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About Armenia

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History

Armenia is about 30,000 Sq. km. Population is about 3 million living in present day Armenia. Armenia is mountainous country. The highest mountain is Mt. Aragats, 4,095.00 m. It is located in the southern part of Caucasus. Armenians are ancient people. They inhabited the region between the Black Sea, Caspian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea for nearly 3,000 years. They are believed to be a mixture of local Urartu and Indo-European inhabitants. Armenians call themselves “Hai” and their country “Hayastan”. Yet most of the world calls them Armenians because of a local tribe called “Armen”. Its neighboring countries are Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran.
Present day Armenia is about one fifth of the historic Armenia.
Despite war, invasions and massacres, they somehow have survived to this day and present day Armenia is what is left of Historic Armenia. Numerous monuments of the ancient and Middle Ages can be found throughout the country.
Its capital is Erevan, one of the oldest cities of the world, and once called “Erebuni”. Other major cities are Gumri, Dilijan, Etchmiadzin, Goris, Meghri, Hrazdan, Vanadzor and Ghapan.
Under Tigran the Great (95-55b.c.) the Armenian Empire reached its height and became one of the most powerful empires of the time, stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.
Mt. Ararat (5185m) once part of Historic Armenia, today part of Turkey, is a national symbol for Armenians all around the world, which the Bible identifies as the mountain where Noah’s Ark rested on after the big flood.
Etchmiadzin is the Holy Seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the spiritual center of all Armenians with patriarchates of Jerusalem and Constantinople. Its Cathedral was built in 301AD. 
The Catholicosate of Sis was created during the Kingdom of Cilicia when Holy Seat of Etchmiadzin lost its authority over the Armenians living inside the Ottoman Empire and after the Armenian Genocide of 1915 they moved their Holy Seat to Antelias, Lebanon. Its jurisdiction also is strong and is spread throughout the Armenian Communities of the Diaspora with its Prelacies all around the world.
In 301AD. Armenians were the first nation to make Christianity their state religion during the reign of Trdat III (287-330) by St. Grigor Lusavoritch (the Illuminator).

The Armenian alphabet was invented in 405AD by a monk called Mesrop Mashtots and it is considered to be one of the major reasons of their survival (the other being the Armenian Church).
Since the 9-th century Armenia has been partitioned between its neighbors, The Byzantines, the Persians, the Arabs, the Russians and the Ottomans Turks. The Turks still occupy majority of the Historic Armenian territories. 
As a result of these invasions and heavy taxation by the Ottoman Turks, and after losing their sovereignty in the Armenian Highlands and the fall of the capital city of Ani, Armenians moved further south to the Mediterranean Sea where they established The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, which survived about 400 years. During this period Armenians formed alliances with the Crusaders and provided support to them on their way to Jerusalem. 
During these invasions so many valuable and irreplaceable works of art have been burned, destroyed and lost forever. Yet many have somehow survived and are kept in the Armenian National Library in present day Armenia, called“The Madenataran” and various museums all over the world. 
At the end of 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th century during World War 1, in 1915 the Armenian people suffered a terrible tragedy. As a result of Turkish Nationalism about 1.5 million Armenians were exterminated in a Genocidal Pogroms and the rest were deported from their homeland to the Syrian Desert where they were murdered and left to die of starvation. 
The Armenian victory over the Turkish troops in the battle of Sardarapat, Karakilisse and Bashabaran, in 1918, created the opportunity to establish an independent Armenia. And indeed, in 1918 an Independent Armenian Republic was established which lasted until it was incorporated into the Soviet Union. 
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia declared its independence on September 21, 1991. Today Armenians are scattered all around the world and they are important part of the political life of their adopted countries.

Religion

The 7th century Khor Virap monastery in the shadow of Mount Ararat, the peak on which Noah's Ark is said to have landed during the biblical flood.

Armenia was the first nation in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion, an event traditionally dated to AD 301. 
The predominant
religion in Armenia is Christianity. The roots of the Armenian Church go back to the 1st century. According to tradition, the Armenian Church was founded by two of Jesus' twelve apostles Thaddaeus and Bartholomew and because of these two founding apostles, the official name of the Armenian Church is Armenian Apostolic Church.
Over 93% of Armenian Christians belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church, a form of Oriental Orthodoxy, which is a very ritualistic, conservative church, roughly comparable to the
Coptic and Syriac churches. Armenian Apostolic Church is in communion only with a group of churches within Oriental Orthodoxy.
Other religious denominations in Armenia are the
Baptists and Presbyterians. 
Catholics also exist in Armenia, both
Latin rite and Mekhitarist Catholics. 

Population

Armenia has a population of 3,238,000 (2008 est.) and is the second most densely populated of the former Soviet republics.Ethnic Armenians make up 97.9% of the population. Yazidis make up 1.3%, and Russians 0.5%. Other minorities include Assyrians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Kurds, Georgians, and Belarusians. There are also smaller communities of Vlachs, Mordvins, Ossetians, Udis, and Tats. Minorities of Poles and Caucasus Germans also exist though they are heavilyRussified.[85]

Geography

Armenia is located in the southern Caucasus and is the smallest of the former Soviet republics. It is bounded by Georgia on the north, Azerbaijan on the east, Iran on the south, and Turkey on the west. Contemporary Armenia is a fraction of the size of ancient Armenia. A land of rugged mountains and extinct volcanoes, its highest point is Mount Aragats, 13,435 ft (4,095 m).

Climate

The climate in Armenia is markedly continental. Summers are dry and sunny, lasting from June to mid-September. The temperature fluctuates between 22 and 36 °C (72 and 97 °F). However, the low humidity level mitigates the effect of high temperatures. Evening breezes blowing down the mountains provide a welcome refreshing and cooling effect. Springs are short, while falls are long. Autumns are known for their vibrant and colorful foliage.
Winters are quite cold with plenty of snow, with temperatures ranging between -10 and -5 °C. Winter sports
enthusiasts enjoy skiing down the hills of Tsakhkadzor, located thirty minutes outside Yerevan. Lake Sevan, nestled up in the Armenian highlands, is the second largest lake in the world relative to its altitude, at 1,900 metres (6,234 ft)above sea level.