Taking souvenirs home
By law, exporting any work of art which is more than 50 years old from Armenia requires approval from the government's Department of Cultural Heritage Preservation at 51 Komitas Avenue, third and fourth floors. For those without linguistic skills, it is advisable to get the dealer to sort it out. You need to take the item, together with two photographs, to the third floor - the Department of Expertise - and pay AMD2,000. You then go to the fourth floor - the permit department - with the photographs and the papers issued on the third floor. You pay a further sum which depends on the valuation of the expertise department. For an item valued up to AMD250,000 you pay AMD5,700; for one valued up to AMD500,000, you pay AMD15,700, etc. Generally the permit is then issued on the spot. However, if the item is considered to be of national importance museums and art galleries have a month to exercise the option to buy it. If none want it an export permit will be issued. This procedure is not required for items less than 50 years old, but the date, name of the author and his/her signature should be appended.
This may be rigorously enforced in the case of paintings (sometimes even those painted last week by an unknown artist and bought at Vernissage) and handmade carpets, but often less so in the case of other items such as carvings or embroideries. In the past, there were reports of customs officers at the airport citing rules written and unwritten and refusing to allow the export of paintings in particular, despite the purchaser having the correct paperwork. Bribery was reported to work in these cases.
If you have any questions about travel to Armenia (visa, hotels, guide services, transportation), please feel free to contact us at any time and we will gladly answer your questions.