A 100,000 (haryur hazar) Armenian dram banknote

Armenia (Armenian: Հայաստան), officially known as the Republic of Armenia, is a country located in the Caucasus mountain range between Asia and Europe. The country officially declared its independence from the USSR in 1990 (after the fall of Soviet Union). There was a referendum held, gifting full independence to Armenia in 1991. After the creation of the modern Republic of Armenia, the country received international recognition and many states started establishing diplomatic relations with Armenia.

Yerevan, or Erevan, is the capital/largest city of Armenia, the currency of Armenia is called dram and the president of Armenia is Armen Sarkissian.  

Where is Armenia?Edit

Geographically, Armenia is located in the continent of Europe and Asia. Armenia is bordered by Azerbaijan to the east, Iran to the south, Turkey to the west and Georgia to the north.

What is the history of Armenia?Edit

Tigranes the Great, one of Armenia's most successful leaders of all time
Kingdom of Uratu at its highest peak, 800 BC
Tiridates I's ruling did not last for long as he was met with the powerful attack of Emperor Nero of Rome in 54 CE
Emperor Trajan was a sophisticated but ruthless leader
Depiction of Mesrop Mashtots creating the Armenian Alphabet
Abbas I of Persia led a merciless campaign against the Ottomans in 1604, initiating a mostly-dominant Persian Armenia

Armenia's exquisite history dates back centuries ago to the Hayasa-Azzi people, a tribe which was predominant over Armenian land (around Mount Ararat and present-day Turkey) from 1500 BCE to 1200 BCE. Eventually, after various years of mixing with other cultures that migrated to this region, the first official Armenian empire in recorded history emerged in the 9th century BCE. This empire was known as the Uratu (or also the Kingdom of Van). The name, Uratu, is from the Assyrian word urashtu, meaning "high place" (possibly referencing the geographical features of the empire). At its height (7th century BCE), the Uratu kingdom controlled territory from the Caspian Sea (east) to the Taurus Range (south). Uratu's downfall came when many of its cities faced devastating sackings and destructions around 600 BCE. Sources of the destruction are unknown, but many years of fighting the powerful Assyrians played a major role in the downfall of the Uratu.

The next powerful kingdom to emerge was under the leadership of Tigranes the Great, who expanded the existing Armenian land (from various kingdoms preceding Tigranes the Great) all the way to Syria through ruthless, murderous battles against neighboring kingdoms. Tigranes the Great soon found himself in control of land from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. Tigranes the Great, or the "king of kings" as he called himself, was eventually captured in 69 BCE by the Roman Republic, who attacked the Armenian Empire after witnessing the bonding between Tigranes the Great and the King of Pontus, Mithridates VI. A few years later, Pompey the Great converted Armenia into a Roman state until many leaders fought for the control of Armenia with Tiridates I of Armenia.

Tiridates I's Armenia did not last for long as Emperor Nero, in 54 CE, sent an army under the leadership of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo to capture the major Armenian cities of Artaxata and Tigranocerta (to which he was successful in). The Armenians were forced to, at this point, surrender to the overpowering Romans and agree to the Treaty of Rhandia in 63 CE. This treaty stated that the Armenians were allowed to nominate Armenian kings to the throne, but the power bestowed upon them to rule (granting the crown) was left to the Romans. Emperor Vespian of the Romans annexed the kingdoms of Commagene and Lesser Armenia in 72 CE to prevent the Parthians from encroaching their control over Armenia. A period of peace followed for decades until Emperor Trajan declared war on the Parthian empire in 114 CE out of unreasonable fears of corruption within changing monarchs. After this, Armenia was kept as a province of the Romanian Empire. Emperor Hadrian was tired of the troublesome behavior of Armenia, consequently granting them their freedom. Although Emperor Hadrian was done with Armenia, the rest of the Parthics and Romans disagreed, evidently, as wars between the two sides ensued for control over the region.

The Persian Sasanids, hailing from the Sasanid dynasty (which emerged into power in 224 C), led a full-scale invasion against the Armenians in 252 CE as the Persians perceived the Armenians as a "threat to their power". The Sasanids were fighting the Romans at this point, eventually causing a major divide in the land: One side belong to the Romans, while the other side belong to the Sasanids. In 298 CE, the divided Armenia was united under Diocletian alongside Tiridates IV being appointed as king. Tiridates IV was able to more effectively govern the nation, introducing land surveys in order to figure out who should be taxed and how much should that person be taxed. His biggest accomplishment was the adoption of Christianity by 314 CE. This move may have been more to do with political reasoning than religious reasoning.

The Persians reinitiated their ruthless campaign against the Armenians again, forcing emperor Theodosius I (r. 379-395 CE) and Shapur III to dividing Armenia between the Byzantines and the Persians. About this time (405 CE), Mesrop Mashtots further integrated Christianity into Armenian culture by translating the Bible into the Armenian alphabet.

The Persians attempted to impose the Zoroastrian religion on the Armenian common folk, which proved unsuccessful and led to a war in 451. They were forced to give more religious freedom in response to revolts from 481 CE to 484 CE. Several conflicts ensued between the Persians and the Byzantines, with the former failing while the latter successively taking over Armenia under Armenian governor Varaztirotz Bagratuni in 628.

With the Persians successfully defeated by the Byzantines, the Arabs came in to replace them. The Arabs attempted to raid Armenia in 640 but through consistent pressure, were able to successfully capture Armenia for themselves due to a treaty between Syrian governor Muʿāwiyah and Byzantine emperor Constans II Pogonatus in 653. The Arabs allowed the Armenians to rule for themselves (autonomy) and appointed Theodor Rshtuni as governor. The consistent conflicts and influence of the Byzantines on Armenia allowed for a social and political revolution to occur, leading to the Bagratuni Dynasty. The Arabs appointed Ashot Msaker in 800, which solidified the Bagratuni family's power over Armenia. Bagratid Armenia flourished for decades, bringing economic and cultural revival to the nation.

The following centuries proceeded with Armenia being thrown under various leaderships, including the Iranians (Sallarid Dynasty) and Turks (Seljuk Dynasty). Even religious disputes existed, with at one point the Armenians were divided between the Catholics and Apostolic (1300s).

In the mid 1500s, Armenia was separated into two halves: Western Armenia was under the leadership of the Ottomans while Eastern Armenia was under the Safavid Persians after the Peace of Amasaya. In the early 1600s, Shah Abbas I of the Persians broke the peace and started a cruel campaign against the Ottomans. The patient and skillful works of Shah Abbas I saw him take control of most of the land that the Turks took away (in defense) from the Persians. Another Ottoman-Safavid War took place from 1623-1639, giving Eastern Armenia to the Safavids while Western Armenia remained under the Ottomans. Eastern Armenia, mostly all of modern-day Armenia, was eventually lost from the Persians and handed over to the invading Russians, who scorched the Persians in the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813; 1826-1828). The 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay forced the remaining Iranian land to be under Russian territory, effectively ending the Persian Armenian era. The Ottomans soon ruled over the Armenians, leading to the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

The Armenian Genocide of 1915 was a systematic massacre of the Armenian population from Anatolia (large peninsula that is modern-day Turkey) and other regions ruled by the Ottomans during World War I.

How many people live in Armenia?Edit

According to the latest official census data as of 2011, the population of the country is estimated at 3 million people consisting of Armenians (98.1%), Yazidis (1.2%) and others (0.7%). The natives living there identifies themselves as Armenians.

What are the most common languages in Armenia?Edit

Armenian Alphabet

Armenian (Haieren, հայերէն) is the official and most popular language in Armenia (spoken by 97% of the population in 2011). It is a sub-group language of Western Armenian (Arewmtahayerên) and Eastern Armenian (Arewelahayerên).

During the time that the Russians were ruling Armenia, the Russian language was used frequently. Therefore, many of current-day Armenians speak Russian. English is also a common language spoken. Other languages include Yazidi, Greek, and Assyrian.

What is the most common religion in Armenia?Edit

Overwhelmingly, 92.6% of Armenians are Armenian Apostolic (a sect of Christianity) and the rest are different sections of Christianity.

What is the sport of Armenia?Edit

Armenians playing chess at roadside in Vernissage, Yerevan

Chess is the national "sports" in Armenia. The chess board is made up of eight rows and eight columns for a total of 64 squares of alternating colors. There are tow sides namely black and white. Each of 2 sides will have 16 pieces of units that have different movement type according to the rank.The chess ultimate goal are delivering a "checkmate" opponents using the 16 pieces of units to trap your opponent´s king meanwhile prevent yours suffering the same fate.

The Armenian authorities recognizes there are many chess master coming from Armenia such as Tigran Petrosian,Rafael Vaganian ,Smbat Lputian, and Arshak Petrosian. Hence, they are the first government in the world to include chess on the national curriculum. Since 2011, all children in Armenia from six to eight years old have compulsory chess lessons. The authorities purpose of teaching chess in school is about building character, and will help nurture a sense of responsibility and organisation among school children.

What are some important sites?Edit

  1. The Noravank is one of Armenia’s defining characteristical monasteries, exhibiting sheer brick-red cliffs shielding the monastery. Built in the 13th century, Noravank is famous for its Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) church. The sculptor of the grandest portions of Noravank was a man by the name of Momik, who created the lovely stonework that survives today. He also carved a number of uniquely Armenian religious monuments known as “khachkars”, which depict an image of a cross surmounting a circular symbol. The sculptor is also buried in a simple grave at the site.
  2. The Garni Temple, also known in Armenian as "Garnu tacar", is a historically religious site located in Garni, Armenia. Although almost all of Armenia converted to Christianity, the only glimpse of its pre-Christian history is still present. The Garni temple was a pagan temple built in the 1st century CE and was destroyed in 1679 by a major earthquake. Before that, the temple survived centuries of invasions, natural disasters, and anti-pagan campaigns. In the 20th century under Soviet Union rule, the temple was reconstructed. The former pagan temple hosts imperial Roman-style architecture (with other variations presented) and 24 20-feet Ionic-styled columns, surrounding a cella (inner room of a temple). Based on its small size, the cella is believed to have hosted a statue dedicated to the Armenian mythological sun God, Mihr. The Garni Temple stands as one of the most significant tourist attractions in the country.
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