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About Armenia

Armenia - Cradle of Civilization

Noah Descending from Ararat by AivazovskyArmeniaacknowledged as one of the cradles of civilization - is a beautiful country with sophisticated people and a long and cultured history. As a result, Armenia is an intriguing tourist destination. 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, geographically located in Turkey, is a national symbol of Armenia and is visible from much of the Southwest region.

Ararat mountain

The majestic peaks of Mount Ararat provide a stunning backdrop to Yerevan. The monastery of Khor-Virab and the ruins of the ancient city of Dvin (dating back to the second century BC) are located in the mid-distance aerial view of Yerevan, capital of Armenia.
Statue of Komitas, one of Armenia's most loved composers, is located outside the Komitas Conservatory. Apart from writing many original compositions, Komitas traveled the country noting down folk songs for posterity. Yerevan, which is nestled in the shadow of the snow-capped heights of the majestic mount Ararat, where the Biblical Noah's Ark first landed escaping the Great Flood, is the capital city of Armenia. With a population numbering over 1.2 million, Yerevan is a bustling city. The central plaza, Republic Square, is designed in the Armenian national style and houses the Government House, the Cabinet and other governmental offices as well as the Erebuni and Marriott-Armenia hotels.

Yerevan_NightsAlso situated on Republic Square are the Armenian History Museum and the Art Gallery of Armenia. Here, one finds informative and interesting models and artifacts of ancient Urartu and Armenia. In the Art Gallery one finds a worthy section on Armenian art from the seventh century AD. Amongst the many other museums in the capital city, the two most interesting house museums are those of landscape artist Martiros Saryan (1880-1972) and twentieth century composer Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978).
Yerevan, the ancient capital of Armenia, extends you a warm and friendly welcome. It is one of the oldest cities in the world. The earliest recorded settlement there dates back to 782 BC. King Argishty I founded a fortress city in the north-eastern part of present-day Yerevan, with the following cuneiform inscription, "With the majesty of God Khald, Argishty, son of Menua, built up this inaccessible castle and named it Erebuni..." You can still see relics from this part of our history at the Erebuni Museum in Yerevan.
As you explore the many interesting sights in Yerevan, you will learn about the culture and history of one of the world's oldest nations.

Armenia and Nagorno-KarabakhWhat Foreign Sources Say on Armenia:

Time Magazine Almanac 2001, pp. 271-272

Armenia (statistical data abridged)



Armenia is located in the southern Caucasus and is one of 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 the size of ancient Armenia. A land of rugged mountains and extinct volcanoes, its highest peak is Mount Aragats, 13,453 ft. (4,095 m).


Government Republic History:

Urartian-godOne of the world's oldest civilizations, Armenia once included Mount Ararat, which biblical tradition identifies as the mountain that Noah’s ark rested on after the flood. It was the first country in the world to officially embrace Christianity as its religion (c. 300).
In the 6th century B.C.E., Armenians settled in the kingdom of Urartu (the Assyrian name for Ararat), which was in decline. Under Tigran the Great (fl. 95-55 B.C.E.) the Armenian Empire reached its height and became one of the most powerful in Asia, starching from the Caspian to the Mediterranean Seas. Throughout most of its long history, however, Armenia has been invaded by a succession of empires. Under constant threat of domination by foreign forces, Armenians became both cosmopolitan as well as fierce protectors of their culture and tradition.
Over the centuries, Armenia was conquered by Greeks, Romans, Persians, Byzantines, Mongols, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and Russians. From the 16th century through World War I major portions of Armenia were controlled by their most brutal invader, the Ottoman Turks, under whom they experienced discrimination, religious persecution, heavy taxation, and armed attacks. In response to Armenian nationalist stirrings, the Turks massacred thousands of Armenians in 1894 and 1896.  Armenian Genocide, 1915The most horrific massacre took place in April 1915 during World War I, when the Turks ordered the deportation of the Armenian population to the deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia. According to historians, 1.5 million Armenians were murdered or died of starvation. This is considered the first genocide in the 20th century.
After the Turkish defeat in World War I, the independent Republic of Armenia was established on May 28, 1918, but survived only until November 29, 1920, when it was annexed by the Soviet Army. On March 12, 1922, the Soviets joined Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to form the Transcaucasian Soviet Socialist Republic, which became part of the U.S.S.R. In 1936, after reorganization, Armenia became a separate constituent republic of the U.S.S.R. Also in 1988, a devastating earthquake in Spitak killed thousands, left displaced huge numbers of population and wreaked economic havoc.
Armenia declared its independence from  the collapsing Soviet Union on September 21, 1991. The war unleashed by Azerbaijan in early 1990s against Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia, in an effort to stifle the drive of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to exercise peacefully its right to self-determination, resulted in influx of more than 400 000 Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan, and over 70 000 internally displaced people that were forced to leave their places of permanent residence.

Nagorno KarabakhThe blockade imposed on Armenia by Azerbaijan and Turkey since early 1990s as a result of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict exacerbated the economic situation in the newly independent republic. A cease-fire agreement was reached between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh in 1994, yet the negotiations on the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict continue within the Organization of the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group.
An Armenian Diaspora has existed throughout the nation’s history, and Armenian emigration has been particularly heavy since independence from the Soviet Union. An estimated 60% of the total eight million Armenians worldwide live outside the country, with one million each in the U.S. and Russia. Significant Armenian communities are located in Georgia, France, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Argentina, and Canada.

Cultural Heritage:

MatenadaranYou can gain further insights into Armenian cultural achievements at museums, theaters and concert halls. Theater in Armenia has a tradition dating back more than 2,000 years. You can attend a wide choice of performances ranging from concerts to puppet theater and jazz music.
At the top of Mesrop Mashtots Avenue, the main artery of the capital city Yerevan, you will find the Matenadaran - the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts. Matenadaran boasts the world's largest collection of ancient manuscripts (over 16,000). The collection includes many valuable works of foreign philosophers, some of which have survived only in their Armenian translation. Among these are works by Aristotle, Eusebius of Caesarea and many others. Art aficionados can visit the National Art Gallery displaying its rich collections of works by European and Russian artists. This impressive building located in the Republic Square is also home to the largest national collection of paintings by famous Armenian artists such as Aivazovsky and Saryan. The spirit of creativity is fostered and promoted in Armenians from a young age. Hence, the Children's Art Gallery, which was the first permanent exhibition of its sort in the world. It is conveniently located at 13 Abovian street, one of the better preserved streets of old Yerevan.

State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater of ArmeniaThe Alexander Spendiarian Opera and Ballet Theater, one of the principal features of Freedom Square, the design of which is based on the seventh century Cathedral at Zvartnotz consists of a splendid concert hall in addition to the opera house The homes of many famous Armenian writes, poets, and artists are now open to tourists. Their hours of operation vary, so please phone in advance. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around Yerevan and take in its unique architectural vistas. Yerevan's architectural character stands out in that of the most of the buildings are constructed of various colors of tufa and basalt, both of them products of volcanic nature. This makes Yerevan one of the few cities with no painted buildings. The city is enshrined with many internationally acclaimed statues by famous sculptors, such as Yervand Kochar, Levon Tokmadjian and others. Most of the statues depict Armenian national heroes or glorify events of national importance. It is suggested to visite the following: Sasuntsi Davit, the symbol of collective Armenian character. Vardan Mamikonian, hero of the battle of Avarayr fought in 451 AD. Eighteenth century bard, Sayat Nova. Khachatour Abovian, renowned for revolutionizing modern Armenian language and climbing Mount Ararat in search of Noah's Ark. Outstanding Armenian poets, Hovhannes Toumanian and Avetik Issahakian artist Martiros Saryan, famous for his vivid colors and unique interpretation of Armenian landscapes In the evening you can relax at the Parisian style cafes of the city or stroll by the enchanting fountains of Republic Square. Armenia is often referred to as a museum in the open air. 

There are about 40,000 historical monuments spread across Armenia.

Garni_TampleIn 301 AD, Armenians were the first nation to make Christianity their state religion. As a result, much of Armenian cultural heritage is shaped by symbols and values associated with the Christian faith.Many of the 40,000 surviving ancient monuments in Armenia are Christian churches and monasteries, most of which were built over demolished pagan temples. Hence, only one pagan temple remains in Armenia, Garni.
In building their churches, Armenians made a significant contribution to the world's architectural tradition. They developed the concept of laying out the floor plan of a church in the shape of a cross. This early Christian basilica style was later incorporated into the Gothic architecture of European cathedrals.
Armenian khatchkars (stone-cross) are a unique part of the national heritage. Intricately decorated crosses are carved on monolithic rocks. There are over 4,000 khatchkars in Armenia, and every one of them has a singular pattern.
Etchmiadzin is the religious center of Armenia. It is the Holy SeDilijan, lake_ Parzat of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Its Cathedral was built in 301 AD on a site of a former pagan temple.The mountainous terrain of Armenia is rich in mineral water sources, renowned for their healing powers. Although Armenian mineral water from such sources as Jermuk, Arzni, Bjni, Hankavan, and Dilijan is bottled and widely available throughout the country, it is advisable to make the most of their healing powers by visiting the sources themselves, all of them being picturesque and popular resorts.
For instance, Dilijan, with its rolling hills and lush forests is ideal for hiking, back-packing and camping. Its beauty has inspired many famous composers and musicians. such as Benjamin Britten, Aram Khachaturian, Dimitri Shostakovich, Mstislav Rostropovich, and many others who stayed here at a vacation resort for musicians.


What One Can See in Armenia

River _AraksArmenia occupies a territory of 2977thousand square kilometers. The average altitude of the territory is 1,800 meters above the sea level, the highest peak has an altitude of 4,090 meters and the lowest point is the ravine of Debet with an altitude of 380 meters.
Armenia occupies a part of a chain of the mountains which is called the Armenian Plateau. It is situated within the Alps-Himalayas mountain system and can be called "an island of mountains".

While flying in a plane over the Armenian Plateau you will see an endless chain of mountains, lakes hidden in the heights, mountain torrents and waterfalls, valleys, isolated highlands. Among all these, Lake Sevan unveils itself with constantly changing colors - either matching the sky in a harmony or contrasting itself to the blue sky. It is almost a sin to be in Armenia and not see Lake Sevan or swim in it. Sevan is a lake of mysteries. It is located at an altitude of 1,900 meters above the sea, its maximum depth is 99 meters, there is a peninsula which was an island some decades ago, 28 rivers merge in it while only one - Hrazdan flows out.
On the territory of Armenia there are 10 natural lakes, 15 swift rivers, 5 canyons which form a common lacework of high and low peaks.

Tatev_MonastryCome to this Promised Land where you can see man-made miracles next to the natural wonders. The embroidery of crosses carved in the cliffs continues the natural genesis. Or have a look at the monastery of Geghard located in a dark ravine. For centuries the artisans struggled against the stones and created a monument carved in the cliffs as if no human hand has ever touched it. In most picturesque places in the mountains chiseled by thick forests or deep ravines you can find scattered but interconnected by some inner logic architectural master- pieces like ensemble of Haghartsin monastery (X-XIII A.D.), Goshavank (X-XIII A.D.), Kecharis (XI-XX A.D.), the complexes of Sanahin and Haghpat (X-XX A.D.), Odzun (VI-VII A.D.), Marmashen (IX-XIII A.D.), fortress of Lori and its inner town (II millennium B.C. -XVII A.D.), Hnavank (XII-XIII A.D.). If you wish to walk and have adventurous sensations you can go down a canyon and then raise your head. You will see a chain of inaccessible fortresses dipped in sunrays which feel as if they have grown out of the cliffs and are hung in mid-air. You can climb through the paths to fortresses Amberd (VII-XV A.D.), Halidzor (XVII A.D.), Baghaberd (V A.D.), Garni (I B.C.) and you will feel the spirit of centuries, the flight of human thought and the power of its domination over nature.

Shaki_WaterfallThis country of lakes, rivers and springs is also rich of mineral waters. In Jermuk, Bjni, Dilijan and other resorts you can treat different diseases by taking a bath in mineral waters. The waterfall of Shaki is one of the aquatic beauties of Armenia, which, splitting the chest of cliffs, falls from an altitude of 18 meters into the ravine and flows into the river Vorotan which passes through Siunik and joins the river Araks. Step into the virgin forests of Armenia where you can see different animals and birds. You can go hunting, just try and probably you will not be disappointed.Armenia is beautiful not only in summer but also in winter when the mountains and valleys are covered with snow. In Tsakhkadzor town by an aerial cable way, you can go up to the top of Mount Teghenis, contemplate the magnificence of the highland, have a cup of oriental coffee prepared on hot sand and ski down the mountains. The Shirak valley can also offer you winter sport opportunities.
In valleys and particularly on the shore of Lake Sevan or on the banks of the river Araks, you can watch the transmigration of birds in spring and fall; enjoy the singing of flamingos and storks of different species and colors.

Walk the streets of Armenian towns that are full of greenery. Each of them is like a garden, extend your hand and pick up a mulberry or a cherry, a peach or an apricot. Each town has its own legend and history, its uniqueness. For instance, Yerevan, the 13th capital of Armenia - will become 2793 years old in 2011, it is even older than Cartagena. Yerevan is nice with its old and new buildings, broad streets, large and small museums and exhibitions. If you wish to see the whole of Yerevan you have to go up to Victory park and the whole city will be seen spread at the foot of mount Ararat. If you strain your imagination just a little you will notice Noah's Ark in the snowy top of Ararat. Humankind was reborn here, populated this valley and on the territory of Armenia Christianity was adopted as a state religion for the first time.

Information was recived from Ministry Of

Foreign Affairs Of Armenia