Armenia

   Armenia is a mountainous country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, has borders with Turkey to the west, with Georgia to the north, with independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh  and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and  Nakhchivan autonomous region  to the south. Armenia is a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation-state with an ancient cultural heritage. The Satrapy of Armenia was established in the 6th century BC, after the fall of Urartu. In the first century BC the Kingdom of Armenia reached its height under Tigran the Great. Armenia became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion, in the early years of the 4th century (in 301 AD). For this reason, Armenia is considered to be the first Christian nation.

Armenia is situated along the route of the Great Silk Road, it has fallen within the orbit of a number of cultural influences and empires. It is one of the earliest Christian civilizations, its first churches were founded in the fourth century. Its rich cultural and architectural heritage combines elements from different traditions. Armenian language is part of the Indo-European language family, but its alphabet is unique.

Your long lost family welcomes your home. Whether you are an Armenian who has grown up on the shores of a different country, or a world traveler looking for the ideal mix of culture, adventure, and relaxation, Armenia welcomes you with open arms. At the crossroads of cultures east and west, at the intersection of trade routes near and far, Armenia has a veritable trademark on hospitality. The recent growth of the tourism sector means more and more opportunities for Armenians to showcase their welcoming spirit, their gracious warm-heartedness and their generous nature. Armenia is home to close-knit extended families always ready to accept a new member, be prepared to be adopted by an Armenian family, at least in spirit! Leave behind the world of indifference and monotony and try Armenia's antidote of one part congeniality and one part hospitality.

The flora of Armenia is very diverse since it is situated on the joint of two geobotanical provinces – Caucasian and Iranian.

The prevailing is the semidesert, mountain-steppe, mountain-meadow and Alpine vegetation.

Grassland - cereal and stipa steppes are replaced by meadow steppes and the Alpine meadows in high-mountains.

The woods occupy about 12% of the area of the country and are, basically, in the northeast and southeast. Widespread in the northeast are broad-leaved woods with the prevalence of oaks, beeches and hornbeams with some lindens, maples, and ash-trees.

Poplars and walnuts, wild fruit-trees and bushes (apple-trees, pear, cherry, plum, cornelian cherry, and dog rose) are often found there too.

The rocky and stony soils are grown with bushes – almond and pistachios, Jerusalem thorn, and beans. The flora of Armenia includes about 3,200 species including 106 endemics.

The fauna of Armenia consists of 76 species of mammals, 304 kinds of birds, 44 kinds of reptiles, 6 kinds of amphibious, 24 kinds of fishes and about10 thousand invertebrates.

Each natural zone is characterized by its unique fauna. In semideserts there are rodents (gophers, jerboas, mole rats, hedgehogs, gerbils, voles) and reptiles (agamas, turtles, blunt-nosed vipers, vipers). In steppes live hares and foxes, wolves and badgers, bezoar goats and moufflons.

The fauna of woods is rather rich. There are roebucks, wild boars, bears, Persian squirrels, deer, lynxes, wood cats, and forest dormice. The birds - nightingales, titmice, jays, hawks.

In the Alpine meadows - lynxes, wood cats, martens, bezoar goats, moufflons, wild boars, bears, roebucks, leopards, squirrels, wood cats, and royal deer.

The lynx, jungle cat, wild boar, jackal and numerous birds are found in the Araks river bank thickets and Lake Sevan: the crane (the national symbol of the country), stork, partridge, quail, black grouse, eagle, vulture, snowcock, ducks and seagulls.

For those who love to discover culinary adventures, Armenia is just the right place!

Armenian Cuisine is as ancient as its history. Armenian culinary traditions are over 2000 years old.

TRADITIONALS DISHES or gourmands Armenia offers a long list of delicious dishes: Khashlama, Tolma, Barbeque, Ghapama, Harisa, Spas, Xash.

LAVASH - Armenians like to eat bread with almost everything, and the two traditional types of bread in Armenia are lavash and matnakash. Lavach is particular favorite flat bread rolled into circles and prepared in eartenware ovens in the ground (tonirs).

FRUITS AND SWEETS - The most known sweets are gata and nazak - original multilayered pies with stuffing. Everyone has heard of pakhlava - delicious puff honey cookie with a thick nut stuffing. Fruits such as peaches, apples, pears, cherries, mulberry, figs, strawberries and water melons are particularly succulent, but in particular, Armenia is famous for its apricots and pomegranates, which are considered to be more tasty than anywhere else in the world.

WINE AND BRANDY - Armenia is known as the motherland of winemaking. The legend tells that Noah planted the first vineyard in Ararat valley. Burning sun, rich land and the hard work of the peasant have given Armenian wine its unique taste and odor. Ancient wine vessels, sometimes with condensed antic wine, are found in many historical places.

Discover the most ancient, mysterious and at the same time a modern country! 

10  reasons to visit Armenia:

1. MOUNT ARARAT and lake Sevan

To see the most beautiful mountain in the world – biblical Mount Ararat, the highest mountain in the world from its base (not sea level), where the Noah’s ark landed after the Great Flood and Lake Sevan, the second highest lake in the world after Titikaka.

2. FIRST CHRISTIAN COUNTRY

Armenia is the first country in the world which officially adopted Christianity in 301, 24 years earlier than Rome. The first Christian church of the world (301-303) is located in Armenia.It means here you’ll see the world’s oldest churches and monasteries located in stunning natural settings.

3. WORLD’S OLDEST SHOE and oldest stonehenge in the world

To see the world’s oldest shoe (5500years old), as well as world’s oldest winery found in Areni Cave and 8000 year old Stonehenge located in the South part of Armenia. 223 large stone tombs are standing here waiting for explorers.             

4. TASTE THE ARMENIAN WINE AND COGNAC

To taste the Armenian pomegranate  wine and the most famous Armenian cognac which is the visit card of Armenia.

5 . TASTE THE HEALTHY ARMENIAN CUISINE AND THE MOST TASTY FRUITS IN THE WORLD, APRICOTS OF ARARAT VALLEY

To eat healthy, organic and delicious food as the Armenian cuisine is one of the oldest and tastiest in the world and to taste the sun-kissed apricots of Ararat Valley. “Prunus armeniaca” in Latin means “Armenian plum” as Armenia is the homeland of the apricot, the only fruit containing gold in its composition.

6.RIDE THE WORLD’S LONGEST ROPEWAY

To ride the world’s longest ropeway (5.7km), “Tatev wings” which will take you to the huge monastic complex of Tatev (10th century), indeed a fairy-tale fortress – monastery nestled on a promontory surrounded by deep gorges.

7. TO SEE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES.

8. TO STAND ON THE SILK ROAD

To stand on the old Silk Road, its bridges and see caravanserais (hotels of antiquity). The Silk Road was about 7000km long, and 500km passed through Armenia.

9. DIVERSITY OF LANDSCAPES

You will be amazed by the diversity of landscapes; from semideserts up to the alpine meadows, snow-capped peaks, white sand beaches of the Lake Sevan, the lush forests of Dilijan or the huge red rocks of Noravank Canyon where we can organize incentive for you from A to Z.

10.  YEREVAN day and night life

To visit one of the world’s ancient continuously inhabited cities – Yerevan, the pink-colored capital of Armenia founded in 782 B.C. It’s called so because most of its building were built  by the local pink rock (tuff) quarried in Armenia. Erebuni (Yerevan) fortress is 29 years older than Rome.This historical city becomes quite another place of ineterst during the night. Bars,discotecs and casonies are waiting for you to enjoy and have unforgettable time.

The Historical-Cultural Monuments of Armenia are Inseparable Parts of UNESCO World Heritage List

Ejmiatsin Mother Cathedral

Mother Cathedral of Ejmiatsin was build nearly in 303, 2 years after Christianity was adopted as a state religion in Armenia. According to the history, Gregory the Enlightener, while preaching the Christianity in Armenia, had a dream one night. In the dream Jesus Christ handing a gold hammer, was coming down from the heaven and He knocked at a place where a pagan temple was situated. In the morning Gregory the Enlightener told this dream to the King Trtad, who decided to found the holy cathedral, which was called Ejmiatsin (the coming of the only-begotten). During the centuries the cathedral has been ruined for several times by different invaders, for instance by Persians (after 80 years of foundation), and it has been rebuilt for several times by different catholicoses. And the final construction that we have today differs much from the temple built by Gregory the Enlightener. The temple that we have today is the result of final reconstruction in 1680s. In 2000 The Holy Cathedral of Ejmiatsin has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.

 

Ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral

Zvartnots, a complex of structures erected in the middle of the 7th century near (Armavir district), is of extreme architectural value. The complex consisted of St. George temple or Zvartnots («vigil forces», «celestial angels») and the palace of Catholicos Nerses III, known as «Builder». Zvartnots, built as Armenia’s main cathedral in 641-661. The plan of Zvartnots is based on the composition of the central nucleus of Armenia's cross-winged, dome-type structures of the previous times that is the Greek cross. However, this cross is harmoniously fitted into a circle rather than into a square. Zvartnots’ architecture was supposed to impress the onlooker by its extraordinary artistic splendor. According to Stepanos Taronatsi, an Armenian historian of the late 10th and the early 11th centuries (Stepanos of Taron, known as Asoghik) Zvartnots lays in ruins since the tenth century: it has been ruined by Byzantines. The remnants of Zvartnots, even in ruins are majestic. There survived only the lower parts of the walls and individual fragments. In 2000 the ruins of th Zvartnoc temple have been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.

 

Geghard Monastery

To north-east of Garni, higher up the gorge of the Azat River, there is a magnificent monument of medieval Armenian architecture - Geghard monastery (founded in 4 century). The specific character of this monument reflects, no doubt, the peculiarities of the austere and majestic scenery around it. The picturesque gorge of Gegharda-dzor with its high and precipitous cliffs is extremely winding, and the monastery opens to view unexpectedly behind a turn of a steep path leading to it. Its figure is stylistically connected with the decoration of the monastery. The exact date of its foundation is unknown but it dates back to the 4th century. Its name can be traced back to the 13th century when, as a legend says, the legendary spear - geghard, which pierced Christ was brought there. In 2000 the Monastery has been inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.

 

Haghpat Monastery

The Haghpat monastery is situated in the north of Armenia, in  village Haghpat (Lori district). The exact date of the foundation of Haghpat is unknown. Documentary evidence and monuments of material culture suggest that this structure dates back to the middle of the 10th century. The formation of Tashir-Dzoraget kingdom of the Kyurikids in 979 and the great attention paid to Haghpat by various rulers of Armenia and their vassals favored the construction of many religious and civil structures there. In this monastery humanitarian sciences and medicine were studied, scientific treatises written and paintings, most miniatures created. Haghpat complex is especially rich in khachkars, which were intended not only as memorials. Most of the khachkars have the traditional shape of a cross which germinated out of a grain, with branches on its sides. In the khachkars of the 10-11th centuries the framing of the cross was simpler than that of the 12th-13th century khachkars which developed new stylistic features. In 1996 the Monastery has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.

 

Sanahin Monastery

The Sanahin monastery is situated in the north of Armenia, in the Lori district, within the limits of Alaverdi city. The exact date of the foundation of Sanahin is unknown. Documentary evidence and monuments of material culture suggest that these structure date back to the middle of the 10th century. It was build before just before the Haghpat Monastery:and its name means ''this one is older than the other'' intended to inform that it is older than Haghpat monatery. Sanahin complex is especially rich in khachkars, which were intended not only as memorials, among them are Tepagir (1011), Tsiranavor (1222), etc. In the khachkars of the 10th-11th century the framing of the cross was simpler than that of the 12t-13th century khachkars which developed new stylistic features. The lacy patterns and their intricate interweaving on Sanahin’s Grigor Tudevordi khachkar (1184) or Sargis khachkar (1215) are truly amazing for the ultimate skill of their execution. In 1996 the Monastery has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.

 

HISTORY

Human beings have inhabited the Armenian Plateau and Caucasus Region since over 100,000 years ago. Little is known of them, however, drawings in caves and on rocks attest to their existence. The area, situated between some of the Old World's major water ways, is generally considered the cradle of civilization. Additionally, the Bible records that Noah's Ark came to rest on Historic Armenia's Mt. Ararat, and there are many references of his descent from the mountain after the Great Flood.

Archeological and historical facts point to the development of civilization in the region with the formation of the Urartu kingdom around 980 BC. Various Urartu rulers built capitals in the area, such as around Lake Van in the thirteenth century BC and that built by Argishti I in 782 BC, the ruins of which are preserved today in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. The first mention of Armenians in historical writings is found in inscriptions at Behistun, near the city of Kermanshah in modern-day Iran, which date to 600 BC.

RELIGION

About 94 percent of Armenians consider themselves to be Armenian Christians, having derived their faith directly from Christ's apostles. The Christian faith has shaped Armenian culture so intimately that it permeates the very landscape at virtually every corner of the country. Armenia became the first nation to declare Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD. Traditionally, the Armenian Church recognizes the Catholicos of All Armenians as its leader. He resides in Holy Echmiadzin, where St. Gregory the Illuminator established the Armenian Church in 301 AD.  A National Ecclesiastical Assembly consisting of lay and clergy representatives of Armenian communities around the world elects the Catholicos. There are four hierarchical Sees in the Armenian Church: the Catholicate of All Armenians in Ejmiatzin; the Catholicate of the Great House of Cilicia; the Patriarchate of Jerusalem; and the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Church entered its most recent era of leadership on October 27, 1999, when Armenian Christians chose His Holiness Garegin II as leader of their worldwide church following the death of Catholicos Garegin I.

POPULATION

Following the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the rebirth of the independent Armenian state, the Republic of Armenia reemerged as the latest embodiment of Armenia's perseverance as a nation. Of the approximately three million people who live in Armenia, over 95% are ethnic Armenians. In addition, Russians, Yezidis, Kurds, Greeks, and Assyrians are among the minorities who call Armenia home. Two third of the residents live in urban areas, while about one third are in rural communities. The bustling and rapidly developing capital, Yerevan is home to slightly over a million people. The average life expectancy in Armenia is about 72 years. Overall, the population of Armenians world-wide is estimated to be 10 million, many comprising Diaspora communities in Russia, the US, Europe and the Middle East.

NATURAL FEATURES

Armenia is situated at a cultural, historical, and religious intersection and located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, in the southern Transcaucasus. The country spans 29,743 square kilometers (11,490 square miles, about the size of Belgium or Maryland) of mountainous terrain centered on the Ararat Valley, the heart of the Armenian nation since biblical times. Ancient geographers called the Armenian Highlands the "Island of Mountains" or the "Rooftop of Asia Minor." In fact, the average altitude of the country is over a mile high, at about 1800 meters above sea level. Presently, the country is landlocked and has no navigable waterways, in contrast to Historic Armenia, which at its height under King Tigran the Great, stretched from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and was more than ten times the current size of the present day Republic. Armenia has borders with Georgia to the north, with Turkey to the west and south, with Azerbaijan to the east and southwest, and with Iran to the south.

Looming above the Yerevan skyline as an ominous reminder to its glorious past and as a beacon to a future of hope rises majestic Mount Ararat. Located southwest of the capital Yerevan in present day Turkey, Mount Ararat dominates the national landscape, psyche and character. Mount Aragats, the highest point within the Republic's boundaries (4090 meters at its summit) is a hiker's less explored paradise.

WEATHER

Armenia has a tremendous climatic variety packed in a small physical area. From the sunny Ararat valley and its bountiful fruits to the idyllic snowcapped mountain ranges, which traverse the land, Armenia's diverse nature is a reflection of its broad climatic range. Moreover, several microclimates exist due to the country's mountainous terrain. A day that is sunny and hot in the Ararat Valley may be quite brisk near the windswept mountainous lakes, and snowing in the upper regions of Mount Aragats. The rolling hills and high flats seem as if they were sculpted for rugged cross-country skiing in the winter, while Lake Sevan in the summertime is a wonderful destination for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxation. Average temperatures in the country's capital, Yerevan, range from -5 oC in winter to 30 oC in summer, although extreme days can see the thermometer fall to -10 oC and the hottest summer days have topped out over 40 oC. Average precipitation ranges from less than 12 inches per year in the lower Araks River valley to about 36 inches per year at the highest altitudes.

 

Armenia is a landlocked country in the Transcausasia region, between the Black and Caspian Seas, bordered on the north and east by Georgia and Azerbaijan and on the south and west by Iran and Turkey.

The terrain is mostly mountainous and flat, with fast flowing rivers and few forests but with many trees. The climate is highland continental: hot summers and cold winters. The land rises to 4,095 m above sea-level at Mount Aragats.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Country: Republic of Armenia.

Territory: 29.800 sq. km. Most of the territory of Armenia ranges from 100 to 2500m above sea level. 

Population: 3.000.000.

Form of governance: Presidential.

Currency: Dram is the only national and official currency of Armenia. Credit cards are not widely used locally for payment and ATMS are available for cash withdrawal.

Visa: An entry visa is required (except for the citizens of CIS countries). For the countries that have Armenian consulate, it is possible to obtain an Armenian visa before the arrival. Travelers are encouraged to request an electronic visa (e-visa) at http://www.armeniaforeignministry.am

 

Travel through Armenia has been always connected to exploration of old times, when the mystique of the New World held allure for Europeans determinate to discover what riches and wonders were waiting on the other side of the ocean. Fast forwarding to the present, it is good news for us all that Armenia is eager to showcase its veritable treasure trove of art, culture, architecture, spirituality and heritage to all who have the itch to explore.

You are cordially invited to attend the wedding of your dreams in Armenia. Under the majestic backdrop of Mount Ararat, or at the millennia-old church of your choice, spend your most special day in the most special of all places. Armenia recently celebrated its 1700th anniversary as the first nation to embrace Christianity as a state religion. What better place to hold a holy ceremony of your own?Armenia is likewise becoming a more popular place for families to baptize their children. It is uplifting to see the resurgence of faith in a nation where people were ridiculed and persecuted for being religious. By christening your child in Armenia, you can plant the seed in him or her forever instilling the concepts of homeland, nation, faith, and the future.