Armenia is a state in Transcaucasia. Armenia occupies the northeastern part of the Armenian Highlands, borders with Iran (in the south), Turkey (in the west and south), Azerbaijan (in the east) and Georgia (in the north). The country does not have access to the sea. Almost the entire territory of the country is at altitudes, ranging from thousands of meters to two and a half thousand meters above sea level. The highest point of Armenia is 4090 meters – the city of Aragats.
The total area of Armenia is almost thirty thousand square kilometers. The capital of Armenia is Yerevan. Armenia is dominated by the continental and mountainous climate. The population of Armenia is about 3.42 million people, in fact, about three million people live in Armenia, up to ninety-seven percent of the population are Armenians. On the territory of Armenia also live Russians, Jews, Greeks, Georgians, Ukrainians, Kurds and other peoples.
The President is the head of Armenia. The term of office of the president is limited to five years. The Prime Minister leads the government of the country. The unicameral National Assembly is a legislative body. The National Assembly includes one hundred and ninety deputies, who retain their powers for four years. The administrative cells of Armenia are ten regions. Separately one urban district is allocated – Yerevan. In Armenia they speak two languages: Armenian and Russian.
Armenia is dominated by the continental and mountainous climate.
Even in areas close to each other located, the weather can vary greatly. The reason for this phenomenon lies both in the degree of dismemberment of the landscape, and in the considerable height of Armenia’s territory above sea level. Summer time is dry and hot. Winter is quite severe, despite its short duration. The average summer temperature in the foothill areas varies from plus twenty-four to plus twenty-six degrees, the average winter temperature in the foothills is about plus five degrees. The average summer temperature in mountainous areas varies from ten to twenty degrees Celsius with a plus sign. The average winter temperature in mountainous areas varies from plus two degrees to minus fourteen degrees Celsius. The air temperature depends very much on the height of this or that place. In the spring and autumn, strong frosts are not uncommon. On the soil, the air temperature can reach minus twenty eight degrees Celsius. The year falls from two hundred to eight hundred millimeters, depending on the altitude, the maximum amount of precipitation falls in the spring and early summer, the minimum is in the winter and the second half of summer. At the tops of the mountains, snow lies throughout the year, on the slopes descends in the first spring months. Visiting Armenia is preferable either in the middle of spring or in autumn.
Mount Ararat is a symbol of the country.
Even on the coat of arms of Armenia, Mount Ararat is depicted. In translation, its name means “mountain of pain.” There is a version that the mountain got its name from the name of the ancient state of Urartu. Confirmation of this hypothesis is the manuscript, which mentions it as Urarat. However, the origin of the name is not proven. By relative height, this is the largest mountain on earth. The distance from the foot to the summit is four thousand three hundred and sixty-five meters. Ararat is an active volcano. The last eruption of the volcano dates back to 1840.
National cuisine is a special attraction of Armenia.
Armenian cuisine is one of the oldest on Earth. Traditions that took place in antiquity, retain their importance and at the present time. First of all, Armenian cuisine is a lot of greenery. Every woman in Armenia can skillfully use a wide variety of herbs in cooking. The national cuisine includes hundreds of types of herbs, among them those that in other countries may well go for unnecessary weeds. Without greens in Armenia it is difficult to imagine both a meat dish, and cheese or a snack.The methods of preparation at first may seem excessively simple, vegetable oils are almost not used, the products undergo the most minimal treatment, the dishes include many seasonings and herbs. Traditional products of Armenian cuisine include lavash, meat, vegetables, cheeses.
Meat dishes among Armenians are very popular. Among them, “kuchuch” of mutton, meat “sujuh”, fried chicken, “basturma”, the famous “Tolma”, shish kebab from beef, “khorovats”, etc. Local people respect and a variety of soups. Among them: “hrchik” and “vospnapur” – cereal soups, “anushapur” – soup from dried apricots, chulumbur “apur” – rice soup with onions, “tarhana” – chicken soup, famous soup “hash”, “sunki apur” mushroom soup with rice, “chirapur” and “anushapur” – fruit soups, etc. Lavash is an indispensable element of national cuisine. Lavash is baked in clay toner kilns according to ancient technology, which has survived to the present day. Armenian confectionery products are nice: sweet “suzhuh”, peaches stuffed with nuts, homemade halva, “nshablit”, “bagard”, “yugatert”, “nazuk”, “gata” cookies are a traditional Armenian flat cake.
Cognac is the national drink of Armenia.
Armenia has earned the reputation of one of the best cognac producers for just one hundred years (exactly in the country there is a cognac production). This drink is produced from excellent varieties of grapes growing in the Ararat Valley: “Furs”, “Chilar”, “Voskeat”, “Garadmak”, “Kakhet”, etc. Currently, from the Yerevan Brandy Factory there are such famous cognacs as “Nairi” (twenty years of aging), Vaspurakan (eighteen years old), Festive (fifteen years old), Armenia, Jubilee, Akhtamar, Dvin (ten years old), Vybornik (seven years) years of aging), “Ani” (six years of aging), as well as other excellent varieties. Many Armenian brands of cognacs are exported to a large number of countries in the world.
Since time immemorial, locals have been able to make and excellent in quality wine. However, at present the production of wine has significantly decreased. Armenian wine is mainly consumed only within Armenia itself, it does not export. Armenian vodka is recognized as a healing drink. This vodka is produced practically in every yard by an artisanal method, and also on an industrial scale. In addition to healing properties, mulberry vodka has a great taste.
The most popular non-alcoholic drink is “tarhun”. However, the Armenian “tarhun” differs significantly from the “tarhuna”, which we can buy in a plastic store in a supermarket. Other popular drinks: fruit juices, mineral water, tea and coffee.
Winemaking in Armenia is a traditional activity.
According to archaeological excavations, wines were produced in the territory of modern Armenia already in the eleventh to tenth centuries BC. Still Herodotus wrote about the wines of the Nairi country, which was a tribal state. Thus, Armenians were able to make excellent wine since ancient times. Virtually did not change the basis of the technique of care for vineyards, which were laid in the era of the state of Urartu. In farms that specialize in winemaking, in the garden or directly at the house they built “khandzan” – a grapevine, inside which a reservoir was laid out. In this tank, made of brick or stone, men pressed grapes. This was done with carefully washed bare feet. Through the hole in this tank, the wort poured into a stone vat in the ground. Then it was poured into clay vessels (in Armenian, “karasses”). According to the Urartian tradition, the filled vessels were dug into the ground, where they were stored. It should be noted that there is a special grapes in Armenia. It contains a large amount of sugar.
Armenia is a country with a rich history.
Armenia is among the first emerging countries in the world, because already in the ninth century before the new era in its territory there was a strong slaveholding state of Urartu.In addition, Armenia is the first Christian state on Earth. Since the time of Urartu and until our time, a huge number of historical and cultural monuments have gradually accumulated in the territory of Armenia. The main sights of Armenia can be seen in the vicinity of its capital – the city of Yerevan. But there are many important historical monuments in the most “deaf” corners of Armenia.
Yerevan is the oldest city on earth.
Definitely, is one of them. On the territory of modern Yerevan in 782 BC the Urartian king Argishta 1 founded the city of Erebuni. During the archaeological excavations were found houses made of raw brick, numerous outbuildings. But, undoubtedly, the main attraction is the canal, made in the rock by slaves, which functions till now. In the city of Yerevan, another city of the Urartu state, Teishebaini, was excavated. During the excavations, the remains of a huge house were found, the walls of which were also made of adobe bricks (their thickness reached three and a half meters). In the basement of this huge house there were about one hundred and fifty rooms. The house had four dwellings with ten rooms, apparently intended for senior officials, as well as a large number of dwellings in two rooms. In addition, there were huge storage rooms that could hold up to seven hundred and fifty tons of grain. Teishebaini died, most likely, at the hands of the Scythians, since Scythian arrows were found in his walls (the Scythians were stunning archers both pedestrian and equestrian). His fall became an integral part of the general death of the state of Urartu, which ceased to exist in 535 BC. Urartu died at the hands of the Medes, but the tribes enslaved by the Urartians played a large role in this.
Yerevan is a city of countless attractions.
The Yerevan fortress built in the sixteenth century is interesting in its center, the Matenadaran is a repository of manuscripts (the number of manuscripts dating from the fifth to the tenth centuries exceeds sixteen thousand), numerous squares, the Armenian Genocide Museum dedicated to the heroes of the Karabakh war, the memorial monument of Yerablur and others in the center Yerevan you can see a huge number of colorful buildings. The facades of many of these buildings are lined with volcanic tuff – a material specific for Armenia. The House of Chamber Music, the Opera and Ballet Theater, the Academy of Sciences Ensemble, the House of Chessmen (made in triangular form), the Yerevan Brandy Factory, the “Fountain Boulevard”, the former House of Unions, the “Armenia” Hotel, etc. have an original architectural appearance. During its history, many churches were built. Currently, a tourist who has arrived to the city can get acquainted with the ruins of the Avan temple, dating from the sixth century, the grandiose Yerevan Cathedral, the churches of St. Zoravor (1693 – one of the oldest churches in the city), St. Gevork (erected in the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries) St. Astvatsatsin (the seventeenth century), St. Hakob (the seventeenth century), St. Hovhannes-Mkrtich (1710), St. Sargis (built between 1835 and 1842), St. Katogike (erected in fifteenth century).
As for the museum expositions, by their number, the Armenian capital is quite able to argue with any other capital of the political map of the world. Among the museums of Yerevan are: the Museum of Folk Art, the Museum of History of Yerevan, the Museum of Ethnography, the Museum of Russian Art, the Yervand Kochar House Museum, the Exhibition Hall of the Union of Artists, the Museum of Modern Art, the Hovhannes Tumanyan Museum, the Aram Khachaturian House Museum, the History Museum, the Picture Gallery , The Museum of the Revolution, the Museum of Literature and Art, the Martiros Saryan House Museum Avetik Isahakyan’s House Museum, and the Museum Complex, which is large in size, occupying most of the Republic Square.
Armenia is a country of stone.
This is how Armenians call their land (“Hayastan – Karastan”). It should be noted that the features characteristic of Armenian architecture predetermined the mountainous landscape of Armenia.The monuments of architecture of the Middle Ages are scattered throughout Armenia. Like the surrounding mountains, Armenian buildings are monumental and powerful. A single image is made up of architectural monuments, the teeth of the surrounding ridges and rocky Armenian soil. The traditional architecture of the country is represented mainly by the temple architecture of monasteries, monasteries, churches. The architecture of the Early Middle Ages (fifth-sixth centuries) is represented mainly by basilicas. This type of structure is characterized by the elevation of the central part, the presence of several rows of columns, an elongated rectangular shape. At the end of the sixth century and in the seventh century, the central-domed and cross-domed architectural compositions became widespread. Over time, the temple appearance changed. Simple structures became more complex. The strictness of church buildings was replaced by their elegance. However, despite the addition of new elements, the improvement of forms, temple structures have retained their main traditional features. Simple and strict church buildings become more elegant and complex. Forms were improved, new elements were added, for example, a dome drum. But in general, traditional temple buildings have common main features. A special place in the temple architecture belongs to the monastery complex, which consisted of a whole set of elements: bell towers, chapels, a cathedral, a sacristy, a library, a refectory. The monastery ensemble was often surrounded by a wall. The farm buildings and the veins of the room adjoined the wall. The appearance of the first monasteries dates back to the seventh century, and the flowering of their construction is the twelfth century. A large number of feudal castles are also scattered across Armenia. These are fortresses, bridges, caravanserais, castles, palaces. It’s not just that the country is called a “museum under the open sky.” The jewel of the Middle Ages Gegard, the temple of Zvartnots (the seventh century), the domed temples of Echmiadzin (the fourth century), the Temple of the Sun Garni (dates from the third to the second centuries BC) are famous all over the world. This is a magnificent monument of Hellenism.
Khachkars are an original element of Armenian culture.
Khachkars (cross stones) can even be called a symbol of Armenia. There is nothing like this in any country in the world. The very word “khachkar” includes two Armenian roots. “Car” in Armenian means “stone”, and “hach” – “cross”.
Khachkars – decorative and architectural sculptures. This special kind of art, distinguished by its richness and variety of forms, is based on ancient Armenian traditions. Khachkars began to appear after Armenia accepted Christianity, that is, at the beginning of the fourth century. Instead of pagan altars, wooden crosses were installed. Crosses also appeared in the places where the construction of monasteries and churches was later planned. However, in view of the fact that the tree as a material for construction is very short-lived, soon the crosses began to be made of stone. Since the ninth century the crosses have been replaced by their images on rectangular stone slabs. Beginning from the same time, khachkars are established in honor, the memory of any events or in gratitude for anything. Reasons for erecting khachkar could be: gratitude for the land allotment, the end of construction, the victory over the enemies. Khachkars could play the role of gravestones as well as landmarks.
A faded cross is the central symbol of each “cross-stone”. It is a symbol of eternal life. Under him, the Armenians carved a circle. This composition represented the triumph of the Christian faith. Above the cross, as a rule, an angel, a bull, a lion and an eagle were depicted – symbols of four evangelists common to all Christian confessions. Creators khachkars called Warpets, their creativity is alive and now.
Tsaghkadzor is the famous Armenian ski resort.
Tsakhkadzor lies at a height of one thousand nine hundred to two thousand one hundred meters above sea level, in the amazingly beautiful valley of the Marmarik River.It should be admitted, however, that this resort was more famous in the previous time, but now it attracts many fans of skiing. The resort is equipped with several lifts, has about twelve kilometers of ski slopes. On the territory of Tsakhkadzor there are a track and field stadium, several swimming pools, a stable, a large sports complex. After skiing, you can have a snack in one of the cafes or bars, and choose a restaurant for a romantic evening. Dishes can be tasted as usual European, and traditional Armenian.
Near the resort you can see the monastery complex Kecharis erected in the twelfth-thirteenth centuries. Winter in the ski resort is quite mild. In January, the average air temperature is minus nine degrees Celsius. Two hundred and sixty-two hundred and seventy days a year the sun shines, the skiing season begins in the second half of November and lasts until the middle of April, at which time the snow cover reaches one and a half meters. All lovers of skiing, regardless of the level of preparation, can have a good time at this resort. About three kilometers of the track is ideal for quiet skiing. The height difference is only two hundred and thirty meters, the slopes are equipped with a chair lift. In the upper part of the mountain there are localized routes, the height difference of which is three hundred and fifty meters. On these routes there is a thousand-meter chairlift. From the top there is an excellent panorama to Sevan and Ararat, for the brave ones there are very steep slopes. The resort is equipped with very extreme trails, which can be reached by crossing the range of the neighboring mountain on the pass.
The main negative point in Tsaghkadzor is frequent fogs, and in a thick fog it is strictly not recommended to ride, especially if the tourist enjoys active rest alone. Not all the territory of the resort is cleared for trails, therefore, without having studied the terrain in advance, you can not jump.
The rules of road traffic in Armenia are practically not observed.
Unfortunately, this is often the case. In this regard, the driver must be extremely careful while driving. First, the roads themselves are of very poor quality, badly worn. Secondly, there can be no roads in provinces and mountainous areas at all. Thirdly, Armenians often do not observe the rules of the road – it is often difficult to notice any signs of the organization in the movement of cars. It should be noted that pedestrians are also not disciplined. Armenians can go any route, as well as wherever they like. This applies even to national routes. Street lighting is often absent, and if it is, it is very meager. Only in Yerevan, you can refuel with good quality gasoline, while in the provinces they offer fuel of unknown origin. Sell it directly from your hands in bottles or jars.
Armenia is the keeper of centuries-old traditions.
Armenians are people who are aware of their cultural unity. National traditions, rooted in antiquity, culture, religion – this is the true spiritual wealth, to which every citizen of Armenia treats with reverence. Traditions connected with the strength of marriage, hospitality, mutual assistance (both neighborly and relatives), the breadth of kinship ties and veneration of elders have become firmly rooted in the life of Armenians.
Armenian wedding is a huge holiday.
Marriage is never complete without a wide variety of fun rituals. Wedding traditions include collusion and betrothal, followed immediately by a wedding celebration. Earlier Armenians walked around the village “seven days, seven nights”, but now this tradition can be considered already outdated. But invited to the wedding is always a lot, witnesses are called “godfathers” – usually the couple closest to the newly married couple, which for the bride and groom is an example.The most expensive gift to the bride and groom is made just by the godfather, he is responsible for the ransom of the bride. As for the latter, relatives can “request” any amount. To pay the appointed ransom is a matter of honor for the godfather. However, usually these are purely symbolic sums. The godfathers and brides are responsible for their family, and the planted father leads the bride to the altar. The following custom is interesting: during the wedding ceremony the bride is allowed to hold the boy. It is believed that this procedure will help ensure that the first child in the family is also a boy.
The Armenian family has many children.
In particular, the tradition of having many children is characteristic of rural areas of Armenia. The birth of every child Armenians are always happy, this event is regarded as happiness. In Armenia, it is not customary to show a newborn child within forty days after his birth to anyone but his relatives.
Armenians are hospitable people.
This feature of the character of Armenians is known all over the world. In order to cover the table and invite relatives and friends to visit, only an occasion is needed, and it can become a simple feeling of happiness or joy. Armenians quite sincerely believe that the more you gather relatives at the table, the more time you give them, the more you will return to you.
The houses in the Armenian villages still retain a traditional look.
They are characterized by the following. The roof of Armenian houses is earthy. It is installed on wooden poles. The walls are made of stone. The dwelling itself has a square shape. Since ancient times, light could get into the house through the window, sometimes the only source of light was a chimney in the roof. For a long time, the interior of the houses was not changed at all. The main place in the living quarters of Armenians was occupied by the following things: a wooden barn, shelves, chests. There was room for flour and grain in the barn. The shelves were filled with dishes made of various materials (wood, copper, clay). By tradition, the Armenians sat directly on the floor, while using ordinary litter. Right on the floor, the locals spread a tablecloth, behind which meals were held. Large wooden ottomans played the role of beds. The traditional interior of the house necessarily includes old utensils, mattresses, quilts, carpets.
The traditional clothes of Armenians are very colorful.
Traditional costume for men includes wide trousers and a colored shirt. The trousers are made of cotton or wool, and the shirt is made of cotton or silk. The shirt is endowed with a side clasp and has a low collar. Upper Armenian clothing is Arhaluk, put on top of a shirt (made of silk or cotton). Arkhaluk is fastened either to small buttons or to hooks, which follow practically along its entire length, beginning from the collar, and ending with the waist. Arkhaluk himself descends to his knees. The basis of traditional clothes for women was a long dress. It somehow resembled Arkhaluk. The traditional dress has cuts below the hips and a cutout on the chest. Talia Armenian women tied a long, folded in a few layers, a scarf. The inherent Armenian dress was the embroidered apron and many ornaments. Men’s headdresses from Western Armenians were woven or knitted hats, at the eastern – fur hats. More diverse female headgear. Especially the diversity is characteristic of the Eastern Armenians. At them the headdress was a kind of “turrets” tied with several headscarves. The handkerchiefs covered part of the face, and all the headgear contained many ornaments. Decorated head rims were popular with Western Armenian women. Over the rims of the women threw cloaks.
The Armenian holiday “Trndez” has pagan roots.
Indeed, the festival came from those ancient times when people worshiped fire. This holiday will mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Its main event is the jumping of the newlyweds through a large fire, diluted in the courtyard of the church.It is believed that this unpretentious procedure allows you to cleanse yourself from all bad things, thereby eliminating misfortunes, arrogance and anger. The coming of spring in Armenia is also devoted to another holiday – “Tsarzardar” or “Tsakhkazard”. On this day, Armenians bring to the church willow branches (necessarily fallen).
“Vardavar” is a festival of water.
It is held in early August. This is the time when the fields suffer the most from drought, and the days are very hot. The saving holiday is also rooted in pagan times. Traditionally, on this day, the townspeople shower each other with water. The holiday is very fun.