Armenia

Armenia

Overview
Armenia officially the Republic of Armenia (Հայաստանի Հանրապետություն, Hayastani Hanrapetut’yun, hɑjɑstɑˈni hɑnɾɑpɛtuˈtʰjun), is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 region of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, it is bordered by Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 to the west, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 to the north, the de facto independent
Independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

 Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic , or Artsakh Republic is a de facto independent republic located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 to the east, and Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the south.

A former republic of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, Armenia is a unitary
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

, multiparty
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

, democratic nation-state with an ancient and historic cultural heritage
Cultural heritage
Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations...

.
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Timeline

1916   World War I: In Armenia, Russian troops capture Gumiskhanek.

1918   Armenia defeats the Ottoman Army in the Battle of Sardarapat.

1921   Turkey makes peace with Armenia.

1922   The Treaty of Kars is ratified in Yerevan, Armenia.

1983   A terrorist attack is launched by Armenian militant organisation ASALA at the Paris-Orly Airport in Paris; it leaves 8 people dead and 55 injured.

1988   Spitak Earthquake: In Armenia an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale kills nearly 25,000, injures 15,000 and leaves 400,000 homeless.

1990   Armenia declares its independence from the Soviet Union.

1991   Armenia is granted independence from Soviet Union.

1992   Khojaly massacre: about 613 civilians are killed by Armenian armed forces during the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan

1992   Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, San Marino, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan join the United Nations.

 
Encyclopedia
Armenia officially the Republic of Armenia (Հայաստանի Հանրապետություն, Hayastani Hanrapetut’yun, hɑjɑstɑˈni hɑnɾɑpɛtuˈtʰjun), is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 region of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, it is bordered by Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 to the west, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 to the north, the de facto independent
Independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

 Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic , or Artsakh Republic is a de facto independent republic located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 to the east, and Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the south.

A former republic of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, Armenia is a unitary
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

, multiparty
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

, democratic nation-state with an ancient and historic cultural heritage
Cultural heritage
Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations...

. The Kingdom of Armenia became the first state to adopt Christianity as its religion in the early years of the 4th century (the traditional date is 301). The modern Republic of Armenia recognizes the Armenian Apostolic Church
Armenian Apostolic Church
The Armenian Apostolic Church is the world's oldest National Church, is part of Oriental Orthodoxy, and is one of the most ancient Christian communities. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD, in establishing this church...

 as the national church
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

 of Armenia, although the republic has separation of church and state
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

.

Armenia is a member of more than 40 international organisations
International organization
An intergovernmental organization, sometimes rendered as an international governmental organization and both abbreviated as IGO, is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states , or of other intergovernmental organizations...

, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

, the Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia...

, the Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

, the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

, World Customs Organization
World Customs Organization
The World Customs Organization is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. With its worldwide membership, the WCO is recognized as the voice of the global customs community...

, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
On 25 June 1992, the Heads of State and Government of eleven countries signed in Istanbul the Summit Declaration and the Bosporus Statement giving birth to the Black Sea Economic Cooperation ...

, and La Francophonie. It is a member of the CSTO
Collective Security Treaty Organisation
The Collective Security Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance which was signed on 15 May 1992. On 7 October 2002, the Presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan signed a charter in Tashkent founding the CSTO.Nikolai Bordyuzha was appointed...

 military alliance, and also participates in NATO's Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation program aimed at creating trust between NATO and other states in Europe and the former Soviet Union; 22 States are members...

 (PfP) programme. In 2004 its forces joined KFOR, a NATO-led international force in Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

. It is also an observer member of the Eurasian Economic Community
Eurasian Economic Community
The Eurasian Economic Community originated from the Commonwealth of Independent States customs union between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan on 29 March 1996...

 and the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

. The country is an emerging democracy, and is currently in a negotiation process with the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, of which it may become an Associate Member in the near future. The Government of Armenia holds European integration as a key priority in its foreign policy as it is considered a European country by the European Union.

Etymology



The native Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

 name for the country is . The name in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 was extended to Hayastan, by addition of the Iranian
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 suffix -stan
-stan
The suffix -stan is Persian for "place of", a cognate to Pashto -tun and to Indo-Aryan -sthāna , a Sanskrit suffix with a similar meaning...

(land).
The name has traditionally been derived from Hayk , the legendary patriarch of the Armenians
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 and a great-great-grandson of Noah
Noah
Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

, who according to Moses of Chorene defeated the Babylonian king Bel in 2492 BC
3rd millennium BC
The 3rd millennium BC spans the Early to Middle Bronze Age.It represents a period of time in which imperialism, or the desire to conquer, grew to prominence, in the city states of the Middle East, but also throughout Eurasia, with Indo-European expansion to Anatolia, Europe and Central Asia. The...

, and established his nation in the Ararat
Ararat, Armenia
Ararat is a city in Armenia in the province of Ararat, about 42 km northwest of Yerevan.The Ararat Cement Factory has been opened in 1927 along with small apartments to accommodate the workers. In 1935, it was incorporated with the village of Davalu. In 1939 the town of Ararat was officially...

 region. The further origin of the name is uncertain.

The exonym
Exonym and endonym
In ethnolinguistics, an endonym or autonym is a local name for a geographical feature, and an exonym or xenonym is a foreign language name for it...

 Armenia is attested in the Old Persian
Old Persian language
The Old Persian language is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages . Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, and seals of the Achaemenid era...

 Behistun inscription
Behistun Inscription
The Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription The Behistun Inscription (also Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: بیستون The Behistun Inscription (also Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: بیستون...

 (515 BC) as Armina ( ). Ancient Greek Armenia, Αρμενια "Armenians" is first mentioned by Hecataeus of Miletus (476 BC). Xenophon
Xenophon
Xenophon , son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens, was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, philosopher and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates...

, a Greek general serving in some of the Persian expeditions, describes many aspects of Armenian village life and hospitality. He relates that the people spoke a language that to his ear sounded like the language of the Persians
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

. According to the histories of both Moses of Chorene and Michael Chamich, Armenia derives from the name of Aram
Aram
-Bible:* Aram, son of Shem, according to the "Table of Nations" in Genesis 10* Aram-Naharaim , the land in which the city of Haran lay* Aram , an ancient region containing the state of Aram Damascus...

, a lineal descendent of Hayk.

Antiquity




Armenia lies in the highlands surrounding the Biblical mountains of Ararat
Mount Ararat
Mount Ararat is a snow-capped, dormant volcanic cone in Turkey. It has two peaks: Greater Ararat and Lesser Ararat .The Ararat massif is about in diameter...

, upon which Noah's Ark
Noah's Ark
Noah's Ark is a vessel appearing in the Book of Genesis and the Quran . These narratives describe the construction of the ark by Noah at God's command to save himself, his family, and the world's animals from the worldwide deluge of the Great Flood.In the narrative of the ark, God sees the...

 is said to have come to rest after the flood. (Bible, Gen. 8:4). Recent archeological studies have found the world's earliest leather shoe, skirt, and wine-producing facility in Armenia, dated to about 4000 B.C. This points to an advanced early civilization In the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

; several states flourished in the area of Greater Armenia, including the Hittite Empire
History of the Hittites
Hittites were an ancient people who spoke an Indo-European language and established a kingdom centered in Hattusa in northern Anatolia from the 18th century BC. In the 14th century BC, the Hittite Kingdom was at its height, encompassing central Anatolia, south-western Syria as far as Ugarit, and...

 (at the height of its power), Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

 (South-Western historical Armenia), and Hayasa-Azzi
Hayasa-Azzi
Hayasa-Azzi or Azzi-Hayasa was a Late Bronze Age confederation formed between two petty kingdoms of Anatolia, Hayasa located South of Trabzon and Azzi, located North of the Euphrates and to the South of Hayasa...

 (1500–1200 BC). The Nairi people
Nairi
Nairi is an Armenian given name, it may also refer to:*Nairi, Armenian tribe.*Nairi , an informal synonym for Armenia, which in turn gave rise to a number of modern usages:*The town of Hatsik, Armavir was called Nairi from 1963 till 1991...

 (12th to 9th centuries BC) and the Kingdom of Urartu
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

 (1000–600 BC) successively established their sovereignty over the Armenian Highland
Armenian Highland
The Armenian Highland is the central-most and highest of three land-locked plateaus that together form the northern sector of the Middle East...

. Each of the aforementioned nations and tribes participated in the ethnogenesis of the Armenian people
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

. Yerevan
Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country...

, the modern capital of Armenia, was founded in 782 BC by king Argishti I
Argishtis I of Urartu
Argishti I was the sixth known king of Urartu, reigning from 785 BC to 763 BC. He founded the citadel of Erebuni in 782 BC, which is the present capital of Armenia, Yerevan....

.
Around 600 BC, the Kingdom of Armenia was established under the Orontid Dynasty
Orontid Dynasty
The Orontid Dynasty The Orontid Dynasty The Orontid Dynasty (also known by their native name, Yervanduni was a hereditary Armenian dynasty and the rulers of the successor state to the Iron Age kingdom of Ararat...

. The kingdom reached its height between 95 and 66 BC under Tigranes the Great
Tigranes the Great
Tigranes the Great was emperor of Armenia under whom the country became, for a short time, the strongest state east of the Roman Republic. He was a member of the Artaxiad Royal House...

, becoming one of the most powerful kingdoms of its time within the region. In the next centuries it was usually a part of Persian Empire. Throughout its history, the kingdom of Armenia enjoyed periods of independence intermitted with periods of autonomy subject to contemporary empires. Armenia's strategic location between two continents has subjected it to invasions by many peoples, including the Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

ns, Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

, Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, Arabs, Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

, Persians
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

, Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

.

Armenia was historically Mazdean
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

 Zoroastrian (as opposed to the Persia's Zurvanite Sassanid dynasty), particularly focused on the worship of Mihr (Avestan Mithra
Mithra
Mithra is the Zoroastrian divinity of covenant and oath. In addition to being the divinity of contracts, Mithra is also a judicial figure, an all-seeing protector of Truth, and the guardian of cattle, the harvest and of The Waters....

), and Christianity spread into the country as early as AD 40. King Tiridates III
Tiridates III of Armenia
Tiridates III or Diritades III was the king of Arsacid Armenia , and is also known as Tiridates the Great ; some scholars incorrectly refer to him as Tiridates IV as a result of the fact that Tiridates I of Armenia reigned twice)...

 (AD 238–314) made Christianity the state religion
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

 in AD 301, becoming the first officially Christian state, ten years before the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 granted Christianity an official toleration under Galerius
Galerius
Galerius , was Roman Emperor from 305 to 311. During his reign he campaigned, aided by Diocletian, against the Sassanid Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 299. He also campaigned across the Danube against the Carpi, defeating them in 297 and 300...

, and 36 years before Constantine the Great
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

 was baptized.

After the fall of the Armenian kingdom in AD 428, most of Armenia was incorporated as a marzpanate
Marzpanate Period
Marzpanate period refers to the period in Armenian history after the fall of the Arshakuni Dynasty of Armenia in 428, when Marzpans , nominated by the Sassanid Persian King, governed the eastern part of Armenia...

 within the Sassanid Empire. Following an Armenian rebellion in AD 451, Christian Armenians maintained their religious freedom
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

, while Armenia gained autonomy.

Middle Ages


After the Marzpanate period
Marzpanate Period
Marzpanate period refers to the period in Armenian history after the fall of the Arshakuni Dynasty of Armenia in 428, when Marzpans , nominated by the Sassanid Persian King, governed the eastern part of Armenia...

 (428–636), Armenia emerged as the Emirate of Armenia
Emirate of Armenia
The Emirate of Armenia , also called the Principality of Armenia, refers to an aristocratic regime in early medieval Armenia that flourished in the period of interregnum between the seventh and ninth centuries, following the Marzpanate Period when the leading political authority was exercised by a...

, an autonomous principality within the Arabic Empire, reuniting Armenian lands previously taken by the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 as well. The principality was ruled by the Prince of Armenia, recognised by the Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 and the Byzantine Emperor. It was part of the administrative division/emirate Arminiyya created by the Arabs, which also included parts of Georgia and Caucasian Albania
Caucasian Albania
Albania is a name for the historical region of the eastern Caucasus, that existed on the territory of present-day republic of...

, and had its center in the Armenian city Dvin
Dvin
Dvin was a large commercial city and the capital of early medieval Armenia. It was situated north of the previous ancient capital of Armenia, the city of Artaxata, along the banks of the Metsamor River, 35 km to the south of modern Yerevan...

. The Principality of Armenia lasted until 884, when it regained its independence from the weakened Arabic Empire.

The re-emergent Armenian kingdom was ruled by the Bagratuni dynasty
Bagratuni Dynasty
The Bagratuni, Bagratid or alternatively Pakradouni royal dynasty of Armenia was a royal family whose branches formerly ruled many regional polities, including the Armenian lands of Sper|presently Ispir in Tayk Province of the Armenian Kingdom, Bagrevand in Ayrarat Province of the Armenian...

, and lasted until 1045. In time, several areas of the Bagratid Armenia separated as independent kingdoms and principalities such as the Kingdom of Vaspurakan
Vaspurakan
Vaspurakan was the first and biggest province of Greater Armenia, which later became an independent kingdom during the Middle Ages, centered around Lake Van...

 ruled by the House of Artsruni
Artsruni
Artsruni was an ancient Armenian noble family that claimed descent from Sennacherib, King of Assyria . Although it mirrors the Bagratuni claim of Davidic descent and the Mamikonian claim of descent from the royal Han Dynasty, it is usually interpreted as a piece of genealogical mythology...

, while still recognizing the supremacy of the Bagratid kings.

In 1045, the Byzantine Empire conquered Bagratid Armenia. Soon, the other Armenian states fell under Byzantine control as well. The Byzantine rule was short lived, as in 1071 Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines and conquered Armenia at the Battle of Manzikert
Battle of Manzikert
The Battle of Manzikert , was fought between the Byzantine Empire and Seljuq Turks led by Alp Arslan on August 26, 1071 near Manzikert...

, establishing the Seljuk Empire. To escape death or servitude at the hands of those who had assassinated his relative, Gagik II
Gagik II
Gagik II of Ani was the last Bagratuni King of Ani from 1042 to 1045.-Historical background:During the reign of John Smbat III, a feudal lord, David, who owned Taik during his battles against the Muslims, gained a large area which stretched all the way to Manzikert...

, King of Ani
Ani
Ani is a ruined and uninhabited medieval Armenian city-site situated in the Turkish province of Kars, near the border with Armenia. It was once the capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey...

, an Armenian named Roupen went with some of his countrymen into the gorges of the Taurus Mountains
Taurus Mountains
Taurus Mountains are a mountain complex in southern Turkey, dividing the Mediterranean coastal region of southern Turkey from the central Anatolian Plateau. The system extends along a curve from Lake Eğirdir in the west to the upper reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in the east...

 and then into Tarsus
Tarsus (city)
Tarsus is a historic city in south-central Turkey, 20 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea. It is part of the Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Turkey with a population of 2.75 million...

 of Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

. The Byzantine governor of the palace gave them shelter where the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia
Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia
The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia , also known as the Cilician Armenia, Kingdom of Cilician Armenia or New Armenia, was an independent principality formed during the High Middle Ages by Armenian refugees fleeing the Seljuk invasion of Armenia...

 was eventually established.

Cilicia was a strong ally of the European Crusaders, and saw itself as a bastion of Christendom in the East. Cilicia's significance in Armenian history and statehood is also attested by the transfer of the seat of the Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church, spiritual leader of the Armenian people, to the region.

The Seljuk Empire soon started to collapse. In the early 12th century, Armenian princes of the Zakarid noble family
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 established a semi-independent Armenian principality in Northern and Eastern Armenia, known as Zakarid Armenia
Zakarid Armenia
The Zakarids or Zakarid Armenia , is used to describe territories of Armenia given to the Zakarid-Mxargrzeli princes as a fief by Tamar, the queen of the Kingdom of Georgia.- History :...

, lasted under patronages of Seljuks, Georgian Kingdom
History of Georgia (country)
The nation of Georgia was first unified as a kingdom under the Bagrationi dynasty in the 9th to 10th century, arising from a number of predecessor states of ancient Colchis and Iberia...

, Atabegs of Azerbaijan
Atabegs of Azerbaijan
The Ildegizids, Eldiguzids or Ildenizids, also known as Atabegs of Azerbaijan were a Turkic dynasty of Kipchak origin which controlled most of northwestern Persia/eastern Transcaucasia, including Arran, most of Azerbaijan, and Djibal...

 and Khwarezmid Empire of Persia. The noble family of Orbelians
Orbelian Dynasty
The Orbelian lords of Syunik were a noble family, documented in inscriptions throughout Vayots Dzor and Syunik, and recorded by the family bishop Stepanos in his 1297 History of Syunik....

 shared control with the Zakarids in various parts of the country, especially in Syunik
Syunik
Syunik is the southernmost province of Armenia. It borders the Vayots Dzor marz to the north, Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan exclave to the west, Karabakh to the east, and Iran to the south. Its capital is Kapan. Other important cities and towns include Goris, Sisian, Meghri, Agarak, and Dastakert...

 and Vayots Dzor
Vayots Dzor
Vayots Dzor is a province of Armenia. It lies in the south-east of the country, bordering the Nakhichevan exclave of Azerbaijan in the west and the Azerbaijan in the east. It covers an area of 2,308 km². With a population of only 53,230 , it is the most sparsely populated province in the country...

.

Early Modern era


During the 1230s, the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 conquered the Zakaryan Principality, as well as the rest of Armenia. The Mongolian invasions were soon followed by those of other Central Asian tribes (Kara Koyunlu
Kara Koyunlu
The Kara Koyunlu or Qara Qoyunlu, also called the Black Sheep Turkomans , were a Shi'ite Oghuz Turkic tribal federation that ruled over the territory comprising the present-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, north-western Iran, eastern Turkey and Iraq from about 1375 to 1468.The Kara Koyunlu Turkomans at one...

, Timurid
Timurid Dynasty
The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

 and Ak Koyunlu
Ak Koyunlu
The Aq Qoyunlu or Ak Koyunlu, also called the White Sheep Turkomans , was an Sunni Oghuz Turkic tribal federation that ruled parts of present-day Eastern Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, and Iran from 1378 to 1508.-History:According to chronicles from the Byzantine Empire, the Aq Qoyunlu...

), which continued from the 13th century until the 15th century. After incessant invasions, each bringing destruction to the country, Armenia in time became weakened. During the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and Safavid Persia divided Armenia among themselves. From 1604 Abbas I of Persia
Abbas I of Persia
Shāh ‘Abbās the Great was Shah of Iran, and generally considered the greatest ruler of the Safavid dynasty. He was the third son of Shah Mohammad....

 implemented a "scorched earth" policy in the region to protect his north-western frontier against any invading Ottoman forces, a policy which involved the forced resettlement of many Armenians from their homelands. The Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 later incorporated Eastern Armenia
Eastern Armenia
Eastern Armenia or Caucasian Armenia was the portion of Ottoman Armenia and Persian Armenia that was ceded to the Russian Empire following the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829...

 (consisting of the Erivan and Karabakh
Karabakh
The Karabakh horse , also known as Karabakh, is a mountain-steppe racing and riding horse. It is named after the geographic region where the horse was originally developed, Karabakh in the Southern Caucasus, an area that is de jure part of Azerbaijan but the highland part of which is currently...

 khanate
Khanate
Khanate, or Chanat, is a Turco-Mongol-originated word used to describe a political entity ruled by a Khan. In modern Turkish, the word used is kağanlık, and in modern Azeri of the republic of Azerbaijan, xanlıq. In Mongolian the word khanlig is used, as in "Khereidiin Khanlig" meaning the Khanate...

s within Persia) in 1813 and 1828.

Under Ottoman rule, the Armenians were granted considerable autonomy within their own enclaves and lived in relative harmony with other groups in the empire (including the ruling Turks). However, as Christians under a strict Muslim social system
Social structure
Social structure is a term used in the social sciences to refer to patterned social arrangements in society that are both emergent from and determinant of the actions of the individuals. The usage of the term "social structure" has changed over time and may reflect the various levels of analysis...

, Armenians faced pervasive discrimination. When they began pushing for more rights within the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, Sultan ‘Abdu’l-Hamid II, in response, organised state-sponsored massacres against the Armenians between 1894 and 1896, resulting in an estimated death toll of 80,000 to 300,000 people. The Hamidian massacres
Hamidian massacres
The Hamidian massacres , also referred to as the Armenian Massacres of 1894–1896, refers to the massacring of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, with estimates of the dead ranging from anywhere between 80,000 to 300,000, and at least 50,000 orphans as a result...

, as they came to be known, gave Hamid international infamy as the "Red Sultan" or "Bloody Sultan".

The Ottoman Empire began to collapse and in 1908 the Young Turk Revolution
Young Turk Revolution
The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 reversed the suspension of the Ottoman parliament by Sultan Abdul Hamid II, marking the onset of the Second Constitutional Era...

 overthrew the government of Sultan Hamid. Armenians living in the empire hoped that the Committee of Union and Progress
Committee of Union and Progress
The Committee of Union and Progress began as a secret society established as the "Committee of Ottoman Union" in 1889 by the medical students İbrahim Temo, Abdullah Cevdet, İshak Sükuti and Ali Hüseyinzade...

 would change their second-class status. Armenian reform package
Armenian reform package
The Armenian reform package was an Ottoman Empire reform solution by which an inspector general would be appointed to oversee Armenian issues. The inspector general would be the highest position in vilayets where many Armenians lived. This project was prepared by A...

 (1914) was presented as a solution by appointing an inspector general
Inspector General
An Inspector General is an investigative official in a civil or military organization. The plural of the term is Inspectors General.-Bangladesh:...

 over Armenian issues.

World War I and the Armenian Genocide




When World War I broke out leading to confrontation of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 in the Caucasus
Caucasus Campaign
The Caucasus Campaign comprised armed conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire, later including Azerbaijan, Armenia, Central Caspian Dictatorship and the UK as part of the Middle Eastern theatre or alternatively named as part of the Caucasus Campaign during World War I...

 and Persian Campaign
Persian Campaign
The Persian Campaign or Invasion of Persia was a series of engagements at northern Persian Azerbaijan and western Persia between the British Empire and the Russian Empire against the Ottoman Empire, beginning in December 1914 and ending with the Armistice of Mudros on October 30, 1918 as part of...

s, the new government in Constantinople
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 began to look on the Armenians with distrust and suspicion. This was because the Russian army
Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are the military services of Russia, established after the break-up of the Soviet Union. On 7 May 1992 Boris Yeltsin signed a decree establishing the Russian Ministry of Defence and placing all Soviet Armed Forces troops on the territory of the RSFSR...

 contained a contingent of Armenian volunteers
Armenian volunteer units
Armenian volunteer units, also known the Armenian volunteer corps were Armenian battalions in Russian and British armies during the World War I. Majority of these units support the military activities at the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. The origin of these units were varied. Some units...

. On 24 April 1915, Armenian intellectuals were arrested by Ottoman authorities
Armenian notables deported from the Ottoman capital in 1915
The deportation of Armenian notables, also known as the Red Sunday refers to the night when leaders of the Armenian community of the Ottoman capital, Constantinople, and later other centers were arrested and moved to two holding centers near Ankara by the Minister of the Interior Mehmed Talaat Bey...

 and, with the Tehcir Law
Tehcir Law
The Tehcir Law was passed by the Ottoman Parliament on May 27, 1915 and allegedly came into force on June 1, 1915, with publication in Takvim-i Vekayi, the official gazette of the Ottoman State...

 (29 May 1915), eventually a large proportion of Armenians living in Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 perished in what has become known as the Armenian Genocide
Armenian Genocide
The Armenian Genocide—also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, as the Great Crime—refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I...

.

There was local Armenian resistance in the region, developed against the activities of the Ottoman Empire. The events of 1915 to 1917 are regarded by Armenians and the vast majority of Western historians to have been state-sponsored mass killings, or genocide. Turkish authorities, however, maintain that the deaths were the result of a civil war coupled with disease and famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

, with casualties incurred by both sides. According to the research conducted by Arnold J. Toynbee
Arnold J. Toynbee
Arnold Joseph Toynbee CH was a British historian whose twelve-volume analysis of the rise and fall of civilizations, A Study of History, 1934–1961, was a synthesis of world history, a metahistory based on universal rhythms of rise, flowering and decline, which examined history from a global...

 an estimated 600,000 Armenians died during the Armenian Genocide in 1915–16.

According to the International Association of Genocide Scholars
International Association of Genocide Scholars
The International Association of Genocide Scholars is a global, interdisciplinary, non-partisan organization that seeks to further research and teaching about the nature, causes, and consequences of genocide, and advance policy studies on prevention of genocide. The Association, founded in 1994 by...

, the death toll was "more than a million". Armenia and the Armenian diaspora have been campaigning for official recognition
Recognition of the Armenian Genocide
Armenian Genocide recognition refers to the formal acceptance that the massacre and forced deportation of Armenians committed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1923 constitute genocide...

 of the events as genocide for over 30 years. These events are traditionally commemorated yearly on 24 April, the Armenian Martyr Day, or the Day of the Armenian Genocide.

Democratic Republic of Armenia (DRA)


Although the Russian army succeeded in gaining most of Ottoman Armenia during World War I, their gains were lost with the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

. At the time, Russian-controlled Eastern Armenia
Eastern Armenia
Eastern Armenia or Caucasian Armenia was the portion of Ottoman Armenia and Persian Armenia that was ceded to the Russian Empire following the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829...

, Georgia, and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 attempted to bond together in the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic , was a short-lived state composed of the modern-day countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia in the South Caucasus.-...

. This federation, however, only lasted from February to May 1918, when all three parties decided to dissolve it. As a result, Eastern Armenia became independent as the Democratic Republic of Armenia
Democratic Republic of Armenia
The Democratic Republic of Armenia was the first modern establishment of an Armenian state...

 (DRA) on 28 May.

The DRA's short-lived independence was fraught with war, territorial dispute
Territorial dispute
A territorial dispute is a disagreement over the possession/control of land between two or more states or over the possession or control of land by a new state and occupying power after it has conquered the land from a former state no longer currently recognized by the new state.-Context and...

s, and a mass influx of refugees from Ottoman Armenia bringing with them disease and starvation. The Entente Powers
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...

, appalled by the actions of the Ottoman government, sought to help the newly found Armenian state through relief funds and other forms of support.

At the end of the war, the victorious powers sought to divide up the Ottoman Empire. Signed between the Allied and Associated Powers
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...

 and Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 at Sèvres
Sèvres
Sèvres is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the centre of Paris.The town is known for its porcelain manufacture, the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres, making the famous Sèvres porcelain, as well as being the location of the International Bureau of Weights...

 on 10 August 1920, the Treaty of Sèvres
Treaty of Sèvres
The Treaty of Sèvres was the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles was signed with Germany before this treaty to annul the German concessions including the economic rights and enterprises. Also, France, Great Britain and Italy...

 promised to maintain the existence of the Armenian republic and to attach the former territories of Ottoman Armenia to it. Because the new borders of Armenia were to be drawn by United States President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

, Ottoman Armenia is also referred to as "Wilsonian Armenia
Wilsonian Armenia
Wilsonian Armenia refers to the boundary configuration of the Armenian state in the Treaty of Sèvres, drawn by US President Woodrow Wilson State Department. The Treaty of Sèvres was a peace treaty that had been drafted and signed between the Western Allied Powers and the defeated government of the...

." In addition, just days prior, on 5 August 1920, Mihran Damadian
Mihran Damadian
Mihran Damadian was an Armenian freedom fighter, political activist, writer and teacher.He was educated in the Armenian Catholic Seminary at Venice, Italy. He then became a teacher in the Sassoun district. With Medzn Mourad, he led the Sassoun Resistance in 1894...

 of the Armenian National Union, the de facto Armenian administration in Cilicia, declared the independence of Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

 as an Armenian autonomous republic under French protectorate.

There was even consideration of possibly making Armenia a mandate under the protection of the United States. The treaty, however, was rejected by the Turkish National Movement
Turkish National Movement
The Turkish National Movement encompasses the political and military activities of the Turkish revolutionaries which resulted in the creation and shaping of the Republic of Turkey, as a consequence of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I....

, and never came into effect. The movement, under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey....

, used the treaty as the occasion to declare itself the rightful government of Turkey
Politics of Turkey
Politics of Turkey takes place in a framework of a strictly secular parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Turkey is the head of government, and of a multi-party system...

, replacing the monarchy based in Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 with a republic based in Ankara
Ankara
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of , and as of 2010 the metropolitan area in the entire Ankara Province had a population of 4.4 million....

.

In 1920, Turkish nationalist forces invaded the fledgling Armenian republic from the east and the Turkish-Armenian War
Turkish-Armenian War
The Turkish–Armenian War stemmed from an invasion of the Democratic Republic of Armenia by the Turkish Revolutionaries of the Turkish National Movement in the autumn of 1920...

 began. Turkish forces under the command of Kazım Karabekir
Kazim Karabekir
Musa Kâzım Karabekir was a Turkish general and politician. He was commander of the Eastern Army in the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I and served as Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey before his death.-Early years:Karabekir was born in 1882 as the son of an Ottoman General,...

 captured Armenian territories that Russia had annexed in the aftermath of the 1877–1878 Russo-Turkish War and occupied the old city of Alexandropol (present-day Gyumri
Gyumri
Gyumri is the capital and largest city of the Shirak Province in northwest Armenia. It is located about 120 km from the capital Yerevan, and, with a population of 168,918 , is the second-largest city in Armenia.The name of the city has been changed many times in history...

). The violent conflict finally concluded with the Treaty of Alexandropol
Treaty of Alexandropol
The Treaty of Alexandropol was a peace treaty between the Democratic Republic of Armenia and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey ending the Turkish-Armenian War, signed on December 2, 1920, before the declaration of the Republic of Turkey. It was the first treaty signed by Turkish...

 on 2 December 1920.

The treaty forced Armenia to disarm most of its military forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

, cede more than 50% of its pre-war territory, and to give up all the "Wilsonian Armenia" granted to it at the Sèvres treaty. Simultaneously, the Soviet Eleventh Army, under the command of Grigoriy Ordzhonikidze
Grigoriy Ordzhonikidze
Grigol Ordzhonikidze ორჯონიკიძე - Grigol Orjonikidze, , generally known as Sergo Ordzhonikidze ; – February 18, 1937) was a Georgian Bolshevik, later member of the CPSU Politburo and close friend to Joseph Stalin...

, invaded Armenia at Karavansarai (present-day Ijevan
Ijevan
Ijevan now is a city in Armenia and the capital of Tavush region. It is located in the northern part of the region, on the foot of Ijevan ridge and Nal'teket ridge on both banks of Aghstev River. The city's current name, Ijevan, and its former name Karavansara both mean "inn" , in Armenian and...

) on 29 November. By 4 December, Ordzhonikidze's forces entered Yerevan and the short-lived Armenian republic collapsed.

Soviet Armenia




Armenia was annexed by Bolshevist Russia
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , commonly referred to as Soviet Russia, Bolshevik Russia, or simply Russia, was the largest, most populous and economically developed republic in the former Soviet Union....

 and along with Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, it was incorporated into the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 as part of the Transcaucasian SFSR
Transcaucasian SFSR
The Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic , also known as the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the Transcaucasian SFSR and the TSFSR for short, was a short-lived republic of the Soviet Union, lasting from 1922 to 1936...

 (TSFSR) on 4 March 1922. With this annexation, the Treaty of Alexandropol was superseded by the Turkish-Soviet Treaty of Kars
Treaty of Kars
The Treaty of Kars was a "friendship" treaty signed in Kars on October 13, 1921 and ratified in Yerevan on September 11 1922.Signatories included representatives from the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, which in 1923 would declare the Republic of Turkey, and also from Soviet Armenia, Soviet...

. In the agreement, Turkey allowed the Soviet Union to assume control over Adjara
Adjara
Adjara , officially the Autonomous Republic of Adjara , is an autonomous republic of Georgia.Adjara is located in the southwestern corner of Georgia, bordered by Turkey to the south and the eastern end of the Black Sea...

 with the port city of Batumi
Batumi
Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Sometimes considered Georgia's second capital, with a population of 121,806 , Batumi serves as an important port and a commercial center. It is situated in a subtropical zone, rich in...

 in return for sovereignty over the cities of Kars
Kars
Kars is a city in northeast Turkey and the capital of Kars Province. The population of the city is 73,826 as of 2010.-Etymology:As Chorzene, the town appears in Roman historiography as part of ancient Armenia...

, Ardahan
Ardahan
Ardahan is a city in northeastern Turkey, near the Georgian border.-Ancient and medieval:In Ancient times the region was called Gogarene, which is assumed to derive from the name of Gugars, who were a Proto-Kartvelian tribe...

, and Iğdır
Igdir
Iğdır is the capital of Iğdır Province in the Eastern Anatolia Region, Turkey, and borders Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran. The border with Armenia is formed by the Aras River...

, all of which were part of Russian Armenia.

The TSFSR existed from 1922 to 1936, when it was divided up into three separate entities (Armenian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR, and Georgian SSR). Armenians enjoyed a period of relative stability under Soviet rule. They received medicine, food, and other provisions from Moscow, and communist rule proved to be a soothing balm in contrast to the turbulent final years of the Ottoman Empire. The situation was difficult for the church, which struggled under Soviet rule. After the death of Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

, Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 took the reins of power and began an era of renewed fear and terror for Armenians. As with various other ethnic groups who lived in the Soviet Union during Stalin's Great Purge
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

, tens of thousands of Armenians were either executed or deported.

Armenia was spared the devastation and destruction that wrought most of the western Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

 of World War II. The Nazis
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 never reached the South Caucasus, which they intended to do in order to capture the oil fields in Azerbaijan. Still, Armenia played a valuable role in aiding the allies both through industry and agriculture. An estimated 500,000 Armenians, out of a population of 1.4 million, were mobilised. 175,000 of these men died in the war.

Fears decreased when Stalin died in 1953 and Nikita Khruschev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 emerged as the Soviet Union's new leader. Soon, life in Soviet Armenia began to see rapid improvement. The church which suffered greatly under Stalin was revived when Catholicos Vazgen I
Vazgen I
His Holiness Vazgen I was the Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church between 1955 and 1994, in one of the longest reigns of the Armenian Catholicoi. A native of Romania, he began his career as a philosopher, before becoming a Doctor of Theology and a member of the local Armenian clergy...

 assumed the duties of his office in 1955. In 1967, a memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide was built at the Tsitsernakaberd
Tsitsernakaberd
Tsitsernakaberd is a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide; it is located on a hill overlooking Yerevan, Armenia. Every year on April 24, hundreds of thousands of Armenians gather here to remember the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide that took place in the Ottoman Empire...

 hill above the Hrazdan
Hrazdan
Hrazdan is the capital of the Kotayk province of Armenia. The name Hrazdan is derived from the Middle-Persian name Frazdan. Farzdan is connected to the Zoroastrian mythology. With a population of 52,900 it is the fifth-largest city in Armenia by population. It has lost significant population since...

 gorge
Canyon
A canyon or gorge is a deep ravine between cliffs often carved from the landscape by a river. Rivers have a natural tendency to reach a baseline elevation, which is the same elevation as the body of water it will eventually drain into. This forms a canyon. Most canyons were formed by a process of...

 in Yerevan
Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country...

. This occurred after mass demonstrations took place on the tragic event's fiftieth anniversary in 1965.


During the Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 era of the 1980s with the reforms of Glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

 and Perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

, Armenians began to demand better environmental care for their country, opposing the pollution that Soviet-built factories brought. Tensions also developed between Soviet Azerbaijan and its autonomous district of Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, lying between Lower Karabakh and Zangezur and covering the southeastern range of the Lesser Caucasus mountains...

, a majority-Armenian region separated by Stalin from Armenia in 1923. About 484,000 Armenians
Armenians in Azerbaijan
Armenians in Azerbaijan are the Armenians who lived in great numbers in Azerbaijan . According to the statistics, about 400,000 Armenians lived in Azerbaijan in 1989...

 lived in Azerbaijan in 1970. The Armenians of Karabakh demanded unification with Soviet Armenia. Peaceful protests in Yerevan supporting the Karabakh Armenians were met with anti-Armenian pogroms
Sumgait Pogrom
The Sumgait pogrom was a pogrom that targeted the Armenian population of the seaside town of Sumgait in Soviet Azerbaijan during February 1988...

 in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait. Compounding Armenia's problems was a devastating earthquake in 1988 with a moment magnitude
Moment magnitude scale
The moment magnitude scale is used by seismologists to measure the size of earthquakes in terms of the energy released. The magnitude is based on the seismic moment of the earthquake, which is equal to the rigidity of the Earth multiplied by the average amount of slip on the fault and the size of...

 of 7.2.

Gorbachev's inability to alleviate any of Armenia's problems created disillusionment among the Armenians and fed a growing hunger for independence. In May 1990, the New Armenian Army
Armenian Army
The Armenian Army is the largest branch of the Armed Forces of Armenia and consists of the ground forces responsible for the country's land-based operations. It was established in conjunction with the other components of Armenia's military on January 28, 1992, several months after the republic...

 (NAA) was established, serving as a defence force separate from the Soviet Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

. Clashes soon broke out between the NAA and Soviet Internal Security Forces
Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs
The Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del is the interior ministry of Russia. Its predecessor was founded in 1802 by Alexander I in Imperial Russia...

 (MVD) troops based in Yerevan when Armenians decided to commemorate the establishment of the 1918 Democratic Republic of Armenia. The violence resulted in the deaths of five Armenians killed in a shootout with the MVD at the railway station. Witnesses there claimed that the MVD used excessive force and that they had instigated the fighting.

Further firefights between Armenian militiamen and Soviet troops occurred in Sovetashen
Nubarashen
Nubarashen is a district of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. It is situated southeast of the city centre.- History :In 1930, by the support and sponsorship of the founder and president of the AGBU Egyptian-Armenian benefactor Boghos Nubar was decided to build a town with name Nubarashen...

, near the capital and resulted in the deaths of over 26 people, mostly Armenians. The pogrom of Armenians in Baku
Pogrom of Armenians in Baku
The Pogrom of Armenians in Baku was an anti-Armenian pogrom directed against the Armenian inhabitants of Baku, Azerbaijani SSR.From January 13, 1990, a seven-day pogrom broke out against Armenians in Baku. Most of the deaths were caused by beatings and knife wounds; there were no gunshot wounds....

 in January 1990 forced almost all of the 200,000 Armenians in the Azerbaijani capital Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

 to flee to Armenia. On 17 March 1991, Armenia, along with the Baltic states
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

, Georgia and Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

, boycotted a nationwide referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 in which 78% of all voters voted for the retention of the Soviet Union in a reformed form.

Restoration of independence


On 23 August 1990, Armenia declared independence, becoming the first non-Baltic republic to secede from the Soviet Union. When, in 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved, Armenia's independence was officially recognized. However, the initial post-Soviet years were marred by economic difficulties as well as the break-out of a full-scale armed confrontation
Nagorno-Karabakh War
The Nagorno-Karabakh War was an armed conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan...

 between the Karabakh Armenians and Azerbaijan. The economic problems had their roots early in the Karabakh conflict when the Azerbaijani Popular Front managed to pressure the Azerbaijan SSR to instigate a railway and air blockade
Blockade
A blockade is an effort to cut off food, supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally. A blockade should not be confused with an embargo or sanctions, which are legal barriers to trade, and is distinct from a siege in that a blockade is usually...

 against Armenia. This move effectively crippled Armenia's economy as 85% of its cargo and goods arrived through rail traffic. In 1993, Turkey joined the blockade against Armenia in support of Azerbaijan.

The Karabakh war ended after a Russian-brokered cease-fire
Ceasefire
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces...

 was put in place in 1994. The war was a success for the Karabakh Armenian forces who managed to capture 16% of Azerbaijan's internationally recognised territory including Nagorno-Karabakh itself. Since then, Armenia and Azerbaijan have held peace talks, mediated by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections...

 (OSCE). The status of Karabakh has yet to be determined. The economies of both countries have been hurt in the absence of a complete resolution and Armenia's borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan remain closed. By the time both Azerbaijan and Armenia had finally agreed to a ceasefire in 1994, an estimated 30,000 people had been killed and over a million had been displaced.

As it enters the 21st century, Armenia faces many hardships. It has made a full switch to a market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

 and as of 2009, is the 31st most economically free nation in the world. Its relations with Europe, the Middle East, and the Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

 have allowed Armenia to increase trade. Gas, oil, and other supplies come through two vital routes: Iran and Georgia. Armenia maintains cordial relations with both countries.

Geography



Armenia is landlocked in the South Caucasus. Located between the Black
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 and Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

s, the country is bordered on the north and east by Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, and on the south and west by Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

.

Location


Armenia lies between latitudes 38°
38th parallel north
The 38th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 38 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean...

 and 42° N
42nd parallel north
The 42nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 42 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and meridians 43°
43rd meridian east
The meridian 43° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 47° E
47th meridian east
The meridian 47° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

Topography



The Republic of Armenia, covering an area of 29743 square kilometres (11,484 sq mi), is located in the north-east of the Armenian Highland
Armenian Highland
The Armenian Highland is the central-most and highest of three land-locked plateaus that together form the northern sector of the Middle East...

. The terrain is mostly mountainous, with fast flowing rivers and few forests. The climate is highland continental
Continental climate
Continental climate is a climate characterized by important annual variation in temperature due to the lack of significant bodies of water nearby...

, which means that the country is subjected to hot summers and cold winters. The land rises to 4090 metres (13,419 ft) above sea-level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

 at Mount Aragats
Mount Aragats
Mount Aragats , Alagoz - is a large andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcano in NW Armenia about 40 km NW of the capital city of Yerevan. It is the highest point in Armenia, located in the province of Aragatsotn, northwest from Yerevan. Located on its slopes are the Byurakan Observatory and the...

, and no point is below 390 metres (1,280 ft) above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

.

Mount Ararat
Mount Ararat
Mount Ararat is a snow-capped, dormant volcanic cone in Turkey. It has two peaks: Greater Ararat and Lesser Ararat .The Ararat massif is about in diameter...

, which was historically part of Armenia, is the highest mountain in the region. Now located in Turkey, but clearly visible in Armenia, it is regarded by the Armenians as a symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

 of their land. Because of this, the mountain is present on the Armenian national emblem
Coat of arms of Armenia
The national coat of arms of Armenia consists of an eagle and a lion supporting a shield. The coat of arms combines new and old symbols...

 today.

Environment


Armenia has established a Ministry of Nature Protection and introduced taxes for air and water pollution
Water pollution
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies . Water pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged directly or indirectly into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds....

 and solid waste disposal
Waste management
Waste management is the collection, transport, processing or disposal,managing and monitoring of waste materials. The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity, and the process is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment or aesthetics...

, whose revenues are used for environmental protection
Environmental movement
The environmental movement, a term that includes the conservation and green politics, is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement for addressing environmental issues....

 activities. Waste management in Armenia
Waste management in Armenia
Armenia is underdeveloped in its waste management and recycling activities. Every year over 700,000 tons of waste are generated in the country.-Landfills:60 landfills exist in Armenia. No waste sorting, recycling, nor reuse takes place at any of them...

 is underdeveloped as no waste sorting
Waste sorting
Waste sorting is the process by which waste is separated into different elements. Waste sorting can occur manually at the household and collected through curbside collection schemes, or automatically separated in materials recovery facilities or mechanical biological treatment systems.Waste can...

 or recycling takes place at Armenia's 60 landfills.

Despite the availability of abundant renewable energy
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

 sources in Armenia (especially hydroelectric and wind power
Wind power
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using wind turbines to make electricity, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships....

) the Armenian Government is working toward building a new Nuclear Power Plant
Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant
The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant , also known as Oktemberyan or Medzamor, was built during the 1970s, about thirty kilometres west of the Armenian capital of Yerevan in the city of Metsamor. The plant was constructed with two VVER-440 Model V230 nuclear reactors...

 at Medzamor near Yerevan
Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country...

.

Climate


The climate in Armenia is markedly continental. Summers are dry and sunny, lasting from June to mid-September. The temperature fluctuates between 22 and 36 °C (71.6 and 96.8 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. Autumns are known for their vibrant and colorful foliage.

Winters are quite cold with plenty of snow, with temperatures ranging between -10 °C. Winter sport
Winter sport
A winter sport is a sport which is played on snow or ice. Most such sports are variations of skiing, ice skating and sledding. Traditionally such sports were only played in cold areas during winter, but artificial snow and ice allow more flexibility...

s enthusiasts enjoy skiing down the hills of Tsakhkadzor
Tsakhkadzor
Tsaghkadzor is a spa town and a popular health resort in Armenia located north of Hrazdan in the Kotayk Province . The population of 1,600 in 2009, is a decrease of more than half of the 3,400 reported in the 1989 census....

, located thirty minutes outside Yerevan. Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia and the Caucasus region. It is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in the world.Lake Sevan is situated in the central part of the Republic of Armenia, inside the Gegharkunik Province, at the altitude of 1,900m above sea level...

, nestled up in the Armenian highlands, is the second largest lake in the world relative to its altitude, at 1900 metres (6,234 ft) above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

.

Government and politics


Politics of Armenia
Politics of Armenia
Politics of Armenia takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President is the head of government, and of a platform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government...

 takes place in a framework of a presidential
Presidential system
A presidential system is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides separately from the legislature, to which it is not responsible and which cannot, in normal circumstances, dismiss it....

 representative democratic
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

 republic. According to the Constitution of Armenia
Constitution of Armenia
The Constitution of Armenia was adopted by a nationwide referendum on July 5, 1995. This constitution established Armenia as a democratic, sovereign, social, and constitutional state. Yerevan is defined as the state's capital. Power is vested in its citizens, who exercise it directly through the...

, the President is the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 and of a multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

. Executive power
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 is exercised by the government. Legislative power
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

 is vested in both the government and parliament. The unicameral parliament (also called the Azgayin Zhoghov
National Assembly of Armenia
The Azgayin Zhoghov of Armenia is the official name of the legislative branch of the government of Armenia.-History:Until the promulgation of the Hatt-i Sharif of 1839, the patriarch and his clients, within limits, possessed authority over Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire...

 or National Assembly
National Assembly of Armenia
The Azgayin Zhoghov of Armenia is the official name of the legislative branch of the government of Armenia.-History:Until the promulgation of the Hatt-i Sharif of 1839, the patriarch and his clients, within limits, possessed authority over Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire...

) is controlled by a coalition of four political parties: the conservative Republican party
Republican Party of Armenia
The Republican Party of Armenia is a national conservative political party in Armenia. It was the first political party in independent Armenia to be founded and registered . It is the largest party of the centre-right in Armenia, and claims to have 140,000 members...

, the Prosperous Armenia
Prosperous Armenia
Prosperous Armenia is a political party in Armenia. It was founded by Gagik Tsarukian, a wealthy businessman, in late 2005. It debuted in the 2007 Armenian parliamentary elections, winning 18 seats and 14.68% of the votes, making it the second largest political party in parliament.-External...

 party, the Rule of Law
Rule of Law (Armenia)
Rule of Law is a centrist political party in Armenia, led by Artur Baghdasarian. It is the fourth largest party in the Armenian National Assembly...

 party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation
Armenian Revolutionary Federation
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation is an Armenian political party founded in Tiflis in 1890 by Christapor Mikaelian, Stepan Zorian, and Simon Zavarian...

. The main opposition party
Opposition (parliamentary)
Parliamentary opposition is a form of political opposition to a designated government, particularly in a Westminster-based parliamentary system. Note that this article uses the term government as it is used in Parliamentary systems, i.e. meaning the administration or the cabinet rather than the state...

 is Raffi Hovannisian
Raffi Hovannisian
Raffi K. Hovannisian is an American-born Armenian politician and former Foreign Minister of Armenia. He is the leader of the Heritage party....

's Heritage
Heritage (Armenia)
Heritage is a liberal and centrist, opposition political party in Armenia. The party emerged as the fifth largest party in the Armenian National Assembly after its debut in the 2007 Armenian parliamentary elections. It obtained 7 seats and a popular vote of 5.81%...

 party, which favors eventual Armenian membership in the European Union and NATO.

The Armenian government's stated aim is to build a Western-style parliamentary democracy
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 as the basis of its form of government
Form of government
A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political institutions by which a government of a state is organized. Synonyms include "regime type" and "system of government".-Empirical and conceptual problems:...

. It has universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

 above the age of eighteen.

International observers of Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

 and U.S. Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 have questioned the fairness of Armenia's parliamentary and presidential elections
Election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

 and constitutional referendum since 1995, citing polling deficiencies, lack of cooperation by the Electoral Commission
Electoral Affairs Commission
The Electoral Affairs Commission of Hong Kong is an independent, apolitical and impartial body established under the Electoral Affairs Commission Ordinance...

, and poor maintenance of electoral lists and polling places. Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

 categorized Armenia in its 2008 report as a "Semi-consolidated Authoritarian Regime" (along with Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

, and Russia) and ranked Armenia 20th among 29 nations in transition, with a Democracy Score of 5.21 out of 7 (7 represents the lowest democratic progress).

Since 1999, Freedom House's Democracy Score for Armenia has been steadily on the decline (from 4.79 to 5.21). Furthermore, Freedom House ranked Armenia as "partly free" in its 2007 report, though it did not categorise Armenia as an "electoral democracy", indicating an absence of relatively free and competitive elections. However, significant progress seems to have been made and the 2008 Armenian presidential election
Armenian presidential election, 2008
A presidential election was held in Armenia on 19 February 2008. Prime Minister of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan won the election in the first round according to official results, but this is disputed by former President Levon Ter-Petrossian, who officially placed second.The candidacy of Sargsyan was...

 was hailed as largely democratic by OSCE
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections...

 and Western monitors.

Foreign relations


Armenia presently maintains good relations with almost every country in the world, with two major exceptions being its immediate neighbours, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Tensions were running high between Armenians and Azerbaijanis during the final years of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. The Nagorno-Karabakh War
Nagorno-Karabakh War
The Nagorno-Karabakh War was an armed conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan...

 dominated the region's politics throughout the 1990s. The border between the two rival countries remains closed up to this day, and a permanent solution for the conflict has not been reached despite the mediation provided by organisations such as the OSCE
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections...

.

Turkey also has a long history of poor relations with Armenia over its refusal to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide
Armenian Genocide
The Armenian Genocide—also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, as the Great Crime—refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I...

. Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize the Republic of Armenia (the 3rd republic) after its independence from the USSR in 1991. Despite this, for most of the 20th century and early 21st century, relations remain tense and there are no formal diplomatic relations between the two countries due to Turkey's refusal to establish them for numerous reasons. During the Karabakh conflict and bringing it as the reason, Turkey closed its land border with Armenia in 1993. It has not lifted its blockade despite pressure from the powerful Turkish business lobby interested in Armenian markets. Since 2005, however, the Armenian airline company
Airline
An airline provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit...

 Armavia
Armavia
Air Company "Armavia" is an airline with its head office on the grounds of Zvartnots International Airport in Zvartnots, Armenia, near Yerevan. It operates international passenger services from Yerevan to destinations in Europe and Asia...

 regularly flies between the Zvartnots International Airport
Zvartnots International Airport
Zvartnots International Airport is located near Zvartnots, west of Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia. The airport was built in 1961. It is now the busiest airport in Armenia and the Caucasus. The draftsmen of the airport included architects M. Khachikyan, A. Tarkhanyan, J. Sheqhlyan, L....

 of Yerevan
Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country...

 and Atatürk International Airport
Atatürk International Airport
Atatürk International Airport is the major international airport in Istanbul, Turkey. Opened in 1924 and located in Yeşilköy, on the European side of the city, it is west of the city centre. In 1980, the airport was renamed to Atatürk International Airport in honor of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the...

 of Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

.

On 10 October 2009, Armenia and Turkey signed protocols on normalisation of relationships, which set a timetable for restoring diplomatic ties and reopening their joint border. The ratification of those had to be made in the national parliaments. In Armenia it passed through the required by legislation approval of the Constitutional Court and was sent to the parliament for the final ratification. The President had publicly announced for multiple times both, abroad and in Armenia, that as the leader of the political majority of Armenia he assures the ratification of the protocols if Turkey has it done. Despite this, the process stopped, as Turkey continuously added more preconditions to its ratification and also "delayed it beyond any reasonable time-period".

Due to its position between two unfriendly neighbours, Armenia has close security ties with Russia. At the request of the Armenian government, Russia maintains a military base in the northwestern Armenian city of Gyumri
Gyumri
Gyumri is the capital and largest city of the Shirak Province in northwest Armenia. It is located about 120 km from the capital Yerevan, and, with a population of 168,918 , is the second-largest city in Armenia.The name of the city has been changed many times in history...

 as a deterrent against Turkey. Despite this, Armenia has also been looking toward Euro-Atlantic structures in recent years. It maintains good relations with the United States especially through its Armenian diaspora
Armenian diaspora
The Armenian diaspora refers to the Armenian communities outside the Republic of Armenia and self proclaimed de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic...

. According to the U.S. Census Bureau
United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...

, there are 427,822 Armenians living in the country.

Because of the blockades by Azerbaijan and Turkey, Armenia continues to maintain solid relations with its southern neighbor Iran especially in the economic sector. Economic projects such a gas pipeline going from Iran to Armenia are in time being developed.

Armenia is also a member of the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

, maintaining friendly relations with the European Union, especially with its member states such as France and Greece. A 2005 survey reported that 64% of Armenia's population would be in favor of joining the EU. Several Armenian officials have also expressed the desire for their country to eventually become an EU member state, some predicting that it will make an official bid for membership in a few years.

Human rights


Human rights in Armenia are better than those in most former Soviet republics
Post-Soviet states
The post-Soviet states, also commonly known as the Former Soviet Union or former Soviet republics, are the 15 independent states that split off from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in its dissolution in December 1991...

 and have drawn closer to acceptable standards, especially economically. Still, there are several considerable problems. Overall, Armenia's human rights record is similar to that of Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

's. Armenia has been labeled as "partly free" by Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

.

Military


The Armenian Army
Armenian Army
The Armenian Army is the largest branch of the Armed Forces of Armenia and consists of the ground forces responsible for the country's land-based operations. It was established in conjunction with the other components of Armenia's military on January 28, 1992, several months after the republic...

, Air Force
Armenian Air Force
The Armenian Air Force is a small air arm formed by independent Armenia in 1992 in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is organized and equipped principally to provide Armenian ground forces with tactical air support in the form of ground attack and airlift in mountainous terrain...

, Air Defence, and Border Guard
Armenian Border Guard
The Armenian Border Guard is the branch of the Armed Forces of Armenia that is responsible for guarding Armenia's borders. Armenia is bordered by four countries: Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran and Georgia....

 comprise the four branches of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia. The Armenian military was formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and with the establishment of the Ministry of Defence in 1992. The Commander-in-Chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the military is the President of Armenia
President of Armenia
President of Armenia is the title of the head of state of Armenia since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.-Democratic Republic of Armenia :*Avetis Aharonyan *Avetik Sahakyan *Avetis Aharonyan -Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic and Armenian...

, Serzh Sargsyan. The Ministry
Ministry (collective executive)
A ministry refers to a collective body of government ministers headed by a prime minister or premier. Although the term "cabinet" can in some circumstances be a synonym, a ministry can be a broader concept which might include office-holders that do not participate in cabinet meetings...

 of Defence is in charge of political leadership, currently headed by Colonel-General
Colonel General
Colonel General is a senior rank of General. North Korea and Russia are two countries which have used the rank extensively throughout their histories...

 Mikael Harutyunyan
Mikael Harutyunyan
Mikael Harutyunyan was the 7th Defence Minister of Armenia from April 4, 2007 until April 14, 2008. As of April 14, 2008 he has been serving as Chief Military Inspector and Presidential Advisor to the President of Armenia.-Early life:...

, while military command remains in the hands of the General Staff, headed by the Chief of Staff, who is currently Lieutenant-General
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

 Seyran Ohanian.
Active forces
Standing army
A standing army is a professional permanent army. It is composed of full-time career soldiers and is not disbanded during times of peace. It differs from army reserves, who are activated only during wars or natural disasters...

 now number about 81,000 soldiers, with an additional reserve
Military reserve force
A military reserve force is a military organization composed of citizens of a country who combine a military role or career with a civilian career. They are not normally kept under arms and their main role is to be available to fight when a nation mobilizes for total war or to defend against invasion...

 of 32,000 troops. Armenian border guards are in charge of patrolling the country's borders with Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, while Russian troops continue to monitor its borders with Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. In the case of an attack, Armenia is able to mobilise every able-bodied
Able-bodied
Able-bodied refers, in law, to an individual's physical or mental capacity for gainful employment or military service, and it is in this sense that the term is also used regarding eligibility for payment of child support or alimony....

 man between the age of 15 and 59, with military preparedness
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

.
The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
The original Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was negotiated and concluded during the last years of the Cold War and established comprehensive limits on key categories of conventional military equipment in Europe and mandated the destruction of excess weaponry...

, which establishes comprehensive limits on key categories of military equipment, was ratified by the Armenian parliament in July 1992. In March 1993, Armenia signed the multilateral Chemical Weapons Convention
Chemical Weapons Convention
The Chemical Weapons Convention is an arms control agreement which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. Its full name is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction...

, which calls for the eventual elimination of chemical weapons
Chemical warfare
Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from Nuclear warfare and Biological warfare, which together make up NBC, the military acronym for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical...

. Armenia acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

 (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s state in July 1993.

Armenia is member of Collective Security Treaty Organisation
Collective Security Treaty Organisation
The Collective Security Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance which was signed on 15 May 1992. On 7 October 2002, the Presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan signed a charter in Tashkent founding the CSTO.Nikolai Bordyuzha was appointed...

 (CSTO) along with Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

, Russia, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 and Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

. It participates in NATO's Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation program aimed at creating trust between NATO and other states in Europe and the former Soviet Union; 22 States are members...

 (PiP) program and is in a NATO organisation called Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council , a NATO institution, is a multilateral forum created to improve relations between NATO and non-NATO countries in Europe and those parts of Asia on the European periphery. The member states meet to cooperate and consult on a range of political and security issues...

 (EAPC). Armenia has engaged in a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 as part of non-NATO KFOR troops under Greek command. Armenia also had 46 members of its military peacekeeping forces
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 as a part of the Coalition Forces
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

 in Iraq War until October 2008.

Administrative divisions



Armenia is divided into ten provinces
Administrative divisions of Armenia
Armenia is subdivided into eleven administrative divisions. Of these, ten are provinces, known as marzer or in the singular form marz in Armenian....

 (marzer, singular marz), with the city (kaghak) of Yerevan
Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country...

  having special administrative status as the country's capital. The chief executive in each of the ten provinces is the marzpet (marz governor), appointed by the government of Armenia. In Yerevan, the chief executive is the mayor, appointed by the president.

Within each province are communities (hamaynkner, singular hamaynk). Each community is self-governing
Self-governance
Self-governance is an abstract concept that refers to several scales of organization.It may refer to personal conduct or family units but more commonly refers to larger scale activities, i.e., professions, industry bodies, religions and political units , up to and including autonomous regions and...

 and consists of one or more settlements (bnakavayrer, singular bnakavayr). Settlements are classified as either towns (kaghakner, singular kaghak) or villages (gyugher, singular gyugh). As of 2007, Armenia includes 915 communities, of which 49 are considered urban and 866 are considered rural. The capital, Yerevan, also has the status of a community. Additionally, Yerevan is divided into twelve semi-autonomous districts.
Province Capital Area Population
Aragatsotn  Ashtarak
Ashtarak
Ashtarak is an industrial city in Armenia, on the left bank of Kasagh River along the gorge, approximately 20 km north-west of the capital Yerevan, at a height of 1110 meters above sea level. It is the administrative capital of Aragatsotn province...

 
2,753 km² 126,278
Ararat  Artashat
Artashat
Artashat , is a city on Araks River in the Ararat valley, 30 km southeast of Yerevan. Being one of the oldest cities of Armenia, Artashat is the capital of Ararat Province. Modern Artashat is situated on the Yerevan-Nakhichevan-Baku and Nakhichevan-Tabriz railway and on...

 
2,096 km² 252,665
Armavir  Armavir
Armavir, Armenia
Armavir is a city located in western Armenia. The 1989 census reported that the city had a total population of 46,900, but this has declined considerably: the 2001 census counted 32,034; estimate for 2008 is 26,387. It is the capital of the Armavir province . The city of Armavir in Russia, founded...

 
1,242 km² 255,861
Gegharkunik  Gavar
Gavar
Gavar , is a city and the provincial capital of the Armenian province of Gegharkunik. It was known as Nor Bayezet or Novyi Bayazet until 1959, then Kamo until 1996...

 
5,348 km² 215,371
Kotayk  Hrazdan
Hrazdan
Hrazdan is the capital of the Kotayk province of Armenia. The name Hrazdan is derived from the Middle-Persian name Frazdan. Farzdan is connected to the Zoroastrian mythology. With a population of 52,900 it is the fifth-largest city in Armenia by population. It has lost significant population since...

 
2,089 km² 241,337
Lori  Vanadzor
Vanadzor
-Industry:Vanadzor is dominated by large chemical plants which include: "Prometey-Khimprom", "Vanadzor Chemical Plant", "Vanadzor Khimprom" and "Vanadzor Chemical Fiber Plant". Another big enterprise is the "Vanadzor Thermal Power Plant....

 
3,789 km² 253,351
Shirak  Gyumri
Gyumri
Gyumri is the capital and largest city of the Shirak Province in northwest Armenia. It is located about 120 km from the capital Yerevan, and, with a population of 168,918 , is the second-largest city in Armenia.The name of the city has been changed many times in history...

 
2,681 km² 257,242
Syunik  Kapan
Kapan
-Notable landmarks:*Vahanavank monastery*Baghaberd and Halidzor Fortresses.*Tatev Monastery - This monastery, situated northwest of Kapan was founded in the ninth century in the place of an ancient tabernacle well-known in ancient times...

 
4,506 km² 134,061
Tavush
Tavush
Tavush is a province of Armenia. The marz of Tavush is located in the north of Armenia and borders on Georgia and Azerbaijan.It is well known for its mountains. The most part of its territory is situated 800-1,000 m above sea level...

 
Ijevan
Ijevan
Ijevan now is a city in Armenia and the capital of Tavush region. It is located in the northern part of the region, on the foot of Ijevan ridge and Nal'teket ridge on both banks of Aghstev River. The city's current name, Ijevan, and its former name Karavansara both mean "inn" , in Armenian and...

 
2,704 km² 121,963
Vayots Dzor
Vayots Dzor
Vayots Dzor is a province of Armenia. It lies in the south-east of the country, bordering the Nakhichevan exclave of Azerbaijan in the west and the Azerbaijan in the east. It covers an area of 2,308 km². With a population of only 53,230 , it is the most sparsely populated province in the country...

 
Yeghegnadzor
Yeghegnadzor
Yeghegnadzor is the capital of the Armenian province of Vayots Dzor. The name of the city means "the valley of canes" in the Armenian language. During Joseph Stalin's time, the city was renamed after Soviet politician Anastas Mikoyan...

 
2,308 km² 53,230
Yerevan
Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country...

 
227 km² 1,091,235

Economy


According to Forbes magazine
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

 Armenia had the second worst economy in the world in 2011.
The economy relies heavily on investment and support from Armenians abroad. Before independence, Armenia's economy was largely industry-based – chemicals
Chemical substance
In chemistry, a chemical substance is a form of matter that has constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. It cannot be separated into components by physical separation methods, i.e. without breaking chemical bonds. They can be solids, liquids or gases.Chemical substances are...

, electronics
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

, machinery, processed food
Food processing
Food processing is the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into food or to transform food into other forms for consumption by humans or animals either in the home or by the food processing industry...

, synthetic rubber
Synthetic rubber
Synthetic rubber is is any type of artificial elastomer, invariably a polymer. An elastomer is a material with the mechanical property that it can undergo much more elastic deformation under stress than most materials and still return to its previous size without permanent deformation...

, and textile – and highly dependent on outside resources. The republic had developed a modern industrial sector, supplying machine tool
Machine tool
A machine tool is a machine, typically powered other than by human muscle , used to make manufactured parts in various ways that include cutting or certain other kinds of deformation...

s, textiles, and other manufactured goods to sister republics in exchange for raw materials and energy.

Agriculture accounted for less than 20% of both net material product
Net material product
Net Material Product was the main macroeconomic indicator used for monitoring growth in national accounts of socialist countries during the Soviet era. These countries included the USSR and all the Comecon members...

 and total employment
Full employment
In macroeconomics, full employment is a condition of the national economy, where all or nearly all persons willing and able to work at the prevailing wages and working conditions are able to do so....

 before the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. After independence, the importance of agriculture in the economy increased markedly, its share at the end of the 1990s rising to more than 30% of GDP and more than 40% of total employment. This increase in the importance of agriculture was attributable to food security needs of the population in the face of uncertainty during the first phases of transition
Transition economy
A transition economy or transitional economy is an economy which is changing from a centrally planned economy to a free market. Transition economies undergo economic liberalization, where market forces set prices rather than a central planning organization and trade barriers are removed,...

 and the collapse of the non-agricultural sectors of the economy in the early 1990s. As the economic situation stabilized and growth resumed, the share of agriculture in GDP dropped to slightly over 20% (2006 data), although the share of agriculture in employment remained more than 40%.

Armenian mines produce copper, zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

, gold, and lead. The vast majority of energy is produced with fuel
Fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

 imported from Russia, including gas and nuclear fuel
Nuclear fuel
Nuclear fuel is a material that can be 'consumed' by fission or fusion to derive nuclear energy. Nuclear fuels are the most dense sources of energy available...

 (for its one nuclear power plant
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

); the main domestic energy source
Energy development
Energy development is the effort to provide sufficient primary energy sources and secondary energy forms for supply, cost, impact on air pollution and water pollution, mitigation of climate change with renewable energy....

 is hydroelectric
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

. Small deposits of coal, gas, and petroleum exist but have not yet been developed.

Like other newly independent states
Post-Soviet states
The post-Soviet states, also commonly known as the Former Soviet Union or former Soviet republics, are the 15 independent states that split off from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in its dissolution in December 1991...

 of the former Soviet Union, Armenia's economy suffers from the legacy of a centrally planned economy
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

 and the breakdown of former Soviet trading patterns. Soviet investment in and support of Armenian industry has virtually disappeared, so that few major enterprises are still able to function. In addition, the effects of the 1988 Spitak Earthquake, which killed more than 25,000 people and made 500,000 homeless, are still being felt. The conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh has not been resolved. The closure of Azerbaijani and Turkish borders has devastated the economy, because Armenia depends on outside supplies of energy and most raw materials. Land routes through Georgia and Iran are inadequate or unreliable. GDP fell nearly 60% between 1989 and 1993, but then resumed robust growth. The national currency, the dram, suffered hyperinflation for the first years after its introduction in 1993.

Nevertheless, the government was able to make wide-ranging economic reforms that paid off in dramatically lower inflation and steady growth. The 1994 cease-fire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has also helped the economy. Armenia has had strong economic growth since 1995, building on the turnaround that began the previous year, and inflation has been negligible for the past several years. New sectors, such as precious stone
Gemstone
A gemstone or gem is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments...

 processing and jewellery making, information
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 and communication technology
Information and communication technologies
Information and communications technology or information and communication technology, usually abbreviated as ICT, is often used as an extended synonym for information technology , but is usually a more general term that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of...

, and even tourism are beginning to supplement more traditional sectors of the economy, such as agriculture.

This steady economic progress has earned Armenia increasing support from international institutions. The International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF), World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Founded in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development uses the tools of investment to help build market economies and democracies in 30 countries from central Europe to central Asia. Its mission was to support the formerly communist countries in the process of establishing their...

 (EBRD), and other international financial institutions
Global financial system
The global financial system is the financial system consisting of institutions and regulators that act on the international level, as opposed to those that act on a national or regional level...

 (IFIs) and foreign countries are extending considerable grants and loans. Loans to Armenia since 1993 exceed $1.1 billion. These loans are targeted at reducing the budget deficit and stabilizing the currency; developing private businesses; energy; agriculture; food processing; transportation; the health and education sectors; and ongoing rehabilitation in the earthquake zone. The government joined the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 on 5 February 2003. But one of the main sources of foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

s remains the Armenian diaspora, which finances major parts of the reconstruction of infrastructure and other public projects. Being a growing democratic state, Armenia also hopes to get more financial aid from the Western World.

A liberal foreign investment law was approved in June 1994, and a law on privatisation was adopted in 1997, as well as a program of state property privatisation. Continued progress will depend on the ability of the government to strengthen its macroeconomic management, including increasing revenue collection, improving the investment climate, and making strides against corruption. However, unemployment, which currently stands at around 15%, still remains a major problem due to the influx of thousands of refugees from the Karabakh conflict.

Armenia ranked 78th on the 2010 UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
The United Nations Development Programme is the United Nations' global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP operates in 177 countries, working with nations on their own solutions to...

 Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

, the lowest among the Transcaucasian
South Caucasus
The South Caucasus is a geopolitical region located on the border of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia also referred to as Transcaucasia, or The Trans-Caucasus...

 republics. In the 2007 Transparency International
Transparency International
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide...

 Corruption Perceptions Index
Corruption Perceptions Index
Since 1995, Transparency International publishes the Corruption Perceptions Index annually ranking countries "by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys." The CPI generally defines corruption as "the misuse of public power for private...

 (CPI), Armenia ranked 99 of 179 countries. In the 2008 Index of Economic Freedom
Index of Economic Freedom
The Index of Economic Freedom is a series of 10 economic measurements created by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. Its stated objective is to measure the degree of economic freedom in the world's nations....

, Armenia ranked 28th, ahead of countries like Austria, France, Portugal and Italy.

Demographics


Armenia has a population of 3,238,000 (2008 est.) and is the second most densely populated of the former Soviet republics. There has been a problem of population decline
Population decline
Population decline can refer to the decline in population of any organism, but this article refers to population decline in humans. It is a term usually used to describe any great reduction in a human population...

 due to elevated levels of emigration after the break-up of the USSR. The steady outflow of Armenia's population, fueled by a prolonged economic slump is already causing existential concerns in the country.

Diaspora



Armenia has a relatively large diaspora
Armenian diaspora
The Armenian diaspora refers to the Armenian communities outside the Republic of Armenia and self proclaimed de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic...

 (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
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, the United States, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Syria, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Greece, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, Israel, Poland and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

. 40,000 to 70,000 Armenians still live in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 (mostly in and around Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

).

Also, about 1,000 Armenians reside in the Armenian Quarter
Armenian Quarter
The Armenian Quarter is one of the four quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Armenian Quarter is the smallest of the four quarters, with the smallest number of residents....

 in the Old City of Jerusalem in Israel, a remnant of a once-larger community. Italy is home to the San Lazzaro degli Armeni
San Lazzaro degli Armeni
San Lazzaro degli Armeni is a small island in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy, lying immediately west of the Lido; completely occupied by a monastery that is the mother-house of the Mekhitarist Order, the island is one of the world's foremost centers of Armenian culture.- Background :The...

, an island located in the Venetian Lagoon
Venetian Lagoon
The Venetian Lagoon is the enclosed bay of the Adriatic Sea in which the city of Venice is situated. Its name in the Venetian language, Laguna Veneta— cognate of Latin lacus, "lake"— has provided the international name for an enclosed, shallow embayment of saltwater, a lagoon.The Venetian Lagoon...

, which is completely occupied by a monastery run by the Mechitarists
Mechitarists
The Mechitarists , are a congregation of Benedictine monks of the Armenian Catholic Church founded in 1712 by Abbot Mechitar of Sebastia. They are best known for their series of scholarly publications of ancient Armenian versions of otherwise lost ancient Greek texts.-History:Their eponymous...

, an Armenian Catholic congregation. In addition, approximately 139,000 Armenians live in the de facto country of Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, lying between Lower Karabakh and Zangezur and covering the southeastern range of the Lesser Caucasus mountains...

 where they form a majority.

Ethnic groups



Ethnic Armenians
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 make up 97.9% of the population. Yazidi
Yazidi
The Yazidi are members of a Kurdish religion with ancient Indo-Iranian roots. They are primarily a Kurdish-speaking people living in the Mosul region of northern Iraq, with additional communities in Transcaucasia, Armenia, Turkey, and Syria in decline since the 1990s – their members emigrating to...

s make up 1.3%, and Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 0.5%. Other minorities include Assyrians
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

, Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

, Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

, Kurds
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

, Georgians
Georgians
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

, and Belarusians
Belarusians
Belarusians ; are an East Slavic ethnic group who populate the majority of the Republic of Belarus. Introduced to the world as a new state in the early 1990s, the Republic of Belarus brought with it the notion of a re-emerging Belarusian ethnicity, drawn upon the lines of the Old Belarusian...

. There are also smaller communities of Vlachs
Vlachs
Vlach is a blanket term covering several modern Latin peoples descending from the Latinised population in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. English variations on the name include: Walla, Wlachs, Wallachs, Vlahs, Olahs or Ulahs...

, Mordvins, Ossetians
Ossetians
The Ossetians are an Iranic ethnic group of the Caucasus Mountains, eponymous of the region known as Ossetia.They speak Ossetic, an Iranian language of the Eastern branch, with most also fluent in Russian as a second language....

, Udis
Udi people
The Udis are one of the most ancient native peoples of the Caucasus.Currently they live in Azerbaijan, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and many other countries. The total number is about 10,000 people. They speak the Udi language. Among them are distributed also Azeri, Russian,...

, and Tats
Tats
Tats are an Iranian people, presently living within Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia ....

. Minorities of Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 and Caucasus Germans
Caucasus Germans
Caucasus Germans are part of the German minority in Russia and the Soviet Union. They migrated to the Caucasus largely in the first half of the 19th century and settled in the North Caucasus, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and in the region of Kars...

 also exist though they are heavily Russified
Russification
Russification is an adoption of the Russian language or some other Russian attributes by non-Russian communities...

.

During the Soviet era, Azerbaijanis
Azerbaijani people
The Azerbaijanis are a Turkic-speaking people living mainly in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in the neighbourhood states, Georgia, Russia and formerly Armenia. Commonly referred to as Azeris or Azerbaijani Turks , they also live in a wider area from the Caucasus to...

 were historically the second largest population in the country (forming about 2.5% in 1989). However, due to the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, lying between Lower Karabakh and Zangezur and covering the southeastern range of the Lesser Caucasus mountains...

 virtually all of them emigrated from Armenia to Azerbaijan. Conversely, Armenia received a large influx of Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan, thus giving Armenia a more homogeneous character.

Languages


Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

 is the only official language even though Russian is widely used, especially in education, and could be considered as de facto "second language". 94% of adult Armenians consider it important that their children learn Russian.

Health


Life expectancy at birth was at 70 for males and at 76 for females in 2006. Health expenditure was at about 5.6 % of the GDP in 2004. Most of this was outside the private sector. Government expenditure on health was at US$ 112 per person in 2006.

Religion




Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity as a state religion, an event traditionally dated to AD 301.

The predominant religion in Armenia
Religion in Armenia
97% of Armenians follow Christianity, which has existed in Armenia for over 1,700 years. Armenia has its own church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, which most Armenians follow...

 is Christianity. The roots of the Armenian Church
Armenian Apostolic Church
The Armenian Apostolic Church is the world's oldest National Church, is part of Oriental Orthodoxy, and is one of the most ancient Christian communities. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD, in establishing this church...

 go back to the 1st century. According to tradition, the Armenian Church was founded by two of Jesus' twelve apostles – Thaddaeus and Bartholomew – who preached Christianity in Armenia between AD 40–60. Because of these two founding apostles, the official name of the Armenian Church is Armenian Apostolic Church
Armenian Apostolic Church
The Armenian Apostolic Church is the world's oldest National Church, is part of Oriental Orthodoxy, and is one of the most ancient Christian communities. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD, in establishing this church...

.

Over 93% of Armenian Christians belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church, a form of Oriental (Non-Chalcedonian) Orthodoxy, which is a very ritualistic, conservative church, roughly comparable to the Coptic and Syriac
Syriac Orthodox Church
The Syriac Orthodox Church; is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Eastern Mediterranean, with members spread throughout the world. The Syriac Orthodox Church claims to derive its origin from one of the first Christian communities, established in Antioch by the Apostle St....

 churches. Armenian Apostolic Church is in communion only with a group of churches within Oriental Orthodoxy.

Other religious denominations in Armenia are the Baptists and Presbyterians.

Catholics also exist in Armenia, both Latin rite
Latin Church
The Latin Church is the largest particular church within the Catholic Church. It is a particular church not on the level of the local particular churches known as dioceses or eparchies, but on the level of autonomous ritual churches, of which there are 23, the remaining 22 of which are Eastern...

 and Mekhitarist
Mechitarists
The Mechitarists , are a congregation of Benedictine monks of the Armenian Catholic Church founded in 1712 by Abbot Mechitar of Sebastia. They are best known for their series of scholarly publications of ancient Armenian versions of otherwise lost ancient Greek texts.-History:Their eponymous...

 Catholics. The Mechitarists (also spelled "Mekhitarists" ), are a congregation of Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 monks of the Armenian Catholic Church
Armenian Catholic Church
|- |The Armenian Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic Church sui juris in union with the other Eastern Rite, Oriental Rite and Latin Rite Catholics who accept the Bishop of Rome as spiritual leader of the Church. It is regulated by Eastern canon law...

 founded in 1712 by Mekhitar of Sebaste. They are best known for their series of scholarly publications of ancient Armenian
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 versions of otherwise lost ancient Greek texts.

The Armenian Catholic
Armenian Catholic Church
|- |The Armenian Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic Church sui juris in union with the other Eastern Rite, Oriental Rite and Latin Rite Catholics who accept the Bishop of Rome as spiritual leader of the Church. It is regulated by Eastern canon law...

 denomination is headquartered in Bzoummar
Bzoummar
Bzoummar also Bzommar is a village in Lebanon. It is located 36 km northeast of Beirut at an elevation ranging between 920 and 950m above the Mediterranean. It is part of the Caza of Keserwan. Bzoummar is home to the 250 year-old Convent of the Armenian Catholic Church that was built in 1749...

, Lebanon.

The Yazidi Kurds, who live in the western part of the country, practice Yazidism. There are also non-Yazidi Kurds who practice Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

.. There is a Jewish community in Armenia
History of the Jews in Armenia
The history of the Jews in Armenia dates back more than 2,000 years.-Armenian Kingdom:Tournebize holds that the Assyrians deported Jews directly to Armenia, and not to the Khabur valley. Aslan mentions that the Jews of Samaria were deported to Armenia....

 diminished to 750 persons since independence with most emigrants leaving for Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. There are currently two synagogues in Armenia – in the capital, Yerevan, and in the city of Sevan
Sevan (city)
Sevan is a city and a popular resort in Armenia, in the Gegharkunik Province, lies on the northern shores of Lake Sevan. The town is founded on a height of over 1900 meters above sea level, 66 kilometers north-east of the capital Yerevan, and 40 kilometers north of Gavar, the administrative...

 located near Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia and the Caucasus region. It is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in the world.Lake Sevan is situated in the central part of the Republic of Armenia, inside the Gegharkunik Province, at the altitude of 1,900m above sea level...

.

Education



In its first years of independence
History of Armenia
Armenia lies in the highlands surrounding the Biblical mountains of Ararat. The original Armenian name for the country was Hayk, later Hayastan , translated as the land of Haik, and consisting of the name Haik and the suffix '-stan' ....

, Armenia made uneven progress in establishing systems to meet its national requirements in social services. Education, held in particular esteem in Armenian culture
Culture of Armenia
The culture of Armenia encompasses many elements that are based on the geography, literature, architecture, dance, and music of the people. The culture is similar to and yet distinct from many of the bordering countries like Russia, Georgia and Iran as well as Mediterranean nations such as Greece...

, changed fastest of the social services, while health and welfare services attempted to maintain the basic state-planned structure of the Soviet era.

A literacy rate of 100% was reported as early as 1960. In the communist era, Armenian education followed the standard Soviet model of complete state control (from Moscow) of curricula
Curriculum
See also Syllabus.In formal education, a curriculum is the set of courses, and their content, offered at a school or university. As an idea, curriculum stems from the Latin word for race course, referring to the course of deeds and experiences through which children grow to become mature adults...

 and teaching methods and close integration of education activities with other aspects of society, such as politics, culture, and the economy. As in the Soviet period, primary and secondary education in Armenia is free, and completion of secondary school is compulsory
Compulsory education
Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all persons.-Antiquity to Medieval Era:Although Plato's The Republic is credited with having popularized the concept of compulsory education in Western intellectual thought, every parent in Judea since Moses's Covenant with...

.

In the 1988–89 school year, 301 students per 10,000 population were in specialized secondary or higher education, a figure slightly lower than the Soviet average. In 1989 some 58 % of Armenians over age fifteen had completed their secondary education, and 14 % had a higher education. In the 1990–91 school year, the estimated 1,307 primary and secondary schools were attended by 608,800 students. Another seventy specialized secondary institutions had 45,900 students, and 68,400 students were enrolled in a total of ten postsecondary institutions that included universities. In addition, 35 % of eligible children attended preschools
Preschool education
Preschool education is the provision of learning to children before the commencement of statutory and obligatory education, usually between the ages of zero and three or five, depending on the jurisdiction....

. In 1992 Armenia's largest institution of higher learning, Yerevan State University
Yerevan State University
Yerevan State University is a university in Yerevan, Armenia. Founded on May 16 1919, it is the largest university in the country with 110 departments. Of its 3,150 employees, 1,190 comprise the teaching staff which includes 25 academicians, 130 professors, 700 docents , and 360 assistant lecturers...

, had eighteen departments, including ones for social sciences, sciences, and law. Its faculty numbered about 1,300 teachers and its student population about 10,000 students. The Yerevan Architecture and Civil Engineering Institute was founded in 1989.

In the early 1990s, Armenia made substantial changes to the centralized and regimented Soviet system. Because at least 98 % of students in higher education were Armenian, curricula began to emphasize Armenian history
History of Armenia
Armenia lies in the highlands surrounding the Biblical mountains of Ararat. The original Armenian name for the country was Hayk, later Hayastan , translated as the land of Haik, and consisting of the name Haik and the suffix '-stan' ....

 and culture
Culture of Armenia
The culture of Armenia encompasses many elements that are based on the geography, literature, architecture, dance, and music of the people. The culture is similar to and yet distinct from many of the bordering countries like Russia, Georgia and Iran as well as Mediterranean nations such as Greece...

. Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

 became the dominant language of instruction, and many schools that had taught in Russian closed by the end of 1991. Russian was still widely taught, however, as a second language.
On the basis of the expansion and development of Yerevan State University a number of higher educational independent Institutions were formed including Medical Institute separated in 1930 which was set up on the basis of medical faculty. In 1980 Yerevan State Medical University was awarded one of the main rewards of the former USSR – the Order of Labor red Banner for training qualified specialists in health care and valuable service in the development of Medical Science.
In 1995 YSMI was renamed to YSMU and since 1989 it has been named after Mkhitar Heratsi, the famous medieval doctor. Mkhitar Heratsi was the founder of Armenian Medical school in Cilician Armenia. The great doctor played the same role in Armenian Medical Science as Hippocrates
Hippocrates
Hippocrates of Cos or Hippokrates of Kos was an ancient Greek physician of the Age of Pericles , and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine...

 in Western, Galen
Galen
Aelius Galenus or Claudius Galenus , better known as Galen of Pergamon , was a prominent Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher...

 in Roman, Ibn Sīnā
Avicenna
Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā , commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived...

 in Arabic medicine.

Foreign students' department for Armenian Diaspora established in 1957 later was enlarged and the enrollment of foreign students began.
Nowadays the YSMU is a Medical Institution corresponding to international requirements, trains medical staff not only for Armenia and neighbor countries, i.e. Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Georgia but for many other leading countries all over the world. A great number of foreign students from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the USA and Russian Federation study together with Armenian students. Nowadays the university is ranked among famous higher Medical Institutions and takes its honorable place in the World Directory of Medical schools published by the WHO.

Other schools in Armenia include the American University of Armenia
American University of Armenia
The American University of Armenia is a private, nonsectarian, independent university founded in 1991 in Yerevan, Armenia. Its creation inspired in the aftermath of the 1988 Leninakan Earthquake, the university is the first Armenian institution modeled on Western-style higher education, committed...

 and the QSI International School of Yerevan
QSI International School of Yerevan
The QSI International School of Yerevan is an international school in Yerevan, Armenia and part of the Quality Schools International group. It is an independent, coeducational day school which offers an educational program to children of all nationalities ages 3 to 18...

.
The American University of Armenia
American University of Armenia
The American University of Armenia is a private, nonsectarian, independent university founded in 1991 in Yerevan, Armenia. Its creation inspired in the aftermath of the 1988 Leninakan Earthquake, the university is the first Armenian institution modeled on Western-style higher education, committed...

 has graduate programs
Graduate school
A graduate school is a school that awards advanced academic degrees with the general requirement that students must have earned a previous undergraduate degree...

 in Business and Law, among others. The institution owes its existence to the combined efforts of the Government of Armenia, the Armenian General Benevolent Union
Armenian General Benevolent Union
The Armenian General Benevolent Union abbreviated as AGBU, is a non-profit Armenian organization. It was established in Cairo, Egypt in 1906...

, U.S. Agency for International Development
United States Agency for International Development
The United States Agency for International Development is the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961 by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas...

, and the University of California
University of California
The University of California is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University...

. The extension programs and the library at AUA form a new focal point for English-language intellectual life in the city.

Culture


Armenians have their own distinctive alphabet
Armenian alphabet
The Armenian alphabet is an alphabet that has been used to write the Armenian language since the year 405 or 406. It was devised by Saint Mesrop Mashtots, an Armenian linguist and ecclesiastical leader, and contained originally 36 letters. Two more letters, օ and ֆ, were added in the Middle Ages...

 and language
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

. The alphabet was invented in AD 405 by Saint Mesrob Mashtots
Saint Mesrob
Saint Mesrop Mashtots was an Armenian monk, theologian and linguist. He is best known for having invented the Armenian alphabet, which was a fundamental step in strengthening the Armenian Church, the government of the Armenian Kingdom, and ultimately the bond between the Armenian Kingdom and...

 and consists of thirty-eight letters, two of which were added during the Cilician period. 96% of the people in the country speak Armenian, while 75.8% of the population additionally speaks Russian although English is becoming increasingly popular.

Music and Dance


Armenian music is a mix of indigenous folk music, perhaps best-represented by Djivan Gasparyan
Djivan Gasparyan
Djivan Gasparyan is an Armenian musician and composer. He plays the duduk, a double reed woodwind instrument related to the orchestral oboe. Gasparyan is known as the Master of the duduk.-Biography:...

's well-known duduk
Duduk
The duduk , traditionally known since antiquity as a Ծիրանափող is a traditional woodwind instrument indigenous to Armenia. Variations of it are popular in the Middle East and Central Asia...

 music, as well as light pop, and extensive Christian music
Christian music
Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith. Common themes of Christian music include praise, worship, penitence, and lament, and its forms vary widely across the world....

.

Instruments like the duduk, the dhol
Dhol
Dhol can refer to any one of a number of similar types of double-headed drum widely used, with regional variations, throughout the Indian subcontinent and nearby regions. Its range of distribution in India and Pakistan primarily includes northern areas such as the Assam Valley, Bengal, Gujarat,...

, the zurna
Zurna
The zurna , is a multinational outdoor wind instrument, usually accompanied by a davul in Anatolian folk music. The name is from Turkish zurna, itself derived from Persian سرنای surnāy, composed of sūr “banquet, feast” and nāy “reed, pipe”...

 and the kanun
Kanun (Instrument)
The Qanun is a string instrument found in the 10th century in Farab in Turkestan...

 are commonly found in Armenian folk music. Artists such as Sayat Nova are famous due to their influence in the development of Armenian folk music. One of the oldest types of Armenian music is the Armenian chant
Armenian chant
Armenian chant is the melismatic monophonic chant used in the liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Church.Armenian chant, like Byzantine chant, consists mainly of hymns. The chants are grouped in an oktoechos. The oldest hymns were in prose, but later versified hymns, such as those by Nerses...

 which is the most common kind of religious music in Armenia. Many of these chants are ancient in origin, extending to pre-Christian times, while others are relatively modern, including several composed by Saint Mesrop Mashtots, the inventor of the Armenian alphabet. Whilst under Soviet rule, Armenian classical music composer Aram Khatchaturian became internationally well known for his music, for various ballets and the Sabre Dance
Sabre Dance
"The Sabre Dance" is a movement in the final act of the ballet Gayane , written by Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian's and completed in 1942. It evokes a whirling war dance in an Armenian dance, where the dancers display their skill with sabres. Its middle section incorporates an Armenian folk...

 from his composition for the ballet Gayane.

The Armenian Genocide caused widespread emigration that led to the settlement of Armenians in various countries in the world. Armenians kept to their traditions and certain diasporans rose to fame with their music. In the post-Genocide Armenian community of the United States, the so called "kef" style Armenian dance music, using Armenian and Middle Eastern folk instruments (often electrified/amplified) and some western instruments, was popular. This style preserved the folk songs and dances of Western Armenia
Western Armenia
Western Armenia is a term, primarily used by Armenians, to refer to Armenian-inhabited areas of the Armenian Highland that were part of the Ottoman Empire and now are part of the Republic of Turkey....

, and many artists also played the contemporary popular songs of Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries from which the Armenians emigrated. Richard Hagopian
Richard Hagopian
Richard Avedis Hagopian is an American Oriental-style oud player and traditional Armenian musician.Hagopian was born in Fowler, California. He has been a musician since childhood, learning to play the violin and clarinet at nine years old. He started playing the oud at age of 11...

 is perhaps the most famous artist of the traditional "kef" style and the Vosbikian Band was notable in the 40s and 50s for developing their own style of "kef music" heavily influenced by the popular American Big Band
Big band
A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately twelve to twenty-five musicians...

 Jazz of the time. Later, stemming from the Middle Eastern Armenian diaspora and influenced by Continental European (especially French) pop music, the Armenian pop music genre grew to fame in the 60s and 70s with artists such as Adiss Harmandian
Adiss Harmandian
Adiss Harmandian is a Lebanese-Armenian pop singer but now residing in Los Angeles, CA, United States and is a naturalized American citizen....

 and Harout Pamboukjian
Harout Pamboukjian
Harout Pamboukjian , , is an Armenian American pop singer living in Los Angeles. His Armenian dance, folk and revolutionary songs make him a favorite among Armenians.- Early life :...

 performing to the Armenian diaspora and Armenia. Also with artists such as Sirusho
Sirusho
Siranush Harutyunyan , known simply as Sirusho , is an Armenian pop singer. She began her music career singing live in Canada, in the Armenian diaspora music scene, when she was seven years old and, at the age of nine, she received an Armenian Music Award for her song "Lusabats"...

, performing pop music combined with Armenian folk music in today's entertainment industry. Other Armenian diasporans that rose to fame in classical or international music circles are world renown French-Armenian singer and composer Charles Aznavour
Charles Aznavour
Charles Aznavour, OC is an Armenian-French singer, songwriter, actor, public activist and diplomat. Besides being one of France's most popular and enduring singers, he is also one of the best-known singers in the world...

, pianist Sahan Arzruni
Sahan Arzruni
Şahan Arzruni is an Armenian pianist, composer, ethnomusicologist, lecturer, writer and producer.Arzruni was born in Istanbul, Turkey, whose family name belongs to an ancient Armenian dynasty...

, prominent opera sopranos such as Hasmik Papian
Hasmik Papian
- Biography :Hasmik Papian graduated from High Academy in Yerevan first as a violinist, then as a singer. After her debut at the Armenian National Opera, she was invited as a soloist among others by Opera Bonn and Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf, Germany...

 and more recently Isabel Bayrakdarian
Isabel Bayrakdarian
Isabel Bayrakdarian is a Grammy Award-nominated Armenian Canadian opera singer.-Early life:Born in Lebanon in 1974, she moved to Canada as a teenager. Bayrakdarian graduated in 1997 from the University of Toronto with an honours B.A.Sc...

 and Anna Kasyan
Anna Kasyan
Anna Kasyan is a Georgia-born Armenian opera singer living in France.Kasyan is one of the young artists who is viewed with high expectations in her field.-Early life and education:...

. Certain Armenians settled to sing non-Armenian tunes such as the heavy metal band System of a Down
System of a Down
System of a Down, also known by the acronym SOAD and often shortened to System, is a rock band from Southern California. The band was formed in 1994. It consists of Serj Tankian , Daron Malakian , Shavo Odadjian and John Dolmayan...

 (which nonetheless often incorporates traditional Armenian instrumentals and styling into their songs) or pop star Cher
Cher
Cher is an American recording artist, television personality, actress, director, record producer and philanthropist. Referred to as the Goddess of Pop, she has won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, three Golden Globes and a Cannes Film Festival Award among others for her work in...

. In the Armenian diaspora, Armenian revolutionary songs
Armenian Revolutionary Songs
Armenian Revolutionary Songs are songs that promote Armenian patriotism. The origins of these songs lay largely in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when Armenian political parties were established to struggle for the political and civil rights of Armenians living in the Ottoman...

 are popular with the youth. These songs encourage Armenian patriotism and are generally about Armenian history and national heroes.

Art




Yerevan's Vernisage (arts and crafts market), close to Republic Square, bustles with hundreds of vendors selling a variety of crafts on weekends and Wednesdays (though the selection is much reduced mid-week). The market offers woodcarving, antiques, fine lace, and the hand-knotted wool carpets and kilims that are a Caucasus specialty. Obsidian
Obsidian
Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock.It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth...

, which is found locally, is crafted into assortment of jewellery and ornamental objects. Armenian gold smithery enjoys a long tradition, populating one corner of the market with a selection of gold items. Soviet relics and souvenirs of recent Russian manufacture—nesting dolls, watches, enamel boxes and so on, are also available at the Vernisage.

Across from the Opera House, a popular art market fills another city park on the weekends. Armenia’s long history as a crossroads of the ancient world
Ancient history
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC...

 has resulted in a landscape with innumerable fascinating archaeological site
Archaeological site
An archaeological site is a place in which evidence of past activity is preserved , and which has been, or may be, investigated using the discipline of archaeology and represents a part of the archaeological record.Beyond this, the definition and geographical extent of a 'site' can vary widely,...

s to explore. Medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 and even Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

 sites are all within a few hours drive from the city. All but the most spectacular remain virtually undiscovered, allowing visitors to view churches and fortresses in their original settings.

The National Art Gallery in Yerevan has more than 16,000 works that date back to the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, which indicate Armenia's rich tales and stories of the times. It houses paintings by many European masters as well. The Modern Art Museum, the Children’s Picture Gallery, and the Martiros Saryan
Martiros Saryan
Martiros Saryan was an Armenian painter.He was born into an Armenian family in Nor Nakhijevan . In 1895, aged 15, he completed the Nakhichevan school and from 1897 to 1904 studied at the Moscow School of Arts, including in the workshops of Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin...

 Museum are only a few of the other noteworthy collections of fine art on display in Yerevan. Moreover, many private galleries are in operation, with many more opening every year, featuring rotating exhibitions and sales.

Sport




A wide array of sports are played in Armenia, the most popular among them being wrestling
Wrestling
Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position...

, weightlifting
Weight training
Weight training is a common type of strength training for developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles. It uses the weight force of gravity to oppose the force generated by muscle through concentric or eccentric contraction...

, judo
Judo
is a modern martial art and combat sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw or takedown one's opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one's opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an...

, association football, chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

, and boxing
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

. Armenia's mountainous terrain provides great opportunities for the practice of sports like skiing
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

 and climbing
Climbing
Climbing is the activity of using one's hands and feet to ascend a steep object. It is done both for recreation and professionally, as part of activities such as maintenance of a structure, or military operations.Climbing activities include:* Bouldering: Ascending boulders or small...

. Being a landlocked country, water sports can only be practiced on lakes, notably Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia and the Caucasus region. It is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in the world.Lake Sevan is situated in the central part of the Republic of Armenia, inside the Gegharkunik Province, at the altitude of 1,900m above sea level...

. Competitively, Armenia has been successful in chess, weightlifting and wrestling at the international level. Armenia is also an active member of the international sports community, with full membership in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA
UEFA
The Union of European Football Associations , almost always referred to by its acronym UEFA is the administrative and controlling body for European association football, futsal and beach soccer....

) and International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). It also hosts the Pan-Armenian Games
Pan-Armenian Games
The Pan-Armenian Games are a multi-sport event, held between competitors from the Armenian diaspora and Armenia. They consist of various competitions in individual and team sports among the Armenian athletes...

.

Prior to 1992, Armenians would participate in the Olympics representing the USSR. As part of the Soviet Union, Armenia was very successful, winning plenty of medals and helping the USSR win the medal standings at the Olympics on numerous occasions. The first medal won by an Armenian in modern Olympic history was by Hrant Shahinian (sometimes spelled as Grant Shaginian), who won two golds and two silvers in gymnastics at the 1952 Summer Olympics
1952 Summer Olympics
The 1952 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. Helsinki had been earlier given the 1940 Summer Olympics, which were cancelled due to World War II...

 in Helsinki. To highlight the level of success of Armenians in the Olympics, Shahinian was quoted as saying:

“ Armenian sportsmen had to outdo their opponents by several notches for the shot at being accepted into any Soviet team. But those difficulties notwithstanding, 90 percent of Armenians athletes on Soviet Olympic teams came back with medals."

Armenia first participated at the 1992 Summer Olympics
1992 Summer Olympics
The 1992 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event celebrated in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, in 1992. The International Olympic Committee voted in 1986 to separate the Summer and Winter Games, which had been held in the same...

 in Barcelona under a unified CIS team, where it was very successful, winning three golds and one silver in weightlifting, wrestling and sharp shooting, despite only having 5 athletes. Since the 1994 Winter Olympics
1994 Winter Olympics
The 1994 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XVII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 12 to 27 February 1994 in and around Lillehammer, Norway. Lillehammer failed to win the bid for the 1992 event. Lillehammer was awarded the games in 1988, after having beat...

 in Lillehammer
Lillehammer
is a town and municipality in Oppland county, Norway, globally known for hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics. It is part of the traditional region of Gudbrandsdal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Lillehammer. As of May 2011, the population of the town of Lillehammer was...

, Armenia has participated as an independent nation.

Armenia participates in the Summer Olympic Games in boxing, wrestling, weightlifting, judo, gymnastics, track and field, diving, swimming and sharp shooting. It also participates in the Winter Olympic Games in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and figure skating.
Football
Football in Armenia
Football in Armenia is the country's most popular sport. Armenia is currently ranked 59 and has had much success since its independence. Since gaining independence in 1991, Armenia has had its own national association that takes part in all FIFA competitions...

 is also popular in Armenia. The most successful team was the FC Ararat Yerevan
FC Ararat Yerevan
FC Ararat Yerevan , is an Armenian football club, based in Yerevan. Currently, the club plays in the Armenian Premier League, and is one of the most popular teams in Armenia.- History :...

 team of the 1970s who won the Soviet Cup
Soviet Cup
The Soviet Cup, or USSR Cup , was the premier football cup competition in the Soviet Union.-Finals:-Performance by club:-Performance by republic:-References:*, rsssf.com. Accessed on 16 May 2006....

 in 1973 and 1975 and the Soviet Top League
Soviet Top League 1973
-Overview:It was performed in 16 teams, and Ararat Yerevan won the championship.-League standings:drawn matches decided by penalties, the winners obtaining 1 point, the losers 0.-Top scorers:18 goals* Oleg Blokhin 16 goals...

 in 1973. The latter achievement saw FC Ararat gain entry to the European Cup where – despite a home victory in the second leg – they lost on aggregate at the quarter final stage to eventual winner FC Bayern Munich
FC Bayern Munich
FC Bayern Munich , is a German sports club based in Munich, Bavaria. It is best known for its professional football team, which is the most successful football club in Germany, having won 22 national titles and 15 cups....

. Armenia competed internationally as part of the USSR national football team
USSR national football team
The Soviet Union National Football Team was the national football team of the Soviet Union. It ceased to exist after the break up of the Union...

 until the Armenian national football team was formed in 1992 after the split of the Soviet Union. Armenia have never qualified for a major tournament although recent improvements saw the team to achieve 44th position in the FIFA World Rankings
FIFA World Rankings
The FIFA World Rankings is a ranking system for men's national teams in association football, currently led by Spain. The teams of the member nations of FIFA , football's world governing body, are ranked based on their game results with the most successful teams being ranked highest...

 in September 2011. The national team is controlled by the Football Federation of Armenia
Football Federation of Armenia
The Football Federation of Armenia is the governing body of football in Armenia. It organizes the football league, Armenian Premier League, Armenian national football team, and the Armenia women's national football team. It is based in Yerevan....

. The Armenian Premier League
Armenian Premier League
The Armenian Premier League is the top football competition in Armenia. From 1936 to 1991, the competition was held as a regional tournament within the USSR. After independence, the Football Federation of Armenia has been the unit in charge. The seasons run from spring to fall...

 is the highest level football competition in Armenia, and has been dominated by FC Pyunik
FC Pyunik
Pyunik Football Club , is an Armenian professional football club based in Yerevan. It is one of the most popular football clubs in Armenia. The club owns its private Nairi Stadium in Yerevan, but due to the bad infrastructure of the venue, Pyunik plays its home games in the Republican Stadium of...

 in recent seasons. The league currently consists of eight teams and relegates to the Armenian First League
Armenian First League
The Armenian First League is currently the second level football competition in Armenia after the Armenian Premier League. The competition exists mostly out of reserve teams of several Premier League clubs, however other teams also participate...

.

Armenia and the Armenian diaspora have produced many successful footballers, including Youri Djorkaeff
Youri Djorkaeff
Youri Raffi Djorkaeff is a former French international footballer who played as a forward or as an attacking midfielder. With the French national team, Djorkaeff won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000...

, Alain Boghossian
Alain Boghossian
Alain Boghossian is a retired French-Armenian football player and now assistant coach for the French national team.-Club career:...

, Andranik Eskandarian
Andranik Eskandarian
Andranik Eskandarian is an Armenian Iranian-American footballer. He played as a defender for the F.C. Ararat Tehran, Taj F.C. and New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League....

, Andranik Teymourian
Andranik Teymourian
Andranik Timotian-Samarani , more commonly known as Andranik "Ando" Teymourian is an Armenian Iranian footballer. He usually plays as a defensive midfielder, but can also play as a side midfielder. He is notably the only Christian footballer in the Iranian national team.-Early career:Andranik was...

, Edgar Manucharyan
Edgar Manucharyan
Edgar Manucharyan is an Armenian footballer, who currently plays for Russian First Division club Ural Ekaterinburg on loan from Armenian Premier League club Pyunik Yerevan.-Pyunik:...

 and Nikita Simonyan. Djokaeff and Boghossian won the 1998 FIFA World Cup
1998 FIFA World Cup
The 1998 FIFA World Cup, the 16th FIFA World Cup, was held in France from 10 June to 12 July 1998. France was chosen as host nation by FIFA on 2 July 1992. The tournament was won by France, who beat Brazil 3-0 in the final...

 with France
France national football team
The France national football team represents the nation of France in international football. It is fielded by the French Football Federation , the governing body of football in France, and competes as a member of UEFA, which encompasses the countries of Europe...

, Andranik Teymourian competed in the 2006 World Cup
2006 FIFA World Cup
The 2006 FIFA World Cup was the 18th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 9 June to 9 July 2006 in Germany, which won the right to host the event in July 2000. Teams representing 198 national football associations from all six...

 for Iran
Iran national football team
The national football team of Iran represents Iran in international football competitions and is controlled by the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran...

 and Edgar Manucharyan played in the Dutch Eredivisie
Eredivisie
The Eredivisie is the highest football league in the Netherlands. The league was founded in 1956 two years after the start of professional football in the Netherlands. It is currently ranked the ninth best league in Europe by UEFA....

 for Ajax.

Wrestling
Wrestling
Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position...

 has been a successful sport in the Olympics for Armenia. At the 1996 Summer Olympics
Armenia at the 1996 Summer Olympics
Armenia competed in the Summer Olympic Games for the first time at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, United States. Previously, Armenian athletes competed for the Unified Team at the 1992 Summer Olympics.- Gold:...

 in Atlanta, Armen Nazaryan
Armen Nazarian
Armen Nazarian |Masis]], Armenian SSR, Soviet Union) is an Armenian/Bulgarian Greco Roman wrestler and a member of the FILA Hall of Fame....

 won the gold in the Men's Greco-Roman
Greco-Roman wrestling
Greco-Roman wrestling is a style of wrestling that is practised worldwide. It was contested at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has been included in every edition of the summer Olympics held since 1908. Two wrestlers are scored for their performance in three two-minute periods, which can...

 Flyweight (52 kg) category and Armen Mkertchian
Armen Mkertchian
Armen Mkertchian is an Armenian wrestler. At the 1996 Summer Olympics he won the silver medal in the men's Freestyle Light Flyweight category.-External links:**...

 won the silver in Men's Freestyle
Freestyle wrestling
Freestyle wrestling is a style of amateur wrestling that is practised throughout the world. Along with Greco-Roman, it is one of the two styles of wrestling contested in the Olympic games. It is, along with track and field, one of the oldest organized sports in history...

 Paperweight (48 kg) category, securing Armenia's first two medals in its Olympic history.

Traditional Armenian wrestling is called Kokh and practiced in traditional garb; it was one of the influences included in the Soviet combat sport of Sambo
Sambo (martial art)
Sambo is a Russian martial art and combat sport. The word "SAMBO" is an acronym for SAMooborona Bez Oruzhiya, which literally translates as "self-defense without weapons". Sambo is relatively modern since its development began in the early 1920s by the Soviet Red Army to improve their hand to hand...

, which is also very popular.

The government of Armenia
Politics of Armenia
Politics of Armenia takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President is the head of government, and of a platform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government...

 budgets about $2.8 million annually for sports and gives it to the National Committee of Physical Education and Sports, the body that determines which programs should benefit from the funds.

Due to the lack of success lately on the international level, in recent years, Armenia has rebuilt 16 Soviet-era sports schools and furnished them with new equipment for a total cost of $1.9 million. The rebuilding of the regional schools was financed by the Armenian government. $9.3 million has been invested in the resort town of Tsaghkadzor to improve the winter sports infrastructure because of dismal performances at recent winter sports events. In 2005, a cycling center was opened in Yerevan
Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country...

 with the aim of helping produce world class Armenian cyclists. The government has also promised a cash reward of $700,000 to Armenians who win a gold medal at the Olympics.

Armenia is very successful in chess, and their men's team is the current World Champion
World Team Chess Championship
The World Team Chess Championship is an international team chess event, eligible for the participation of 10 countries whose chess federations dominate their continent.-Men's team medals:-Women's team medals:-References:*...

, Armenia had also won the World Chess Olympiad
Chess Olympiad
The Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete against each other. The event is organised by FIDE, which selects the host nation.-Birth of the Olympiad:The first Olympiad was unofficial...

 twice in a row.

See also


  • Republic of Mountainous Armenia
    Republic of Mountainous Armenia
    The Republic of Mountainous Armenia was a short-lived and unrecognized state in the South Caucasus, roughly corresponding with the territory that is now the present-day Armenian provinces of Vayots Dzor and Syunik, and parts of the present-day Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.- Turkish–Armenian War :On...

  • Russian Armenia
    Russian Armenia
    Russian Armenia is the period of Armenia's history under Russian rule beginning from 1829, when Eastern Armenia became part of the Russian Empire to the declaration of the Democratic Republic of Armenia in 1918...



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