Etchmiadzin Cathedral is situated in the spiritual center of Armenian, the town of Etchmiadzin. It is the residence of Catholicos of All Armenians (the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church). The cathedral was founded in the IV century in the place of a pre-existing pagan temple, symbolizing the conversion from paganism to Christianity. The legend has it that the first Catholikos Gregory the Illuminator had a vision of Jesus Christ descending from heaven and striking the earth with a golden hammer to show where the cathedral should be built. Hence, the patriarch gave the church the name of Etchmiadzin which is translated as "the Descent of the Only-begotten.” Nowadays, it is one of the most visited places in Armenia; in 2000, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The territory of the Echmiadzin monastery complex, including the cathedral, can be visited freely, without any difficulties. It is impossible only to visit the treasury museum of Echmiadzin.