of worship.

There are cliffside caves and monastery structures carved into the side of the cliff over the main Geghard Monastery Complex. Look for a trail just before the main entrance to access them. You will probably be the only person up there as these are not very visible from the ground.

The dancing fountains in Republic Square in Yerevan perform every night during warmer months at 9PM.

A fire broke out in the Mount Ararat foothills over the Turkish border. The area is lightly inhabited and the fire burned out after around five hours. The flames were visible from Yerevan and smoke wafted over the city, though there was never any danger of the fire coming near the Turkish-Armenian border.

Today marked the 27th Independence Day of Armenia. In 1991, 99.5% of the Armenian people voted in favor of seceding from the crumbling Soviet Union and finally establishing a sovereign Armenian state. Fireworks kick off in Republic Square in the evening with a spectacular display launched in front of the history museum. This video was shot using a GoPro Hero5 Black positioned along the edge of the Republic Square fountain pool.

View from the top of the Shaki Waterfall in Syunik Province.

This is raw video from the front window of the Wings of Tatev aerial tramway in Armenia. It is the longest reversible aerial tramway built in only one section, and holds the record for Longest non-stop double track cable car.

Khachkars are a form of art unique to Armenia. Newcomers may confuse them for gravestones as they tend to be arrayed outside of churches and monasteries but they are actually religious monuments. Khachkars follow a general design pattern depicting the mortal Earth at the bottom, the Church and Christ in the middle, and Heaven at the top. They are symbolic of acceptance of Christ leading man towards Heaven. Echmiadzin hosts a number of intricately carved examples and you'll find many at monasteries around the country such as Novarank and Sevanavank.