Rockwell Kent, an American painter wrote: ‘If I were asked where on the Planet one can meet more miracles, I would have undoubtedly called Armenia first. Here, in this tiny corner of the world, you can see mountains and meet people that can become treasure and pride for the world…
Armenia is located in the South Caucasus, bordered by Georgia from the north, Iran from the south, Azerbaijan from the north-east and the south-west and Turkey from the west. The Republic of Armenia occupies a territory of 29 800 square km. The highest point is Mount Aragats (4090m), while the lowest point is the valley of the Debed River (400m).
The capital is Yerevan.
The official language is Armenian.
The national currency of Armenia is called “Dram”.
The state religion in Armenia is Christianity which was adopted in 301 AD|
The country code is 374, Yerevan city code is 10.
Tourist Destination Armenia
Armenia is one of the cradles of human civilization with a recorded history of about 3,500 years. Immodestly, Armenians consider themselves direct descendants of Noah, survivor of the Biblical flood and since ‘Noah’s times’ the nation has been cultivating land, building dwellings, citadels, bridges and castles. In ancient maps Armenia stretches from the Caspian to the Black and Mediterranean seas, that’s why the wording ‘from sea to sea’ rests in the memory of nation.
Ancient Armenia was one of the largest states of the Middle East. It became especially powerful under the Armenian king Tigranes the Great. Situated at the crossroads, Armenia attracted the attention of the powerful countries surrounding it. It had a long and eventful history surviving through many dramatic days and destructive invasions. In its constant and unequal fight Armenia lost the greatest part of its territory and its sovereignty. But even under the worst conditions it has never lost its language, culture, religion and wish to create. The Armenian people expressed their tragic experience in their brilliant epos ‘David of Sasun.’
Armenia became the first Christian state in the history of the world in 301 AD. And in 405 AD, the Armenian alphabet was created by Mesrop Mashtots – one of the sacred men of the nation. The first sentence written in Armenian was ‘To comprehend the wisdom and edification and to know the deeds of the genius.’ At the beginning of the XX century Armenia suffered from extremely harsh treatment by its close neighbor Turkey when the west Armenians were massacred by the Turkish government in 1915. In 1918 Armenia declared itself an independent state; but it only lasted until 1922 when the country was incorporated into the USSR.
On September 21, 1991 Armenia proclaimed independence. The country is a member of Commonwealth of Independent countries (CIS). In 1922 it became a member of the United Nations Organization (UNO).
Armenia is a rocky country. The legend relates that God, intending to test the diligence and patience of the nation, granted him the rockiest part of the Earth. And the people used stones to worship God. They built magnificent churches in the most inaccessible places and carved unique cross-stones, which have become one of the symbols of the nation.
Numerous monuments and masterpieces of the Ancient era and Middle Ages can be found throughout the country. Tourism in Armenia is rooted in the country’s historical landmarks and natural attractions such as the water resorts of Lake Sevan, the hot springs of Arzni and Jermuk, the forests of Dilijan, Aghveran, Tsaghkadzor, Bjurakan and Gugark, and the mountainous natural caves and cliffs of the Southeast region. The 5165 meter Mount Ararat, is a national symbol.
Armenia and is visible from much of the Southwest region. Armenia is a country of contrasts. In this small piece of land sultry summer and eternal winter exist almost side by side. The valleys can be as hot as tropics, while mountains are covered with snow.
A particularly rich part of the Armenian heritage, Armenian architecture is also considered to be a major component of the world culture with its thousands of historical monuments and the significant role it played in the development of world architecture. The history of Armenian ecclesiastical architecture begins with Armenia’s conversion to Christianity and almost simultaneously the construction of the cathedral of Holy Ejmiatsin at the beginning of the 4th century. Replacing pagan temples with the first churches, Christian influences created architectural masterpieces such as the churches of Hripsime, Gayane and the gem of the 7th century Armenian architecture.
During the 9th-14th centuries, the unique monasteries of Tatev, Sanahin, Haghpat, Noravank, Goshavank, Ohanavank, Harichavank and Makaravank were created, which have survived till today and are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
There are two distinctive features of Armenian church architecture: the first is the use of double-intersecting stone arches to span the interior space, eliminating the need for the supporting columns familiar in other types of churches; while the second feature is the pyramidal dome, supported by a drum, which is supported in turn by intersecting arches.
A unique manifestation of Armenian medieval national art is comprised by the monuments called khachkars or cross stones, which were widely used in Armenia and have become additional signifiers of Armenian identity.
Following the Sovietization of Armenia in the early 20th century, two architectural directions competed for dominance: the national, expressed in such works as the Government Buildings of Republic Square, the Genocide Museum, the State Opera House, etc.
The Independent Republics of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh
On September 21, 1991, nearly a year after most eligible Armenian citizens turned out to vote for the independence of their state, Armenia declared its sovereignty from the Soviet Union. This made Armenia the first Soviet Republic to do so before the official disintegration of the USSR later the same year. Not unlike the first Armenian Republic of 1918-1920, the new state was confronted by hostile neighbors in the west and the east. Turkey and Azerbaijan imposed an energy and transportation blockade on landlocked Armenia, leaving only the Georgian border to the north and a small border with Iran to the south as means to transport much needed goods, including humanitarian aid, into the country.
Despite the rival nations’ efforts, their attempts to strangle the fledgling democracy did not take hold. Due in large part to Armenian perseverance, as well as the aid provided from European and American nations and the Armenian Diaspora, Armenia withstood the tough first years of its statehood. The transition to democracy and a free market economic system has not come easily to any of the Newly Independent States and Eastern European countries emerging from the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Armenia’s experience is no exception. However, Armenia continues to strive for these ideals as it builds its nation’s republic. In 2001, Armenia celebrated the tenth anniversary of its independence and welcomed international dignitaries such as Pope John Paul II as it commemorated the 1700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity as the state religion of Armenia.
If independence posed hardships for the new Armenian Republic, Nagorno-Karabakh’s existence was at best perilous. Under Azeri rule during the Soviet period, the Armenian majority population of Nagorno-Karabakh suffered religious and cultural persecution and infrastructural negligence at Azeri hands. Armenian churches and graves were defaced; the people’s language was forbidden; the enclave’s schools were under-funded and its roads left in disrepair. Slowly, the Muslim minority hoped to squeeze out the indigenous Armenian population through its campaigns, which were in violation of human rights.
In the late 1980s, as Gorbachev’s reforms took effect, ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh exercised their rights by voting to separate from Azerbaijan and reunite with Armenia. This civil action was met by brutal government-led pogroms against Armenian communities in Azerbaijan. Threatened by another genocide, the Armenian nation was forced to take up arms and fight back. In full-scale armed conflict between 1991 and May 1994, Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians from all walks of life bravely defended their right to self-determination. As a cease-fire was called, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and other concerned states sat down at the negotiating table. Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh seized the opportunity to set up a de facto government independent of Armenia and Azerbaijan. With the help of the Republic of Armenia, and to a large part Diaspora Armenians, the independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh began to rebuild a country that had long endured neglect. While its official status remains unresolved and no government in the world recognizes its sovereignty, Armenians firmly assert their right to self-determination by living and working in Nagorno-Karabakh.