GENERAL INFORMATIONOfficial name: Republic of Armenia (RA), briefly - Armenia
National flag: rectangular panel with three equal horizontal stripes of red, blue, orange from top to bottom in the proportion 1:2
Head of the State: president
Legislative power: one-chamber National Assembly
Official language: Armenian (is part of Indo-European family of languages)
Administrative and territorial unit: marz (11 Marzes in all including Yerevan city)
National currency: Dram (international currency code - AMD)
GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATIONTerritory: 29.74 thousand square km (is comparable with the territory of Belgium or Albania)
Average elevation above sea level: 1800 m
The highest peak: Aragats mountain - 4090 m
The lowest altitude: Debed river canyon - 380 m
The greatest extent: 365 km
Region: north latitudes of subtropics
Climate: dry, continental
Average temperature: in January - -6.8°C, in July - +20.8°C
Time zone: Greenwich mean time + 4 hours
DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATIONPopulation: 3.2 Million, population of the capital - 1.1 Million
Ethnic breakdown: Armenians (98%), Russians, Yezidis, Kurds, Assyrians, Greeks, Ukrainians, Jews and representatives of other nationalities
Religion: Christianity (Armenian Apostolic Church), professed by the vast majority of the population
HISTORICAL INFORMATIONIV-III thousand years: origin of forearmenian tribal unions on the territory of the Armenian Plateau
782 B.C.: establishment of Yerevan city
VI-V centuries B.C.: completion of the Armenian people's ethnic forming on the Armenian Plateau territory and development of the Armenian language
189 B.C.: formation of independent Armenian state
301 A.D.: official acceptance by Armenia of Christianity as a state religion
405 A.D.: creation by Mesrop Mashtots of the Armenian Alphabet - the basis of written language
428 A.D.: partition of Armenia between Rome and Persia
VII century: Armenia is in the power of Arabs
884 A.D.: liberation of the northwestern part of Armenia and recovery of Armenian State system
1080-1375 : Armenian State system established in Kilikia (Mediterranean area)
1639 : partition of Armenia between Turkey (Western Armenia) and Persia (Eastern Armenia)
1828 : Eastern Armenia joins Russia
1915 : Eastern Armenia joins Russia
1918 : Armenian State system recovery in Eastern Armenia - Declaration of the Republic of Armenia
1920 : establishment of the Soviet rule in Armenia
1922-1991 : Armenia is a part of the USSR
1991 : collapse of the USSR and declaration of Independence of the Republic of Armenia
1991 : Armenia is a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States
1992 : Armenia is a member of the U.N.O.
1999 : signing of partnership agreement between Armenia and the European Union
2001 : Armenia is a full member of the Council of Europe
2002 : Armenia enters into the World Trade Organization (WTO)
DRIVING DISTANCES FROM YEREVAN TO TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF ARMENIA AND NAGORNO-KARABAKH (in km)
HOLIDAYS AND MEMORIAL DAYS OF ARMENIAFrom December 31 until January 6 New Year and Christmas Holidays: December 31, January 1, 2 - New Year, January 3, 4, 5 - pre-Christmas holidays, January 6 - Christmas and Epiphany (non-working days)
January 7 All Souls' Day (non-working day)
January 28 Army Day (non-working day)
February 21 Mother Tongue Day
February 28 Memorial Day for the Victims of Organized Massacres in Azerbaijan SSR and the Protection Day of the Rights of the Deported Armenian Population
March 8 Woman's Day (non-working day)
April 1 Satire and Humour Day
April 7 Maternity and Beauty Day
April 24 Memorial Day for Genocide Victims (non-working day)
May 1 Labour Day (non-working day)
May 8 Yerkrapah's Day (War-Volunteers' Day)
May 9 Victory and Peace Day (non-working day)
May 15 Family Day
May 28 Republic Day (non-working day)
June 1 Children's Rights Protection Day
June 14 Memorial Day of Victims of Political Repressions
July 5 Constitution Day (non-working day)
September 1 Knowledge and Literature Day
September 21 Independence Day (non-working day)
October 5 Teacher's Day
October 2nd Saturday Tarkmanchats Day (Translators' Day)
November 10 Day of Local Government
December 7 Memorial Day for Earthquake Victims
8 weeks before Easter Day, on Thursday Surb Vardanants Day (Good Deeds Day)
64 days after Easter Day, on Sunday Holy Echmiadzin Day
Yerevan, the capital city, is 3000 years old but has preserved little of its early history. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world. Its parks, ring-roads, tree-lined avenues were planned by the architect Alexander Tamanian. A visitor will enjoy touring its more than 20 museums, art galleries, the Opera house and parks of this ancient city. Parkland rings boast an array of impressive monuments and statues as those of Vartan Mamikonian and Sasuntsi Tavit. On a hilltop overlooking Yerevan stands the colossal statue of Mother Armenia guarding the Armenians with a sword in her hands.
And after a full day of touring, one can relax at the city’s side-walk cafes or stroll in the parks where sometimes young artists display their works. And for those who want to escape the city, the countryside provides a breathtaking scenery of fields covered with wildflowers, snowy mountains pitted with deep caves and endowed with more than 40,000 ancient churches and monuments.
The Matenadaran (manuscript library) is a world-class museum in Yerevan for its status as the repository for Armenia’s medieval written culture. The gray massive building at the top of a hill is guarded by the statues of St. Mashtots, who invented the Armenian alphabet, and other prominent figures of Armenian literature. The Matenadaran houses more than 15000 Armenian texts and illuminated, handwritten manuscripts.
In Republic Square, one can also visit the State History Museum which houses important archeological collection from Stone Age through Medieval periods. The floors above contain the National Picture Gallery where one can find a huge collection of Russian, Armenian and European works.
The Genocide Memorial and Museum at Tsitsernakaberd (Swallow Castle) sits on the site of an Iron Age fortress on a hill overlooking the Ararat valley. The museum is a testimony to the 1915 destruction of the Armenian communities of Eastern Anatolia. The monument itself is simple yet powerful with the eternal fire burning in memory of the Genocide victims. The spiral is split symbolizing the separation of the Eastern and Western branches of the Armenian people.
The Opera House received the Grande Prix award of architectural design in 1937, and today it houses Khachaturian Hall, home to the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. The Komitas Chamber Music Hall bears traces of the 'Soviet Brutal' architecture school, but is nevertheless one of the finest performance halls in the country. Home to the Komitas Quartet, it is named after Armenian composer and clergyman who recorded Armenian folk songs and helped preserve the tradition.
Etcmiadzin, now called Vagharshapat, is Armenia’s second city and was once the capital of Armenia. It is the birthplace of Armenia’s Christianity and the spiritual home of the head of the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Supreme Catholicos. The original Church of St. Gregory (Tserkov Sv Grigoria) was built in 641-61, but it was destroyed during an earthquake in the 10th century and only excavated ruins remain on the site today. The interior murals, created by the Armenian painter Nagash Ovnatan in 1720, was restored and elaborated upon by his grandson, Ovnatan Ovnatanian. in 1782-1786. Manuscripts, gorgeous church attires, printed curtains, embroidered coverlets, crosses, croziers and other ritual vessels of silver, gold and ivory are exhibited in the museum. Some of these artifacts date back to the 10th century.
Khor Virap Monastery
The monastery of Khor Virap is situated on top of the hill and is one of the sanctuaries of the Armenian Apostolic church and a pilgrimage site. According to church lore this is the location of the municipal jail of the capital of Armenia Artashat, where upon the orders of king Trdat III, they threw Gregory the Illuminator who was accused of professing Christianity. Gregory spent there 13 years. In 642 Catholicos Nerses III built a chapel over the jail. The monastery also includes the church of St. Astvatsatsin was built in the end of the 17th century, fragments of the wall that once surrounded the monastery, the refectory, the cells of the monks. The most magnificent view of mount Ararat opens from the hilltop of the monastery.
Another monastery – Goshavank where one may admire the unique stone cross made with a needle.. You will also visit the beautifully landscaped monastery of Goshavank. Goshavank was founded on the right bank of the Getik River in 1188 by famous Armenian scholar, jurist and fabulist M.Gosh. The Monastery includes the churches of St. Astvatsatsin, St. Grigor, St. Lousavorich, a scriptorium and a school of 13th c. Many beautiful khachkars (cross-stones) have been presented in Goshavank.
Fortress of Amberd
Amberd fortress and castle (10-13th cc) was the familial estate of the Pahlavouni princes. It is one of the few feudal castles of Armenia that has been more or less preserved to our days. The location for its has been selected quite skillfully, the builders took advantage of the mountainous terrain and put the fortress on a cape surrounded on three sides by ravines. Fragments of the water supply system of the castle, as well as the baths and the secret passage to the canyon are preserved. In 1206 a cross-domed type church was built on the territory of the fortress. It was commissioned by the famous Armenian warlord Vahram Pahlavouni and is one of the most beautiful churches of its type in Armenia.
Temple of Garni
Temple of Garni is the only surviving monument of the Hellenistic period in Armenia. The temple is dedicated to the God of the sun Mithra and was built in the 2nd half of the 1st c A.D. during the reign of king Trdat I. The temple was collapsed during the earthquake of 1679. It was restored in the 1970s, using the surviving fragments and carving the missing ones renewed. The temple is built of basalt stone. The walls of the shrine and the 24 columns of the portico rest on a podium. The facade and the rear have 6 columns each, while the flanks have 8 each. The portal has wide stairs leading up to it. The heathen temple is on the territory of the fortress of Garni. The territory of the fortress, that was used as the Summer residence of Armenian royalty, included the palace, the royal bath - house, the garrison barracks and other structures that did not survive.
Geghard - According to the Armenian historians as early as in the 4th c there had already been a monastery called Ayrivank (the cave monastery) in this inaccessible corner of the Azat ravine . Later the monastery was renamed Geghard which meant "spear". According to lore the monastery was the depositary of one of the relics of the Armenian Apostolic church: the spear that one of the roman guards had used to pierce the rib of crucified Christ. The monastic complex was built in the 13th c and comprises the principal church Katoghike built in 1215 by the Zakarians princes and two tiers of churches carved inside the rock built at the end of the 13th c by prince Proshian who bought it from Zakarians and the living quarters with auxiliary structures.
The monastery Tatev is situated in Syunik region/marz. It was founded in the 4th century and served as a residence for Syunik bishops. The name Tatev means “give wings”. In the 5-8th centuries the monastery Tatev was the most famous educational centers of medieval Armenia. There is a 8 m high unique structure in the yard of the monastery which is called “Gavazan”. The world’s longest 5.7-kilometer ropeway called “Wings of Tatev” opened in Armenia on October 16 (photo). It will lead to the medieval Tatev Monastery located in the Tatev village of Syunik region, southern Armenia. The ropeway that can carry a visitor to the Monastery in 12 minutes will also be included in the Guinness Book of Records.
In the north of Ashtarak in the village of Artashavan there is the monastery of Saghmosavank. The principal church of the monastic complex is St. Sargis, which prince Vache Vachoutian built it in 1215. There is a scriptorium in the north of it.
The monastery of Hovhanavank is founded in the village of Hovhanavan. The monastic complex includes a single-nave church, which was built in the 5th c, the oldest in the monastery and the principal church of St. Karapet of the cross-domed kind dated on 1216. The church is richly decorated with vegetative ornaments, it has a bas-relief with the depiction of Christ on a throne.
Ruins of Zvartnots
Five kilometers towards Yerevan from Echmiadzin there are the ruins of Zvartnots. Zvartnots was a church built by Toros Toromian the famous architect. The temple was built in the 7th c by Catholicos Nerses III Shinarar. The temple was damaged by an earth-quake in the 10th c. The temple was a tree tiered central - domed structure that astounded with its magnificence. According to the opinion of European specialists the temple of Zvartnots may be ranked with greatest monuments of ancient architecture.
There are many historical and architectural monuments in the vicinties of the Sevan. The Sevan Monastery (9thc). It is on the present day Sevan peninsula. The congregation setteled on the island at the end of the 8th century initiated building a monatery. Three churches were built but only two of them have survived: the church of St. Arakelots and the church of St Astvatsatsin. Both of them were built in 874 following the cross-shaped pattern. Here you can also taste the most delicious trout-Ishkan (prince), fresh from the lake. Every trip to Armenia is completing by visiting to Lake Sevan, one the largest and the highest lakes in Eurasia at about 1.900 meters above sea level. Lake Sevan is the Pearl of Armenia. You can taste also Armenian dishes accompanied by great variety of Armenian beverages. Tourist can enjoy sailing, motor boating, water skiing, windsurfing and fishing.
Dilijan is located in the northern part of Armenia, this region is famous for its forests and health resorts, its spectacular scenery and cultural centers.