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Sunday, 21 August 2011


Armenia lies in the highlands surrounding the Biblical mountains of Ararat, upon which Noah's Ark came to rest after the Great Flood.

Recent archaeological studies have found the earliest leather shoe, skirt and wine-producing facility in Armenia, dated to about 4000 B.C. The shoe and wine making cave was found in the same cave.

Yerevan, the modern capital of Armenia, was founded in 782 BC by king Argishti I.

"Armenians" were first mentioned by Hecataeus of Miletus (476 BC). Xenophon, 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.

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

Through the apostolic work of Gregory the Illuminator, Tiridates III, the King of Armenia (AD 238–314)  became the first state leader to convert to Christianity. Members of his court became Christians as well and Armenia was the first country to recognize Christianity as it’s official religion in 301 AD.

Across the country, idols were destroyed, pagan temples cleansed and then consecrated as churches, and thousands of people were baptized. However, after a decade as a Christian nation, the Armenians lost their long-term protector, the Roman empire, when in 311 the Romans went to war against the Armenians because of their new Christian identity.

Armenians have their own distinctive alphabet and language. The alphabet was invented in AD 405 by Saint Mesrob Mashtots and consists of thirty-eight letters, two of which were added during the Cilician period

Between 1915–16 up to 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or deported by the Turks. These events are traditionally commemorated yearly on 24th April, the Armenian Martyr Day, or the Day of the Armenian Genocide.

Talaat Pasha, mastermind of Armenian Genocide, was assassinated by an Armenian revolutionary and genocide survivor. Despite the assassination occurring in broad daylight, and with the assassin pleading guilty, he was acquitted by reason of temporary insanity. He is a national hero in Armenia.

During Joseph Stalin's Great Purge in the 1930s thousands of Armenians were deported or executed.

Hitler gave a speech to military officers a week before the German invasion of Poland with the line "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" regarding the plan for his genocide of the Poles.

 "Mer Hayrenik", the national anthem of the First Republic of Armenia, became a protest song when it was banned during the Soviet era.

An earthquake struck the Spitak region of Armenia on December 7, 1988. The quake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale, devastated the country killing more than 25,000, injuring 30,000 and leaving 500,000 homeless out of a population of 3,500,000.

Severely damaged masonry buildings in Spitak

The national flag of Armenia, the Armenian Tricolor, was adopted on August 24, 1990. The orange on the Armenian flag is the color of apricots, which are a national symbol.

In a referendum held in September 1991, shortly after the failed anti-Gorbachev coup in Moscow, 94% of Armenians voted for secession from the USSR.

In April 2011 a 75-year-old woman deprived the whole of Armenia of its internet access when she sliced through a buried cable with her garden spade.

A constitutional referendum was held in Armenia on 6 December 2015, proposing changing the Armenia's constitution from a semi-presidential system to a parliamentary republic. The referendum was passed with 66.2% of voters supporting it.

Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, Armenia is considered a European country by the European Union.

Zorats Karer, the Armenian Stonehenge, includes 223 stones, some weighing up to ten tons.

Playing musical instruments or singing loudly at night is a public order offence in Armenia.

Chess has been a compulsory subject in Armenian schools since 2011.

Sources Wikipedia, Daily Express, Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2011. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.

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