Country Armenia

Armenia

The most detailed information about the country Armenia with photos. Sights, cities of Armenia, climate, geography, population and culture.

The Republic of Armenia ( Հայաստան)

Armenia is a small state in the southern part of Transcaucasia. The country occupies the northeast of the Armenian highlands and has no access to the sea. Armenia borders on Georgia in the north, Turkey in the west, Iran in the south and Azerbaijan in the east. It was the first country in the world that adopted Christianity as an official religion more than 1,700 years ago. Armenia is a unitary parliamentary republic and is one of the oldest countries in Transcaucasia.

Armenia is famous for its magnificent nature and stunning scenic mountainous landscapes with ancient Christian churches and monasteries. It is a country with a rich and authentic culture, located at the junction of Europe and Asia. Armenia is a small agrarian-industrial country with a special energy that charms with its hospitality, historical and cultural heritage.

Flag of Armenia

Armenian flag

Useful information about Armenia

  1. Population – 2.9 million people.
  2. Area – 29 743 km2 .
  3. The currency is Armenian dram.
  4. The language is Armenian. Many people speak Russian.
  5. The time is UTC +4.
  6. Traffic is right-handed.
  7. You do not need a visa to Armenia if you stay in the country for no more than 180 days. To visit the country a Russian domestic passport is sufficient (provided you arrive here by plane). If you travel to Armenia by car, you need a foreign passport.
  8. Armenia is generally a safe country. It is enough to observe the basic rules of safety.

Geography and Nature

Armenia is located in the south of Transcaucasia in the northern part of South-East Asia. The country occupies the north-east of the homonymous plateau and has a predominantly mountainous terrain. Mountains cover more than 80% of Armenia. The northern and eastern parts are the most mountainous. The highest point is the mountain Aragats (4095 m). The lowest point is the gorge of the Debed River (380 m above sea level).

Armenia has almost 10,000 rivers. Of them only about 400 have a length of more than 10 km. The main river of Armenia is the Araks. The largest lake is the famous Lake Sevan. It is also the largest lake in the Lesser Caucasus.

Currently, Mount Ararat is located in Turkey.

Sevan

Sevan

Armenia is famous for its picturesque and diverse nature: the mountainous valleys with swift rivers, broad-leaved forests in the north-east and the steppes of the Ararat Valley. The country also has a rich fauna. In the North, bears, deer, wild boars and lynx can be found; the mountains are inhabited by wolves, foxes, badgers and mountain goats; the steppes are inhabited by gophers, jerboas and voles.

Climate

Despite the fact that Armenia is located in the subtropical latitude, the country has a continental highland climate with fairly hot summers and cold winters. A subtropical climate can be found only in the south of the country.

Ararat

Ararat

The best time to visit

Summer, late spring and early autumn are the most comfortable times to visit Armenia.

History

Armenian history goes back more than 3,000 years. It is one of the oldest peoples of Transcaucasia. Armenians historically inhabited the Armenian Highlands, a vast stretch of mountains and valleys between Eastern Anatolia and the South Caucasus. The ancestors of modern Armenians are the tribes of Hurrians, Urartians and Luvians. The Armenian people spent most of its rich history under the rule of the great powers of the region. The western regions of Armenia were under Byzantine and then Ottoman rule, while the eastern regions were ruled by the Persians and much later the Russian Empire, and then the Soviet Union after its collapse. It is surprising how the Armenians were able to maintain their culture, language and religion.

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The process of formation of the Armenian people began approximately in the 12th century B.C. and ended 6 centuries later. At that time the Armenian lands were under the rule of Urartu, after the fall of which these territories belonged first to the Kingdom of Media, and then to the First Persian Empire. In the 4th century, the Armenians succeeded in creating an independent state – the kingdom of Hayrarat. In 189 B.C. Artashesides dynasty established the Great Armenia, which during the reign of Tigranes II the Great became a large and powerful empire. Subsequently the empire was conquered by Roman Empire. The Romans made Armenia a buffer zone between their possessions and ancient Iran. In the 1st century A.D. the Romans destroyed the Armenian state, ending the history of the Artashesian dynasty.

Republic Square in Yerevan

Republic Square in Yerevan

In the first decades of the 4th century, under King Trdat III Christianity became the official religion. Then the territory of Armenia was divided between Rome and the state of Sasanids. In 405 the Armenian alphabet which promoted development of unity of the Armenian nation was created. In 5 century Persians tried to assimilate Armenians, imposing Zoroastrianism on them. But this venture was unsuccessful.

In the 6th century the most part of Armenian territory passed to Byzantium. In the middle of 7 century Armenian lands were seized by Arabs. Armenians managed to become independent only in 9th century, creating a powerful medieval state, which was then fragmented into federal kingdoms, which were in vassal dependence on the state of Bagratids. In the 11th century, the Seljuks attacked the Armenian kingdoms and inflicted monstrous damage. The Armenians were pushed back into Armenia Minor, Cappadocia and Cilicia, forming several states there. The Cilicia kingdom lasted the longest, successfully repelling Seljuk raids for three centuries.

In 12-13 centuries a part of Armenian lands became a part of the Georgian kingdom. In 1236 Armenia was conquered by the Mongols, and a century and a half later – by the armies of Tamerlane. All these invasions destroyed the Armenian state, scattering the nation across open spaces of Caucasus, Near East and Asia Minor. The small Armenian state (Khachen principality) remained only in the territory of present-day Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Ancient Monastery of Khor Virap

Ancient Khor Virap Monastery

In the 16th and 17th centuries Armenia became an arena of battles between the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Persia. At the beginning of the 17th century a significant part of Armenians was resettled to the central regions of Iran. In the 18th century in Armenia begins a period of national liberation struggles, the main figure of which is Israel Ori. As a result of the Russian-Persian war of 1826-1828 a large part of Armenia was annexed to the Russian Empire. This period is considered as the epoch of renaissance of the Armenian nation and culture. Also, at that time the processes of repatriation of Armenians from Iran began. At the same time, the Armenians living in Turkey suffered numerous discriminations. Massacres of Armenians were carried out in the Ottoman Empire during 1894-1896. During that period Armenian schools and newspapers were closed in the Russian Empire. Most of the Ottoman Armenians died in the 1915 genocide.

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At the end of World War I the Republic of Armenia was established, which became part of the USSR in 1922. Armenia was a Soviet Republic until 1990. In 1991 the referendum on withdrawal from the USSR and establishing independence was carried out, which became the beginning of the history of the modern Armenian state.

Administrative division

Administrative division of Armenia

The administrative division of Armenia

Administratively the country is divided into regions (marzes). There are ten of them (plus Yerevan, which has the status of a community):

Territorially, Armenia can be divided into the following regions:

  • Central Armenia, the political and religious center, which includes Yerevan and the monastery of Echmiadzin. Most of the region is occupied by the Ararat valley. This is also where the volcano Aragats towers.
  • Lake Sevan region is a natural area centered around Armenia’s largest lake with ancient historical monuments, churches and monasteries, as well as popular tourist sites.
  • Northern Armenia is a mountainous region on the border with Georgia, which is famous for its many amazingly beautiful and isolated mountain churches and monasteries.
  • Southern Armenia is a picturesque region stretching south to the Iranian border with interesting caves and beautiful Christian monuments.
  • Nagorno-Karabakh (de jure territory of Azerbaijan) is a region of green hills, high mountains, scenic hiking trails, ancient towns and monasteries.

Population

Armenia is a mono-ethnic state. Ethnic Armenians constitute 98% of the population. Armenians speak Armenian, which is a separate branch of Indo-European languages. At the same time about 70% of the population speak Russian. Armenia is a highly urbanized country. Over 60% of the population lives in cities. The main religion in the country is Christianity which is affiliated with the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The national characteristics of the Armenian people are industriousness, entrepreneurial spirit, temperament, some temper tantrums, hospitality and sociability. Armenians honor their elders, respect their culture and are proud of their homeland. They are devoted to their families and children. They are very family-oriented and always ready to help each other.

Transportation

There are only two international airports in Armenia: Zvartnots in Yerevan and Shirak in Gyumri. There are no domestic flights. Armenia has a railway connection only with Georgia (Tbilisi). The main means of transportation in the country are buses and minibuses.

The cities of Armenia

Yerevan

Yerevan

Popular cities in Armenia:

    – the capital and largest city of Armenia. Its central part is a true gem of early Soviet architecture, full of beautiful modern and postmodern buildings. Yerevan is often called the “Pink City” because pink stone of volcanic origin – tuff – was used in construction here everywhere. – Yerevan is the second largest city in Armenia and the capital of the Shirak region. It is located in the north of the country and is notorious for the devastating earthquake of 1988. Most of the buildings here are built of dark stone in the style of Armenian and Russian architecture of the 19th century. – the third largest city in Armenia and the capital of Lori province. – a town in Kotayk region, famous for its ski resorts. – a resort town in the south of Armenia in Vayots Dzor region, known for its mineral water and scenic nature.
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Armenia’s Attractions

Echmiadzin Cathedral

Etchmiadzin Cathedral

The Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the mother of all Armenian churches and the main temple of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is considered the first Christian cathedral in Armenia and one of the oldest sacred monuments in the world. Of course, this magnificent ancient temple is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Echmiadzin Cathedral was founded in the 4th century. The current building, for the most part, dates back to the 5th century. The dome of the church and the bell tower were built in the 17th century and the sacristy in the 19th century. This building is considered a masterpiece of Armenian architecture and the national shrine of the Armenian people.

Interestingly, despite late reconstructions the Echmiadzin Cathedral preserved the structure of the original 5th century church.

Garni

Garni

Garni is a magnificent monument of antiquity, included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is a pagan temple that dates back to the 1st century A.D. This structure is a unique (for Armenia) example of the style of ancient Greek architecture, which began to develop in the 7th century B.C.

Interestingly, after the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of Armenia pagan temples were destroyed everywhere. Garni is the only pagan, Hellenistic and Greco-Roman structure that survived these destructions.

Vahramashen

Vahramashen

Vahramashen is a beautiful medieval church in the style of traditional Armenian architecture, built on the slopes of Mount Aragats. It dates from the first half of the 11th century.

Selim Caravanserai

Selim caravanserai

Selim Caravanserai is located on the southern slopes of the Vardenyats Pass at an altitude of 2410 meters above sea level. It dates back to the 14th century and is the best preserved similar structure in Armenia.

Sevanavank

Sevanavank

Sevanavank, an ancient Christian monastery on Lake Sevan, was founded in the 9th century. It is one of the most beautiful and most visited attractions in the country.

Republic Square

Republic Square

Republic Square is the central square of Yerevan, surrounded by five beautiful buildings of pink and yellow tuff in neoclassical style with elements of traditional Armenian architecture. There is also a musical fountain on the square.

Yerevan Cascade

Yerevan Cascade

Yerevan Cascade is a staircase of limestone, decorated with fountains and statues in Art Nouveau style. It is a cascade of five open terraces.

Noravank

Noravank

Noravank, a beautiful medieval monastery from the 13th century, is located 122 km from Yerevan in a picturesque gorge with brick-red cliffs.

Geghard

Geghard

Geghard is a unique medieval monastery located 40 km from Yerevan in the gorge of the Gokht River. Included in the list of World Heritage Sites. The monastery was founded in the 4th century. Nothing remained of that ancient structure. Most of the surviving structures belong to the 12-13th century. The main feature of the monastery is the cave chapels. Some are completely carved into the rock while others are nothing more than caves. There are also other buildings with architecturally complex wall sections and rooms deep inside the rock base.

Tatev

Tatev

Tatev is a magnificent medieval monastery complex located on a large basalt plateau in southeastern Armenia. It was founded in the 8th century and features three fortified churches as well as a library, refectory, bell tower and other outbuildings. In the 14th and 15th centuries it was home to one of the most important Armenian medieval universities, which contributed to the preservation of Armenian culture and faith.

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Khor Virap

Khor Virap

Khor Virap is one of the most famous and ancient Armenian monasteries. It was founded in the 7th century and is located near the border with Turkey, at the foot of the legendary Mount Ararat.

Haghpat

Haghpat

Haghpat is a medieval monastery complex located in the north of Armenia, 10 km from Alaverdi. It was founded in the 10th century and is a masterpiece of Armenian architecture. The Haghpat Monastery is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Haghartsin

Haghartsin

Haghartsin is an ancient monastery, situated in a picturesque wooded valley, 18 km away from Dilijan. It was built between the 10th and 13th centuries. Includes five ancient churches, some of which are in ruins, as well as the tombs of the Bagratid dynasty.

Accommodation

You can find excellent bed and breakfast hotels all over Armenia, which will give you the opportunity to fully enjoy the Armenian gastronomy and hospitality. In general, the country is famous for its inexpensive lodging, which can be affordable for any category of tourists.

Cuisine

Armenia is famous for its excellent gastronomy, the main ingredients of which are vegetables and meat.

Popular traditional dishes are:

  • Khash – the most popular Armenian soup, which is made with beef broth.
  • Bozbash – meat soup with vegetables, seasoned with tomato paste.
  • Khorovats – meat shashlik.
  • Kololak – meat balls in broth.
  • Kufta – minced meat balls.
  • Tolma – minced lamb (beef) with rice and greens, wrapped in a grapevine leaf.
  • Arisa – wheat porridge with chicken meat.
  • Amich – chicken or turkey stuffed with rice and dried fruits
  • Various variations of pilaf.
  • Mshosh – salad with lentils and walnuts.

Also Armenia is famous for its bakery products, wine, cognac, mulberry vodka (Artsakh) and mineral water Jermuk.

Country Armenia

The official name is the Republic of Armenia (RA).

State flag Red, blue, orange (top to bottom) rectangular banner with horizontal equal stripes, width to length ratio 1:2

Coat of Arms of the Republic of Armenia – in the center, the shield depicts Mount Ararat with Noah’s Ark and the coats of arms of the four kingdoms of historical Armenia: top left – Bagratids, top right – Arshakids, bottom left – Artashesids, bottom right – Rubenids. The shield is upheld by an eagle (on the left) and a lion (on the right), under the shield are a sword, a branch, a sheaf of ears, a chain and a ribbon. The main color of the coat of arms of the Republic of Armenia is golden, the colors of the kingdoms of the historical Armenia are red on the top left, blue on the top right, blue on the bottom left, red on the bottom right, while Mount Ararat, depicted in the center on a shield, is orange. These colors symbolize the colors of the flag of the Republic of Armenia.

The National Anthem By the decision of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia of July 1, 1991 the anthem of the Republic of Armenia of 1918-1920 was adopted as the basis of the National Anthem. On December 25, 2006, a law on the Anthem of the Republic of Armenia was adopted. The anthem of the Republic of Armenia is “My Homeland”. The text is by Mikael Nalbandian and the music by Barsegh Kanachian.

Head of state President

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Legislative power One-chamber National Assembly

State language Armenian (belongs to Indo-European language family)

Capital Yerevan (with the status of community)

Administrative unit Marz (total- 10) Communities (total- 502) including: 49 urban ones: Yerevan city with its 12 administrative districts

National currency- AMD (international definition- AMD), in circulation since November 1993

Geographical Information

Territory 29743 sq. km (close to territories of Belgium and Albania)

Average height above sea level 1800 m (76.5% of the country is 1000-2500 m above sea level)

Border with Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, Turkey to the west and south-west, and Iran to the south

The longest length from north-west to south-east is 360 km from west to east – 200 km

Lowest point of the land The lowermost part of the Debed river 375 m

Mountains, plateau 36.4 % (of the territory of the country)

The highest mountain peak Mount Aragats peak 4090 m

High mountain peaks Kaputdzhukh 3906 m Ajdaak 3598 m Spitakasar 3555 m Vardenis 3522 m

Water resources 8.5 billion m3- annual, of which 6.54 billion m3- surface flow

Major rivers (within Armenia) Araks 158 km Akhuryan 186 km Vorotan 111 km Debed 154 km Hrazdan 141 km Aghstev 81 km

Lakes The area of Lake Sevan (as of 31.12.2010) is 1270.8 sq. km2 (28 rivers and streams flow into Lake Sevan, only Hrazdan River has its source) 1,899.90 m above sea level

Arpi, area 22.0 km2 2221 m above sea level

Sev, area 2.0 km2 altitude 2666 m

Akna, area 0.80 km2 altitude 3032 m

Average temperature in January -2.3 C in June +16.3 C

Precipitation, mm 652.6

Time To Greenwich Mean Time +4 hours

Climate Dry continental

Other info

Population

As of January 1, 2018, the RA resident population with current registration (based on the 2011 census) was 2,972,732.

Ethnic composition

Armenians (98.1%), Yezidis, Russians, Assyrians, Ukrainians, Kurds, Greeks, Jews and other national minorities (based on the 2011 RA Census)

Religion

Christianity (Armenian Apostolic Church) which is practiced by the majority of the population

Historical Information

On August 23, 1990 the Declaration of Independence of RA was adopted. Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Armenia

September 21, 1991. The day of the referendum on Armenia’s independence

December 21, 1991. Armenia became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States

1992г. January 30th Armenia became a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

1992 March 2. 1992 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the Republic of Armenia

1992г. May 28th Armenia became the Member of the International Monetary Fund

1992г. May 15, Armenia became a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization

1992г. June 25, 1992 Armenia became a Member State of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation

1992 Since September Armenia became a Member State of the World Bank

2001, January 25. Armenia became a member state of the Council of Europe

2003, 5 February. Armenia became a member of World Trade Organization

13 October, 2012, the Republic of Armenia became a full member of the International Organization of Francophonie The Republic of Armenia became a full member of International Organization of Francophonie

October 10, 2014. The meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council signed the Agreement on the accession of the Republic of Armenia to the Agreement on the Eurasian Economic Council

November 24, 2017. The Republic of Armenia and the European Union concluded a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement.

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