|Currency||Armenian dram (AMD)|
|Population||2.9 million (2013)|
|Electricity||220 volt / 50 hertz (Europlug, Schuko)|
|Time zone||UTC+04:00, Armenia Time|
|Emergencies||112, 101 (fire department), 102 (police), 103 (emergency medical services)|
|edit on Wikidata|
the capital, and by far the largest city
home of UNESCO World Heritage site Sanahin Monastery and nearby Haghpat Monastery
popular forest resort known as the "Little Switzerland" of Armenia.
the spiritual capital of Armenia, home to the Armenian Catholicos, is a UNESCO World Heritage site
Armenia's 2nd largest city which once dwarfed Yerevan. Small old town area still shows earthquake damage from 1988.
famous for its mineral waters, which come out at very high temperature and can be enjoyed at the spas. Ski lifts are under construction.
Armenia's ski destination.
Armenia's 3rd largest city with a few nice churches
Armenia has been around for at least 3,000 years. Armenians have historically inhabited the "Armenian Highlands", a vast section of mountains and valleys across eastern Anatolia and the Southern Caucasus. It is here that the biblical mountains of Ararat (and today's eponymous cognac brand) can be found. Armenia became the world's first Christian country in 301 AD.
Various vassal states, principalities, kingdoms and empires rose and fell in different parts of this highland during history. They were unified once, just before the time of Christ, in the empire of Tigran the Great, which stretched from the Caspian to the Mediterranean Sea.
Much of the region's history has since been spent under the dominion of whichever great power was à la mode at the time: Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, Persians, Russians and Soviets have all come and gone. These empires often fought their wars on Armenian territory, using Armenian soldiers. Despite rarely being politically independent, Armenians have consistently kept their language and their church. Its location on the silk road allowed Armenia to forge a link in the great network of merchant communities that extended from eastern Asia to Venice.
Russians and Ottomans dominated Armenia's modern history. Ottoman control was established early, upon the fall of the Byzantine empire in the fifteenth century. Russia's presence was established later, in the 1820s, after a series of wars with the Persians.
Islamic Ottoman rule was, for much of the time, largely benign. The Armenians' religious autonomy was bought through their higher taxation. However, relations soured in the late nineteenth century which saw various massacres of Armenians. This culminated in the Ottomans' reputation being thoroughly ruined during the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.
During the First World War, the Ottomans fought the Russians. The Christian Armenians on the Ottomans' Russian border were considered liable to side with Russia and so they were treated as an enemy. The Ottomans attempted to kill or deport the entire Armenian population. Even the Ottomans' defeat in 1918 did not prevent the continuation of the persecution which continued until 1923 and saw approximately 600,000 - 1.5 million people perish.
The genocide led to the huge Armenian diaspora community that exists all over the world today and the ongoing diplomatic hostility between Turkey and Armenia, since Turkey continues to deny it was a genocide, and resents Armenia for bringing up the topic internationally.
As was the case in other Soviet republics, Armenia saw great industrial growth and widespread increases in education. Yerevan mushroomed from a dusty garrison town of 20,000 to a metropolis of 1 million and the Soviet culture machine, within strict limits, churned out heavily subsidized cultural education and activities.
As the Soviet Union fell apart in the early 1990s, the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, a culturally Armenian region in Azerbaijan, fought for independence from Azerbaijan with support from Armenia, and the Armenian Diaspora. The war was won militarily, but no diplomatic solution was reached. The ceasefire line of 1994 now represents a de facto national boundary and Nagorno-Karabakh is in an odd state of unrecognized statehood. While the fighting on the ground stopped, with only minor exceptions, diplomatic tensions still run high. The Armenian/Karabakh borders with Azerbaijan are closed. Turkey has also closed its land border with Armenia in support of its Azeri-Turk kinsmen.
A small and mountainous, landlocked country, Armenia almost never fails to surprise visitors. The mountain passes, valleys and canyons make it feel much larger, and Lake Sevan provides a welcome sight, with endless water visible from its southern shores. Given the geographic variation, there is also much variety of climate — there are barren lunar landscapes, forests, snow-capped peaks and alpine lakes.
Five percent of the country's surface area consists of Lake Sevan (Sevana Lich), the largest lake in the Lesser Caucasus mountain range.
Given its proud claim to being the world's first officially Christian country, there are countless monasteries and churches, which are set in some places of incredible natural beauty. The monasteries at Tatev, Noravank, Haghartsin, Haghpat and Geghard are well worth a visit just for the landscape even without the impressive, millennium-old monasteries found there.
Armenia is at the fascinating crossroads of Europe and Asia and its culture draws from both. While most Armenians consider themselves European, their social conservatism in some realms is not consistent with Europe proper. The new world faced by Armenians after the fall of the Soviet Union has seen great social changes especially in the capital, Yerevan. The small and very homogeneous (about 99% Armenian) population is strongly family oriented. The people across the land are very hospitable, and place a lot of pride in their hospitality. Show up in a village without a penny, and food and a place to stay will flow - along with drinks and endless toasts.
Politically, Armenia has aligned itself with Russia and against its Turkish and Azeri neighbours.
Armenia also has lots of road signs in English, and there are a fair amount of English-speaking Armenians in general, and you get the distinct feeling that tourists are welcome. Police don't appear to be too crooked, at least not in Yerevan, and in general the country appears to be both reasonably safe and well-organised.
The predominant religion in the world's first Christian nation is not hard to guess: 97% of Armenia's population belongs to the Armenian Apostolic Church, an Oriental Orthodox Church.