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About Armenia

 


Armenia is one of the most ancient countries of the world. Being ancient and mystery country Armenia walking along with the modern era. Armenia is mountainous country in the South Caucasus which became the world's first Christian country more than 1,700 years ago in 301 AD. It is bordered by four countries: Georgia, Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan. Armenia has its own original and priceless alphabet invented by great Mesrob Mashtos in 406 AD. If the other nations would like to know and to explore the real mystery of this unique country they should know about Armenian Apostolic Church, which is the world's oldest national church.
 
Armenia is specific with its ancient and rich culture. It is also popular with its hospitable people. Armenians are always glad to meet tourists from different countries of the world. On a trip to this mystery and unforgettable country tourists know not so much about Armenia. However, it is important to know that Armenia is the only country remaining from 3000 year old maps of Anatolia. 

Armenia is rich with the historical monasteries like Tatev, Noravank, Haghartsin, Haghpat, Geghard and others. Republic of Armenia is also the country of politics and democracy. Since 2001 Armenia became a member of the Council of Europe. In 2011, Armenia started to negotiate with the European Union, because  this is the political and perspective key in its foreign policy.

The capital city of Armenia is Yerevan which is the largest city of Republic of Armenia. Yerevan is the 12th capital city of historic Armenia. As well Yerevan is one of the oldest inhabited cities of the world. In 1924 the government approved the new plan of the city. One of the greatest Armenian architects Alexander Tamanyan had a plan to change the look of Yerevan. According to his architectural plan the city should have a new and special look. Modern and ethnic at the same time. The city has started to develop very rapidly. Yerevan has an irreplaceable importance in the industrial, cultural, and scientific spheres in the whole  region.  It is also at the heart of an extensive rail network and is a major trading centre for agricultural products. 

In 2011 the population of Yerevan was 1,121,900 people making up to 34% of the total population of Armenia. The modern life in nowadays Yerevan is quite dynamic. Yerevan is cultural centre and attracts  many tourists with its historical values and modern life. Yerevan is one of the fewest cities in the world where people can easily walk and ramble alone or with their families without having any danger in the streets. In Yerevan there are many historical museums, cultural and historical monuments, art galleries, cultural houses, cinemas, beautiful hotels, cafes, restaurants and many other beautiful places. 

The life in Yerevan is more active especially in summer time. The tourists have an impression that the central Yerevan feel like a big café in the open air. Yerevan nights are very beautiful and full of interesting entertainments. In Yerevan people have a modern mentality and are very active in the social life of the city. 

Yerevan attracts many visitors from different countries of the whole world because it is one of a few modern cities in the world which  has 2790 years old. And despite of its age Yerevan is modern city. It walks in harmony with the worldwide standards of the modern life.
Armenian geography: where is Armenia?   

Being located in the southern Caucasus, Republic of Armenia, with its capital city Yerevan covers an area of 29,743 square kilometers. It is bounded by Iran on the south, by Georgia on the north, Turkey on the west and Azerbaijan on the east. It is hard to make geographical description of Armenia without talking about Mount Ararat, which has the Biblical mission. The Mount Ararat is the highest mountain in the region. According to the Bible Noah's Ark was landing on the Mount Ararat and survived from the Flood. 

During the First Word War the government of Turkey developed a massacre plan against the Armenian population lived on its own territory for more than 3.000 years. On April 24th 1915 hundreds of Armenian leaders were murdered in Istanbul after being summoned and gathered. More than 1.5 million innocent people died. And Western Armenia subjugated by Turkey. Unfortunately, now the Mount Ararat is occupied  by Turkey, however it is still symbolizing Armenian history and Armenian culture.

Other highest mountains in Armenia are: Aragats, Kaputdzhukh, Adzhaak, Spitakasar, Vardenis  and other mountains. One of the most beautiful and amazing treasures of Armenia is Lake Sevan, which attract many visitors. It provides an amazing look in the mountains, like a reflection of the blue sky on the earth. The majority of rivers in Armenia are the inflows of the river Araks. The rivers Debed, Agstev and Akhum are the right inflows of the Kura running into the Caspian Sea. And some Armenian rivers belong to Lake Sevan basin. Armenia is home to regionally endemic, rare and relict species of plants. And in Armenia there are many beautiful forests. Healthy forests in Armenia bring benefits in protecting against global warming and climate related problems not just in Armenia but throughout the world. 

History of Armenia  
Many scientists approve that Armenians are one of the most ancient peoples in the world. According to the ancient tradition, the name of Armenia is connected with the name of legendary forefather Hayk. The history of this mystery country extends for over 3.000 years and connected with the biblical mountains of Ararat. When Noah's Ark was landing on the Mount Ararat, the life is started on the earth again. By the chronological view, Armenian history is divided into several historical periods by the following principles:

• Ancient period - ancient times until the fall of the Kingdom of Van
• Middle Ages - declaring Christianity as the state religion until the middle of the XVII century
• Modern Armenia or new period - Armenia is the first, second and third Republics, as well as  the history of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, reaching up to our days

Ancient period 
The ancient stone circle of Armenian primitive society started about 2 million years ago and ended about 100 thousand years ago. Armenian mountains were very rich with the old stone monuments which included the culture of historical different phases. The ancient kingdom which was very strong in that time in the historical territory of Armenia was the kingdom of Urartu, with its capital city of Van. The kingdom of Urartu reached its peak strength of the b.c  in the 9th century at the end of 8th century during the reign of kings Menua and Argishti. Other historical kingdoms were also the kingdom of Ervandunis, kingdom of Artashesyan, kingdom of Arshakunis and others. The historical works of the Armenian historians are the primary sources for the study of history of Armenia and neighbor countries. Armenian famous historians are Mesrop Mashtots, Koryun, Agatanghegos, Movses Korenatsi, Eghishe, Ghevond, Ghazar Parpetsi and others. 

Middle Ages 
In the middle ages Armenian kingdom was ruled by the Bagratuni dynasty. During the reign of this Kingdom, several areas of Armenia separated as principalities such as the Kingdom of Vaspurakan, Kingdom of Artsruni, Kingdom of Syunik, Kingdom of Artsakh on the  area of nowadays Nagorno Karabakh and others. One of the powerful Kingdoms of the Middle Ages was Kingdom of Cilicia. The role and historical meaning of Cilicia is priceless. It transferred of the seat of the Catholicons of the Armenian Apostolic Church. In the Middle Ages Armenian culture and art largely raised in the region. Despite of the chaos of war Armenian painters, musicians, historians shaped permanent historical and cultural values for the future generations.

Modern Armenia or new period 
Armenian people lived in the power of time, subjected to the different trials, endure for centuries and has reached to the XXI century. However, many other nations living in the vicinity regions of Armenia which founded great empires have not withstood the trials of history. Those nations forever disappeared from the international history losing their country and national values. 

With the value of great hardship Armenia sacrificed its independence and liberated Nagorno Karabakh, which is the one of 15 provinces of historical Armenia. After the revolution in Russia in 1917, according to the Stalin's policy Nagorno Karabakh was attached to Azerbaijan Soviet Republic. And Nagorno Karabakh became a part of the Soviet Union. Karabakh is the modern manifestation of a centuries-old struggle of Armenians. This region is mostly mountainous and forested. It is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus. In 1988 the Armenian people in Nagorno Karabakh officially demanded reunification with Armenia. This war was a real struggle for Armenian people. Armenia and Karabakh had to struggle to unite and in 1991 the population of Karabakh held a democratic referendum and declared independence. As Armenians were protected their country, the whole population oh Karabakh was engaged in the military activities and defense actions. Armenians and Karabakh Armenians were united power and they overcame the difficulties of the war. Although there was a significant difference in the number of military resources and solders, Armenians won the war. As for territorial ownership of Nagorno-Karabakh, today it is still heavily contested between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Nagorno Karabakh is called Artsakh by Armenians. In Artsakh the Army was officially established on 9 May 1992 as a defense against Azerbaijan. Now Artsakh is a de facto independent state, calling itself the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. It uses the same currency as in Armenia.

Armenian culture and art were so rich and its national consciousness was so powerful that in extremely hard periods Armenia not only survived, but also restored its political independence and took a worthy place in the up to day life. So far, it is noteworthy that the liberation struggle has been the solid symbol of Armenian history. And Armenian culture is full of liberation struggles. Nowadays Armenia is a modern country which walks in harmony with the worldwide standards of the up to date life. 

Population of Armenia 
Howadays population of Armenia is about 3.5 million people. Armenians are unique nation originating in the Caucasus. Armenian ethnic group is  formed in the Armenian Highlands. Armenia is special with its Diaspora because it is larger than the population of Armenia. Its worldwide totals more than 10 million. The most part of the population is ethnic Armenians and only 4-7% of the population is represented by Russians, Yesdis, Greeks, Udz, Assyrinas, Molokons and Gypies. The population of Armenia call themselves “Hay”. And the name of Armenia traditionally derived from the name Armenak. 

Armenian Language
Armenian language belongs to the separate group of Indo-European group  languages. It is very beautiful and original language used by the 7-9 million people in the Republic of Armenia and the world-wide Armenian Diaspora. The alphabet of Armenians was invented by Mesrop Mashtots, who was the educator in the 4th century. Before Armenian alphabet, Armenians had been written with special scripts. The first scientific work which was translated to Armenian was the Bible. With its 39 letters, this unique language is one of the richest in the entire world. The Armenian alphabet composed of 7 vowels and 32 consonants. Now we are distinguishing two standard forms or branches of Armenian: Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian. Eastern Armenian is mainly spoken in Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Georgia, Iran and other countries. As for Western Armenian, which  is accepted by the people living abroad: especially by the Armenian Diaspora living in the Asia Minor, Europe and USA. Armenian includes also numerous words from the other languages, especially Iranian, Turkish, Arabic and Caucasian words.
 
Armenian alphabet has a long history. Particularly, in 2005 Armenians celebrated the 1600th jubilee anniversary of Armenian alphabet. Speaking about Armenia, Armenians are very proud to mention that Armenian alphabet is one of the most ancient in the world. It is valuable that for all this time in the political changes and historical difficulties it has not undergone any essential changes. 

Armenian Culture
The uniqueness of Armenia, as an ancient and mystery country, reflected also in the culture. The ancient Christian heritage amplifies the originality of Armenia. Armenia is rich with its cultural treasures which reveal centuries-old cultural features of the country. Being located between the East and the West, Armenia  was the place of collisions between great empires of antiquity and the Middle Ages. During these historical intrigues Armenian culture adapted some changes and the national culture of Armenia acquired some features characteristic to both eastern and western civilizations and uniqueness. Armenian culture includes so many ethnic elements which are quite typical for Armenia and tell more about Armenia. On the development process of the cultural way the greatest role was played by the Urartu and Cilicia cultures. The major and valuable event in the development of culture became the creation of Armenian alphabet. Architecture, as a very interesting and important art form of Armenian culture, occupies a unique and original place in Armenia. Armenia had great architects in every time of history. Armenia has deep traditions of architecture which is reflected in the architecture of churches, monasteries, etc. So on the territory of modern Armenia there are about 14 000 state-protected monuments which include  ancient altars and tombs, soul and spirit of ancient times.
  
There are also lots of castles, palaces, caravanserais across Armenia. And it is not casual, that Armenia is referred to as ''the open-air museum''. One the greatest elements and originality of Armenian architecture is ''khachkar''. Khachkar is a typical symbol of the Armenian entire culture. It has historical great value for Armenians. This is an art based on the ancient traditions of Armenian people. One of the biggest cemetery with  this ancient great symbols is the settlement of Noraduz which is dated in te 8th century. Armenian architectural high-art works testify to a high professional skill of its architects, sculptors and artists. Their architectural works and figures are national traditions which evolved through the centuries. Armenian architecture as on of the ancient in the entire world were passed on from generation to generation and include age-old mythology. In Armenia there are many museums: The State History Museum, the Museum of History of the city of Yerevan, the State Picture Gallery, the Modern Art Museum, Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts Matendaran and many others are located in Yerevan. So more than 40 fine arts museums and galleries. The city of Sardarbad has the Museum of Ethnography.
 
Armenian music is one of the important parts of Armenian natural culture. It is like no other because it is very unique. Armenian composers created exquisite different compositions for centuries. Armenian music has special melodic pattern and rich national sounding. At the ancient times lots of songs were created by the people which were developed and passed from generation to generation. The greatest phenomenon of the world music were the art of Komitas and Aram Khachatryan. Aram Khachatryan has created the first national ballet ''Gayane''. He was writed also different symphonies, instrumental concertos, etc. Talking about Armenia and Armenian music it is impossible don’t mention Armenian duduk- one of the oldest instruments in the world. It dates back approximately 3 000 years. One of the great duduk players in the world is Armenian musician Djivan Gasparyan.

Nature of Armenia
Despite of its small size Armenian nature is quite rich. Armenia is very original with its flora and the animal world. Here are growing more then 3200 varieties of vegetation and there are approximately 12 000 types of different animals. In Armenian land the natural world reflects in the features of the region. Also the nature played a major role in the history of Armenian people. Armenia is also unique with its water resources. There are more than 100 lakes in Armenia. But the largest one is amazing Lake of Sevan. Lake of Sevan is very beautiful especially in sunny days. It attracts tourists with its amazing turquoise color. Sevan is a freshwater lake and is know with the fish ''ishkhan''. In Armenia there are many forests which cover about 13% of the country's territory. What about Armenian animal world – this is real treasure. In Armenia there are 349 species of birds. So this territory is home to 18 orders and 58 families. The interesting animal kingdom of Armenia includes rare species of animals: boar, Syrian bear, lynx, moufflon, bezoar goat, robin, warbler, horned lark, etc.  

Climate
In the territory of Armenia the climate is very different and special. At the same time Armenia has cold winters and very hot summers. Depending on the area and the region snow can be on the ground up to 5-7 months. So the climate features and weather conditions are influenced by the geographical diversity of Armenia. The area of Armenia is characterized by the mountain tundra climate and dry continental climate. Armenia is beautiful in any seasons. Summers are very dry and hot. Temperature can vary up to 45°C.  Springs are short  in Armenia. The most beautiful and charming weather time in Armenia is autumn. Many tourists visit Armenia especially in this time of year.  Autumn brings vivid colors and good mood to the Yerevan and other cities. In this time of year the capital city Yerevan is a colorful and joyful city. Here the climate also features variations in rainfall pattern. Rainy season has its own advantages and beauty. It occurs twice in a year: in the spring and autumn. With its originality of the geographical location and its unique topology Armenian climate make as much contrasts as the country itself. It is varied according to different aspects and runs to extremes. Even the autumn and spring are very beautiful in Armenia, anyway it is hard to say what time is the best to visit Armenia. Each season of the year offers its own features and advantages with its menu of sensations. So for the tourists Armenia is beautiful and hospitable in any time of year. 

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