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About Armenia

The Republic of Armenia (September 21,1991)
Governmental status: republic
National flag: rectangular panel with three equal horizontal stripes of red, blue and colour of apricot
Area: 29,800 km2
Population: 3,300,000
Capital: Yerevan
Religion: Christianity (Armenian Apostolic Church)
State language: Armenian
National currency: Dram (international currency code - AMD)
Time zone:  4 hours ahead of GMT.
Climate: dry, continental
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (September 2, 1991)
Area: 12,520 km2
Population:  150,000
Capital:  Stepanakert


Hayastan-Armenia [according to Movses Khorenatsi (V c.), the names of the Motherland of Armenians are derived from the names of their eponyms- ancestors - Hayk and his descendant Aram] is the cradle of the Armenian people and civilization. Mt. Ararat-Masis (5,165 m) is the highest peak of the Armenian Highland.

“Noah descending from the Mt. Ararat”
by Hovhannes Ayvazovski 
Mt. Ararat-Masis

Great Armenia (312,000 km2) consists of fifteen ashkharh-k’ - lands (or provinces): Bardzr Hayk’-Upper Armenia, Tsopk’, Aghdznik’, Turuberan), Mokk’, Korchaik’, Nor-Shirakan, Vaspurakan, Siunik’ (with Nakhijevan), Artsakh, Utik’, Paitakaran, Gugark’ (with Javakhk’), Taik’, and Ayrarat. Armenia Minor (68,000 km2) is to the west of Great Armenia. Cilician Armenia (40,000 km2) is situated in the north-eastern coastal zone of the Mediterranean Sea.


The archeological monuments, the Summerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Hittite inscriptions testify to the Armenian statehood (the kingdoms of Aratta, Armanum, Hayasa, Nairi headed by the Haykian dynasty) in III and II millennia B.C.
In IX-VII centuries B.C. the Armenian Van (Ararat or Urartu) Kingdom was a highly developed state, with a strong army, cities-citadels and temple centers (capital Van, Erebuni-Yerevan - 782 B.C., Argishtikhinili-Armavir, Ardini-Musasir, Teyshebaini etc.), irrigational system.

Since VI century B.C. the Armenian Kingdom headed by the Haikian-Ervandian dynasty was an important political force in Western Asia. In a Greek inscription found in Armavir is written: “Beautiful country Armenia”
In 189 B.C. the King of Great Armenia Artashes I built a new capital Artashat and made up important state reforms. The Haikian-Ervandian-Artashesian Kingdom of Great Armenia reached the peak of its might during Tigran II the Great’s reign (95-55 B.C.). Armenian Empire reached the Mediterranean, Caspian and Black Seas, Persian Gulf and Iranian plateau.

King of Kings
Tigran II the Great

Civilizational activities of the King of Kings Tigran II the Great were realized in the construction of new cities [the capital Tigranakert in the region of Aghdznik (in the south-west of Armenia), Tigranakert in Artsakh and the cities with the same name in Utik and Goghtn etc.], patronage of arts, the coinage, protection of the Hellenistic countries of the East from the brigandage attacks. Tigran II took under his control the Western Asia’s part of the Silk Road.
In 301 Christianity was proclaimed as the state religion in Armenia, the first in the world by the activities of the Armenian King Trdat III the Great and St. Grigor Lusavoritch (the Enlightener). In 405 St. Mesrop Mashtots invented the Armenian alphabet. In Middle Ages developed historiography, philosophy, cosmography, geography, education and architecture in Armenia.

With the abolition of the Armenian Arshakuni Kingdom (428 A.D.) Armenian statehood represented by the Armenian nakharar system entered a hard period of serious testing. In 450-451 a rebellion broke out headed by Vardan Mamikonian in defense of the Motherland and the Christian faith against the Sassanid Persia’s political, economic and religious pressure.

In 484 - the first half of VI century Armenian regions of Artsakh and Utik comprised the Armenian Kingdom of Vachagan the Pious by birth of the Haikian-Sisakian-Aranshahik family. During the reign of Vachagan the Pious the eastern dioceses of the Armenian Apostolic Church prospered in Artsakh, Utik and adjacent territories.

The struggle against the Persian, Byzantine and later Arab expansion succeeded in restoration of the Armenian Kingdom in 885. During the Armenian Bagratid Kingdom (885-1045) kings Ashot I, Smbat I, Ashot II Erkat (Iron), Абас (capital - Kars) Ashot III Merciful, Smbat II, Gagik I, Hovhannes-Smbat, Gagik II and the kings of other Armenian kingdoms (Vaspurakan, Kars, Siunik, Tashir-Dzoraget, Parisos) defended and reinforced of the Armenian state. Town-planning, architecture, the art of khachkars (cross-stones), crafts. agriculture and trade prospered. Capital Ani (since 961) in Shirak – famous for the masterpieces Armenian classical architecture – became one of the biggest cities in the world.

In Cilician Armenia (the Princedom since the 1080s; the Kingdom - 1198-1375, capital Sis) developed a prosperous economy based on agriculture, crafts and sea-trade with European countries. Armenian coins were struck in Cilician Armenia, developed education, architecture and certain spheres of art, especially, miniature.

King Leo the Magnificent
of the Armenian
Kingdom of Cilicia

At the reign of Leo the Magnificent (since 1187 prince, king in 1198-1219) the first in the world in the sphere of the maritime legislation were put bases for abolishion of Jus litoris. The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia had a strong army and fleet.

Armenian princes of the Zakarian family headed the struggle against the Seljuks and at the beginning of XIII c. restored an independent Armenian statehood in the north-еastern part of Armenia. In this period Artsakh-Khachen and Siunik were strong princedoms. In 1441 the Armenian catholicos See returned to St.Ejmiadzin from Sis according to the decision of the fathers of the Armenian Church.

Armenia suffered heavy human and material losses because of the Seljuk-Turkic and Mongol devastating invasions and during the Turkic-Persian wars and divisions in XVI-XVII centuries.
At the end of XIXc. the systematic massacres of Armenians in Western Armenia were committed by the Turkish blood thirsty rulers. These criminal actions were continued by the Young Turks. More than 1,5 million Armenians were exterminated during the Armenian Genocide (culminated in 1915) criminally organized by the Turkish authorities in Western Armenia, Armenian Cilicia and other territories occupied by the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1923.

The Tsitsernakaberd Armenian
Genocide memorial

Those Armenians who had survived the Genocide and deportations escaped to Eastern Armenia, others - to foreign countries and they formed the Armenian Disapora (Spyurk).

After the May heroic battles of the Armenian people against the Turkish invaders on 28 of May 1918 the First Republic of Armenia (RA) was established (1918-1920) which suffered hard times (hundreds of thousands of refugees, famine, epidemics, Turkish aggression, etc.).

On 10 August 1920 was signed the Treaty of Sèvres between the Western Allied Powers and the defeated the Ottoman Empire’s government. Wilsonian Armenia refers to the boundary configuration of the First Republic of Armenia in the Treaty of Sèvres.

After Sovietization (29.11. 1920) was formed Armenian SSR (capital Yerevan). In 1921 Armenian territories - the Kars oblast (with Ardahan, Kaghzvan and Olti-Ukhtik) and Surmalu (Surbmari) region (with Ani, Mt.Ararat, Igdir) by the unlawful Soviet-Turkish treaties signed in Moscow and Kars the Soviet centre ceded to Turkey, at the same time Nakhijevan – to Azerbaijan SSR. By the unlawful resolutions of Kavburo Mountainous Karabakh (Mountainous Artsakh) was also annexed to the the latter and Javakhk to Georgian SSR.
Armenian people suffered great losses in the 1930s - during the political repressions in the USSR. But after WWII, during several decades there were many achievements in industry, sciences, architecture, literature, arts and sports.

Byurakan astrophysical observatory

The church of St. John the Baptist
(1216—1238) and gavit (vestibule)
(1250— the 1260s) of the
monastery of Gandzasar

Constitutional right of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh AO - to reunite with Soviet Armenia, was opposed by genocidal actions (in Sumgait, February 1988 and Baku, January 1990) and deportation of Armenians from Soviet Azerbaijan organized by official Baku.

The Spitak earthquake (1988) resulted in more than 30,000 victims. Gyumri, Spitak and Vanadzor were destroyed. Many countries of the world sent humanitarian aid.
After the USSR’s break-up the independent Republic of Armenia suffered a period of a deep economic decline. The legal expression of the Artsakh Armenians’s free will was opposed by the aggression of Azerbaijan and the war resulted in many victims and destructions. Liberation of Shushi (8/9. 05. 1992) was the unprecedented expression of the military art and courage. Armenian forces of self-defence heroically liberated a part of Artsakh.

In 1994 a cease-fire was agreed and the negotiations started, but the defeated aggressor Azerbaijan continues to brake border regime. The Republic of Armenia and Artsakh Republic are situated in the eastern part of the Armenian Highland and constitute one-tenth of historical Armenia.


Emblem of Republic of Armenia


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