The Republic of Armenia is a country landlocked in the southeastern part of Europe, between the Black and the Caspian Seas, and occupies the northeastern part of the Armenian Highlands. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran to the south. The country declared its independence in 1991 after nearly 70 years of existence as part of the former Soviet Union.
Two-third of the territory of Armenia is uncultivated, and the remaining one-third of the land has been cultivated through tremendous effort and enormous contribution. This is why they say, “Armenians squeeze their bread out of stone”. The legend goes that when Armenians came to God to request their piece of land, all lands had already been distributed and God gave them this rocky highland. People irrigated it
The capital of Armenia is Yerevan, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world. It is the 13th capital city in the history of Armenia and its history dates back to the 8th century BC, with the founding of the fortress of Erebuni in 782 BC by Кing Argishti I. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan nowadays is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country. It has been the capital since 1918, i.e. after World War I, when thousands of survivors of the Armenian Genocide settled in the area or scattered across the world.
The city expanded rapidly during the 20th century as Armenia became one of the 15 republics in the Soviet Union. Since the beginning of the 21st century Yerevan has been undergoing major transformation as many parts of the city became construction sites for new buildings. Restaurants, shops and street cafes, which were rare during Soviet times, have multiplied. As of 2011, the population of Yerevan was 1,121,900 people making up to 34% of the total population of Armenia.
Around 97% of Armenians are Christians. The Kingdom of Armenia became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD. In 2001 Armenia celebrated the 1700th Anniversary of the Adoption of Christianity. The modern Republic of Armenia recognizes the Armenian Apostolic Church, the world’s oldest national church, as the country’s primary religious establishment. Christianity has a strong influence in the country, but there is a small presence of other religions too.
Armenia has a population of 3.02 (2012 est.). Ethnic Armenians make up 97.9% of the population. Yezidis make up 1.3%, and Russians 0.5%. Other minorities include Assyrians, Ukrainians, Greeks and Georgians. There has been a problem of population decline due to elevated levels of migration after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Armenia has a relatively large diaspora (8 million by some estimates, greatly exceeding the 3 million population of Armenia itself), with communities existing across the globe. The largest Armenian communities outside of Armenia can be found in Russia, France, Iran, the United States, Georgia, Syria, Lebanon, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Poland and Ukraine. 40,000 to 70,000 Armenians still live in Turkey (mostly in and around Istanbul). Also, about 1,000 Armenians reside in the Armenian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, a remnant of a once-larger community.
The climate in Armenia is markedly continental with dry sunny summers and cold winters. Summer season lasts from June to mid-September with the temperature fluctuating between 22 and 36 °C (72 and 97 °F). Winters bring plenty of snow, with temperatures ranging between -10 and -5 °C (14 and 23 °F). However, the low humidity level mitigates the effect of high temperatures. Evening breezes blowing down the mountains provide a welcome refreshing and cooling effect. Springs are short, while falls are long and beautiful with vibrant and colorful foliage
The official language of the country is Armenian language, but the majority of the population also speaks Russian and English. The Armenian language belongs to the Indo-European family of languages, but stands out as a separate subgroup. Among Indo-European languages, Armenian is one of the ancient written languages and has its own alphabet from the year 406 A.D.
The primary air gate to Armenia, Zvartnots International Airport has been in operation since 1961. It is only 12 km from the center of Yerevan. To meet international standards, during the recent years the airport has undergone extensive reconstruction with a new passenger terminal renovated, security controls doubled, runway fully repaired, WiFi connection made available at waiting areas and passenger service areas, restaurants and duty-free shops enhanced, new information and check-in systems installed and a new parking area for 800 cars built. The airport has a transit zone, VIP and Business lounges and can handle any type of modern commercial aircraft. Today Zvartnots is the only airport in the Caucasus that corresponds to the rating ‘B’. The airport has the capacity to serve 3.5 million passengers annually.
Armenia Standard Time is 4 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT +4 hours)
Voltage – 220V; frequency – 50Hz; plugs normally have two holes. For electric appliances with triple plugs, flat plugs or other kind you would require an adapter.
Tap water in Armenia is drinkable. It is mainly fresh spring water coming from the mountains. However, those who prefer bottled water are recommended NOY, BYUREGH or APARAN still spring water, as well as JERMUK, DILIJAN or BJNI sparkling mineral water that can be purchased in stores, supermarkets and hotels.
Criminal activity in Armenia associated with violence and robbery is very low, especially when aliens are concerned. That is more of a national tradition and mentality that a foreigner is God’s messenger and should be treated with deference and respect. As citizens of the first Christian country in the world, Armenians are still loyal to the commandments of God “share your bread with the hungry and bring the poor wanderer to your home”… Thus, you can feel quite safe both within and without your hotel even in late hours.