Theme Week Armenia

Monday, 22 January 2024 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Bon voyage, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  9 minutes

Etchmiadzin Cathedral, UNESCO World Heritage Site © Areg Amirkhanian/cc-by-sa-3.0

Etchmiadzin Cathedral, UNESCO World Heritage Site © Areg Amirkhanian/cc-by-sa-3.0

Armenia, officially the Republic of Armenia, is a landlocked country in the Armenian Highlands of West Asia. It is a part of the Caucasus region and is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the south. Yerevan is the capital, largest city and financial center.

Armenia is a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation-state with an ancient cultural heritage. The first Armenian state of Urartu was established in 860 BC, and by the 6th century BC it was replaced by the Satrapy of Armenia. The Kingdom of Armenia reached its height under Tigranes the Great in the 1st century BC and in the year 301 became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion. Armenia still recognises the Armenian Apostolic Church, the world’s oldest national church, as the country’s primary religious establishment. The ancient Armenian kingdom was split between the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires around the early 5th century. Under the Bagratuni dynasty, the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia was restored in the 9th century before falling in 1045. Cilician Armenia, an Armenian principality and later a kingdom, was located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea between the 11th and 14th centuries.

Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the traditional Armenian homeland composed of Eastern Armenia and Western Armenia came under the rule of the Ottoman and Persian empires, repeatedly ruled by either of the two over the centuries. By the 19th century, Eastern Armenia had been conquered by the Russian Empire, while most of the western parts of the traditional Armenian homeland remained under Ottoman rule. During World War I, 1.5 million Armenians living in their ancestral lands in the Ottoman Empire were systematically exterminated in the Armenian genocide. In 1918, following the Russian Revolution, all non-Russian countries declared their independence after the Russian Empire ceased to exist, leading to the establishment of the First Republic of Armenia. By 1920, the state was incorporated into the Soviet Union. The modern Republic of Armenia became independent in 1991 during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Armenia is a developing country and ranks 85th on the Human Development Index (2021).

The economy relies heavily on investment and support from Armenians abroad. Before independence, Armenia’s economy was largely industry-based – chemicals, electronics, machinery, processed food, synthetic rubber, and textile – and highly dependent on outside resources. The republic had developed a modern industrial sector, supplying machine tools, 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 and total employment 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 and the collapse of the non-agricultural sectors of the economy in the early 1990s. As the economic situation stabilised 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%.

Mount Ararat and the Yerevan skyline © Serouj Ourishian/cc-by-4.0 Statue of king Ashot Yerkat in Ijevan © Quoms Downtown Ashtarak © panoramio.com - Michal Gorski/cc-by-sa-3.0 Etchmiadzin Cathedral, UNESCO World Heritage Site © Areg Amirkhanian/cc-by-sa-3.0 Goris © Irina Gabrielyan/cc-by-sa-3.0 Holy Saviour's Church in Gyumri © Armenak Margarian/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Etchmiadzin Cathedral, UNESCO World Heritage Site © Areg Amirkhanian/cc-by-sa-3.0
The culture of Armenia encompasses many elements that are based on the geography, literature, architecture, dance, and music of the Armenian people. Armenia is a majority Christian country in the Caucasus.

Armenian architecture, as it originates in an earthquake-prone region, tends to be built with this hazard in mind. Armenian buildings tend to be rather low-slung and thick-walled in design. Armenia has abundant resources of stone, and relatively few forests, so stone was nearly always used throughout for large buildings. Small buildings and most residential buildings were normally constructed of lighter materials, and hardly any early examples survive, as at the abandoned medieval capital of Ani.

Yerevan Vernissage (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 speciality. Obsidian, 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 has resulted in a landscape with innumerable fascinating archaeological sites to explore. Medieval, Iron Age, Bronze Age and even Stone Age 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, 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 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. On 13 April 2013, the Armenian government announced a change in law to allow freedom of panorama for 3D works of art (Armenian art).

Armenian cuisine is closely related to eastern and Mediterranean cuisine; various spices, vegetables, fish, and fruits combine to present unique dishes. The main characteristics of Armenian cuisine are a reliance on the quality of the ingredients rather than heavily spicing food, the use of herbs, the use of wheat in a variety of forms, of legumes, nuts, and fruit (as a main ingredient as well as to sour food), and the stuffing of a wide variety of leaves. The pomegranate, with its symbolic association with fertility, represents the nation. The apricot is the national fruit.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on History of Armenia, Armenian genocide, Politics of Armenia, Foreign relations of Armenia, Economy of Armenia, Culture of Armenia, Armenian architecture, World Heritage Sites in Armenia, Armenian cuisine, Wikivoyage Armenia and Wikipedia Armenia. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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