Armenia, situated in the Armenian Highlands of West Asia, is a landlocked nation within the broader Caucasus region. It shares its borders with Turkey to the West, Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the East, and to the South, it is adjacent to Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan.
There’s probably a lot that you don’t know about this country, but today my is to change that…
Here are 21 Interesting Facts You Might Not Know About Armenia
1. The capital of Armenia is the city of Yerevan. The city has an estimated population of 1.1 million.
2. The country has an estimated population of 2.7 million (according to 2021 statistics). The country has an area of 29,743 square kilometres (11,483 square miles). That’s slightly smaller than Belgium and the US State of Maryland.
3. Chess is a compulsory subject in schools in Armenia. All students have to take chess as a compulsory subject in school and there are even exams for it.
4. The world’s first country to formally adopt Christianity as its official state religion was this country. Numerous churches have been built in St. Gregory the Illuminator’s honor throughout history as a result of his crucial involvement in the country’s conversion to Christianity in the year 301 AD.
5. Urartu, the first Armenian state, was founded around 860 BC. It was replaced by the Satrapy of Armenia by the sixth century BC. During Tigranes the Great’s rule in the first century BC, the Kingdom of Armenia reached its pinnacle.
6. The Byzantine and Sasanian Empires separated the ancient Armenian kingdom at the beginning of the fifth century. The Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia was successfully restored by the Bagratuni dynasty in the ninth century, although it gradually collapsed and was overthrown in 1045. Cilician Armenia, which began as an Armenian principality and eventually developed into a kingdom, was located along the Mediterranean Sea coast from the 11th to the 14th century.
7. The Ottoman and Persian empires alternatedly ruled over the historical Armenian lands of Eastern Armenia and Western Armenia from the 16th to the 19th centuries.
8. By the 19th century, most of Western Armenia was still governed by the Ottoman Empire, but Eastern Armenia had been annexed by Russia. Tragically, the Armenian genocide took place during World War I, killing 1.5 million Armenians who were living in their native homelands under the Ottoman Empire.
9. As a result of the Russian Revolution and the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1918, all non-Russian nations declared their independence, opening the path for the establishment of the First Republic of Armenia. This republic, however, was subsumed into the Soviet Union by 1920. The modern Republic of Armenia did not regain its independence until 1991, during the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
10. Armenia is home to the world’s first built church. Holy Etchmiadzin became the first state church in the world in the early fourth century. This holy location serves as the focal center for all Armenian churches and is one of the world’s most popular pilgrimage destinations.
11. The locals use a tonir to bake their lavash. Lavash is a thin coating of chewy flat bread made from flour, salt, and water and baked in a tonir. Lavash may be stored for a year without spoiling. As a result, the local women frequently bake the lavash in bulk and store it for the next few months.
12. The entire country worships Mt Ararat, which also serves as the country’s national symbol. According to tour guides, Mt Ararat shielded the country from a massive earthquake! They also think that Noah’s ark was discovered on Mt Ararat’s top. Unfortunately, Mt Ararat is currently not even on Armenian land (it’s part of Turkey nowadays).
13. Yerevan is also known as the “pink city”.The city’s structures are mostly composed of naturally colored volcanic rocks in various colors of pink.
14. The Temple of Garni is an important Greco-Roman construction in the country. It was erected in the Ionic order and is a notable symbol of pre-Christian Armenia. It is located in the village of Garni.
It was most likely built in the first century AD as a temple to the sun deity Mihr, although it later became a royal summer home. This ancient landmark was damaged by an earthquake in 1679 but was rebuilt between 1969 and 1975. It is now a prominent tourist destination and plays an important role in Armenian neopaganism.
15. Yerevan ranks among the ancient cities of the world, with its establishment dating back to 782 BC when King Argishti founded it. Remarkably, Yerevan boasts an age that predates Rome by 29 years. In 2018, the city commemorated its impressive 2,800th anniversary.
16. The Areni-1 cave, located in Vayots Dzor is renowned as the world’s oldest winery, dating back to 4100 BC. This historic site is celebrated for its wine press, fermentation containers, pottery, and drinking vessels. Archaeologists made a significant discovery of Vitis vinifera seeds and grapevines within this ancient cave, suggesting that winemaking in that era was already a highly developed process, likely extending even further into the past.
In 2007, a team of archaeologists unearthed the Areni-1 winery within the Areni-1 cave complex near the village of Areni. Adjacent to the village, they also found remarkably preserved artifacts, including a 5500-year-old leather moccasin, alongside a wine press, fermentation and storage vessels, and desiccated grapevines, offering a glimpse into the practices of that time.
17. The Tatev Monastery is a 9th-century Armenian Christian monastery situated on a vast basalt plateau near the village of Tatev in the country’s South-Eastern Syunik Province. Often referred to simply as “Tatev,” the monastery is perched on the brink of a deep gorge along the Vorotan River. It served as the bishopric seat of Syunik and held a pivotal role in the region’s history, functioning as a hub for economic, political, spiritual, and cultural activities.
18. On October 16, 2010, the Wings Of Tatev cableway, celebrated as the most scenic and efficient route to the Tatev Monastery, was officially inaugurated. This aerial passage made its mark in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s lengthiest reversible cableway, setting records not only for its extensive cable track, spanning 5,752 meters, but also for its impressively rapid construction, completed in just 10 months. The cableway showcases advanced engineering solutions by the Austrian-Swiss Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group.
19. The country is making remarkable progress in promoting the use of natural gas for cars to combat air pollution. As of 2006, around 30% of the country’s vehicles were already using natural gas. By 2015, this figure had surged to approximately 77% of the total vehicle population. The conversion of car engines to run on natural gas instead of traditional oil or diesel fuels is a significant part of this initiative, leading the way towards achieving 100% natural gas-powered vehicles.
20. A state of conflict persists between Armenia and Azerbaijan (its neighbour). The origins of this ongoing dispute can be traced back to the Nagorno-Karabakh War of 1988 when ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh sought separation from Azerbaijan. Despite a ceasefire agreement signed in 1994, sporadic skirmishes along the borders have endured, keeping the tensions alive to the present day.
21. There is a prohibition in the nation against playing guitars, pianos, drums, or any other musical instruments during nighttime hours. Those found engaging in such activities can face legal charges and be brought before a court.
Well, there you have it, 21 Interesting Facts you might not have known about Armenia. If I’ve left out something important, feel free to comment below.
Check out this drone footage of the country below:
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