ABOUT ARMENIA

Geography, demography…

Armenia lies on the Southern slope of Armenian mountains, along the North-eastern part of the range, framed by the peaks of the Lesser Caucasus. Armenia borders Georgia on the North, Azerbaijan on the East, Turkey on the West and Iran on the South. Average elevation is about 1350 m above sea level and even the lowest valleys are around 500-600 meters above sea level. Territory of Armenia is 29,000 sq. km, population is about  3 million people, 96% of which are Armenians. Climate is not windy, but continental, with hot and dry summers and cold snowy winters.

History

During the country's 3000 years of history it has known heroic ups and tragic downs. Once its might was compared to that of ancient Rome. Its position on the main trade route between East and West was the main reason for its constantly being the bone of contention, being conquered, reconquered, and then regaining its independence. By the middle of the 1st century B.C. Armenia became one of the most  powerful  states  in  the  Near  East, especially during the reign of Tigrane the Great (95-56 BC) when Armenian territory reached from the Caucasian Mountains down to the Mediterranean Sea. Tigrane was finally defeated by Pompey and his country fell under Roman rule.

The country became Christian in 301 AD, but at the end of the 4th century Armenia again was divided between Persia and Byzantium. Only in 886 Armenia regained its independence to last for another 160 years. From the middle of the 11th century the country was invaded and conquered by Seljuk Turks, the Mongols and Timur. In the 16th century it was the bone of contention between Russia and Persia and was always under the rule of either one. In 1827, as a result of Russian-Persian war, Eastern part of Armenia became the part of Russian Empire. After the Russian revolution of 1917, Armenia became a union Republic of the USSR after its formation in 1920.

With the collapse of Soviet Union Armenians voted for their  independence and on 21 September 1991 the country was declared as a free and sovereign Republic.


Armenia – a museum under open sky

There are over 2500 buildings and other monuments of historical interest in Armenia and church architecture especially deserves attention. The earliest churches were basilical. Gradually the ground plan changed to cruciform. The 5th-7th centuries were a golden age of ecclesiastical building. In the 9th-11th centuries, when the monasteries were founded, decoration gradually became more apparent. Bas-reliefs and high reliefs were introduced including those featuring animals as well as purely formal designs, and in addition the first frescoes graced the walls. Through the years the monastic buildings increased in numbers and complexity. They housed libraries  and schools and were vital centers  of learning and art.


Sightseeing

As mentioned Armenia abounds with monuments of historical interest. Just to mention several of them we have to cite Echmiadzin, where the Seat of His Holiness of Supreme Catholicos of Armenians is situated, Zvartnots, a three-storey most beautiful cathedral collapsed as a result of earthquake in 930 AD, Oshakan, the home of the inventor (403 AD) of Armenian alphabet, monk Mesrop Mashtots, fortress Amberd, pagan temple Garni, Geghard – a huge monastery carved in rock, Lake Sevan – a real beauty, one of the highest fresh water lakes in the world with a peninsula and churches on it, Haghartsin, Sanahin, Tatev Monasteries  and many, many others.

Capital of Armenia – Yerevan is one of the oldest cities on our planet. Its birth certificate – a basalt slab with cuneiform writing on it says that Yerevan was founded in 782 BC. Modern Yerevan is a colorful city with beautiful building constructed of basalt, marble, onyx and volcanic tuffa-stone, it incorporates many different styles, which form a harmonious whole. It has vast squares, wide streets and avenues, parks and gardens, numerous fountains (dancing and singing) and smart pink-tuffa houses bestow the city a charm all its own. There are many museums, theaters and concert halls, parks and monuments, restaurants as well as churches in Yerevan. They all make our city an unforgettable event for any visitor. But the most important thing about our city is that it is an absolutely harmonious and amazing fusion of east and west, a mixture of western lifestyle and truly eastern color and mentality, which enkindles most pleasant and bizarre feelings for all those who come here for the first and last time in their life and for those who live here and do not suspect of existing of the “rest of the world”.


Technical information

The weather in Yerevan by the end of September and beginning of October is usually fine and warm, not windy and the guests and population of Yerevan enjoy the Indian summer, which lasts up to the beginning of November. The temperature is about 20-25oC in daytime and 5-10oC in nighttime, with almost no precipitations. It is still recommended to have a pullover and a jacket or a raincoat, as sudden gusts of wind and rain cannot be ruled out completely. Power supply – 220 V, 50 Hz, currency – Armenian dram (AMD), 1 Euro is about 510 AMD.