BEFORE YOU DEPART
The Republic of Armenia(RA) is an East European country situated in on the boundary of the South Caucasus, Asia Minor and the Middle East and occupies the North- Eastern part of the Armenian plateau. The highest point of the plateau is the Mount Ararat (5165 m). The RA occupies the territory of 29,743 sq. km and borders Georgia in the North, Azerbaijan in the East, Turkey in the West and Iran in the South. The average height above sea level is 1800 meters; the highest point is Mt. Aragats – 4090 m; the lowest point is the gorge of river Debed (380 m). The greatest extent is 360 km. The climate is dry, continental.
The law “On the State Flag of the Republic of Armenia” was adopted on August 24, 1990, by the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Armenia.
The State Flag is a rectangular panel with three equal horizontal stripes of red, blue and orange (from top to bottom).
« Mer Hayrenik » (« Our Fatherland »)The Anthem of the Republic of Armenia was adopted on July 1, 1991, by the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Armenia. It is based on the Anthem of the First Armenian Republic (1918-1920), but with different lyrics. The author of the lyrics is poet Mikael Nalbandian (1829-1866).
The law “On the State Coat of Arms of the Republic of Armenia” was adopted on April 19, 1992, by the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Armenia.
Originality and uniqueness of Armenia stand on three pillars – the unique charm of its mountainous nature, the original national culture and the ancient Christian heritage. It is important to note that in 301 Armenia was the first country to accept Christianity as a state religion. This is the main treasure of Armenia, with the help of which Armenia managed to survive for the whole dramatic history. Armenia is situated at the crossroad of routes between the East and the West, and was able to resist every powerful conqueror as the people remained faithful to their culture. Armenian material and spiritual culture is based on the rich cultures of the ancient inhabitants of the Armenian Highland, with all the ethnic elements that are involved in the formation of the Armenian people. Of course, the role of the outstanding Urartian culture is great in it. Till 301, Armenian culture developed under two influences: Western (Hellenism) and Eastern (Parthia). However, these influences only complemented and enriched the national culture. Christianity is one of the powerful sources of the world culture, as it has created new forms in architecture, art and music. Another important landmark in the development of the Armenian culture was the creation Armenian alphabet and national literature in 405 by Mesrop Mashtots.
The mountainous landscape of the country identified the lines of its architecture. Powerfully and monumentally, like the mountains surrounding, stand the monuments of medieval architecture. The stony soil, the jags of surrounding ridges and outlines of architectural monuments merge into a single image.
The traditional architecture of Armenia is reflected in temple architecture of churches, monasteries, convents, etc. The early Medieval Architecture (V-VI centuries) is represented mostly by basilicas. A Basilica- is a structure of rectangular shape, devided generally into three rows of columns, at the same time the central part rises above the others. At the end of VI-VII centuries Greek-cross and central-domed samples of temple architecture. The symmetrical cross-shaped facade of a temple was decorated with the side arches and crowned by a huge dome visible from distant corners of the temple. Later the temple shapes changed; simple and strict church structures become more elegant and complex. The shapes were improved; new elements such as domical drum were added. But in whole, traditional temple structures possess common basic features. Monastic complex is a special type of temple architecture. It consisted of a number of elements – a temple, chapels, belfries, household buildings – refectory, library, vestry etc. The complex was often surrounded by a wall with adjacent dwelling houses. A little church was sometimes erected above the main gate. The first monasteries originated in the VII century; the XII century saw the prosperity period of their construction.
There are a lot of feudal castles across Armenia – fortresses, palaces, castles, caravanserais and bridges. Armenia is often referred to as « the open-air museum ». The magnificent Hellenistic structure Garni, the Sun Temple (III – II BC), domed Echmiadzin temple (IV century), Zvartnotz (VII century), and the medieval jewel – Gegard (IV – XIII centuries) are known all over the world.
Armenia resembles a national park with its rich nature. There are more than 3200 varieties of vegetation growing on this small piece of land, 120 of which are endemic and grow only on the territory of Armenia. Many varieties even have armenian names. The fauna is also very diverse. There are about 12 000 species of animals, many of which are also unique to the Armenian natural world. Armenian nature played a major role in the history of Armenian people. The same way as in the days of the biblical Flood it was a cradle of formation of the new humanity, later it helped local people in the days of struggle against cruel adversaries.
Armenian castles were unassailable due to the high mountains and deep gorges. Rivers overflowed when enemy passed through them and lakes made attacking soldiers blind with their brilliance. One of the most astounding things about Armenian is that its food is is still organic. That is why tourists visiting Armenia just can’t stop eating our fruits and vegetables. They those are so tasty in Armenia because of the rocky land and the Sun. Armenia is rich with various sorts of apricots, peaches, cherries, apples, figs, pomegranates, grapes, plums, quinces, pears, etc. Armenian food is rich with vegetables, greens and spices too, such as tomato, cucumber, pepper, potato, melon, watermelon, onion, eggplant, squash, parsley, basil, cress, coriander, dill and the list is endless. Armenians also cultivate wheat, rice, peas, beans, walnut, hazelnut and almonds. Armenian cuisine is quite popular with its traditional bread called lavash. It is a flat, thin and soft bread that can be dried and kept for quite a long term. Lavash symbolizes life and wisdom. In ancient times, lavash was used during battles as it lasted long and saved the soldiers from starvation. Mothers cooked lavash, dried it and put in the bags of the soldiers. Lavash is still the most popular national Armenian bread, without which no festive dinner can go along. It is a very thin layer of bread cooked in an underground clay oven.
Not far from Tsakhkadzor, in the valley of the river Marmarik 1900 m above sea level flow the hot waters of average mineral consistence (42°), rich in bromine, iodine, and boron these waters are used for baths, potable treatment and bottling. The climate is temperate in that summers are rather mild (the average highs for July varying between 16 and 18°). Winter is moderately cold (-7° in January). The annual precipitations rate is 600 mm. The sunshine hours per annum equal 2200.
Lake Sevan (Geghama Sea). Sevan is one of the three large lakes in the Armenian highland. In ancient times it was called Gegharkunik or Geghama Sea. Sevan is the largest lake in Caucasus as well as one of the largest and highest freshwater lakes in the world. In summer, the middle temperature of the lake surface is 18-23 degrees above zero. Sevan consists of two unequal parts – Large Sevan and Small Sevan. Sevan is fed by 28 rivers, of which Gavaraget, Argithci, Martuni, Karthcaghbyur, Masrik, Dzknaget are the most famous, while just one river Hrazdan begins.
Aghveran is a perfect resort for visitors. It is located 50 km to the north of Yerevan, at a height of 1550 meters above sea level. The eponymous village Aghveran is one of the most beautiful places in Armenia. Since ancient times, the city was famous for its curative climate and picturesque scenery of the surrounding mountains. Comfortably nestled among thick foliage and full with fresh mountain air the resort perfectly combines the capabilities of leisure, health and relaxation.
In a picturesque gorge of the river Hrazdan, at 24 km to the North of Yerevan, 1250 metres above sea level, in the canyon, nestles a balneological resort Arzni famous for its mineral water. The healing strength of this water is known since old times but the officially its consideration as a resort started in 1925. These waters are rich in chlorides, hydrocarbonic elements and sodium as well as carbon gas, and are used for baths and drinking. They are applied while treating patients with cardiovascular problems, gastrointestinal diseases, liver- and metabolism-related complications. The average temperature in the area ranges from +19С in summer to -19С in winter. The bulk of this terrain is covered with woods. River Hrazdan flows along the Arzni canyon.
Jermuk – one of the most beautiful places in Armenia: forests and high alpine meadows, flat plateaus and low mountains. In the canyon the is an impressive and picturesque waterfall: a 70m height it is cascading into the gorge with its crystal spring water. This famous resort town is situated in the north-eastern part of Vayots Dzor at an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level. Arpa River flows through the town. The climate is mountainous: cool summers, with a predominance of sunny weather, mild winters are comparatively snowy and windless. The town’s name is associated with the existing hot mineral springs, which are indicated in the Armenian language common word « Jermuk » (« Jerm » – with the arm. « Hot » « warm »).
In late autumn Tsakhkadzor turns to a fairytale. Pure white snow covers the valley and downhills and the magnificent beauty tempts winter sport lovers. The snow sparkles under the sunlight: winter in the valley is sоft, with 280-290 sunny days and average – 3°C in January. Since early winter comfortable hotels crowd with adventure-seekers as the ski season begins and lasts from mid-December to mid-March. Tsakhkadzor is a perfect resort for skiers: heavy snowfalls provide a resistant snow cover, thickness of which reaches 2 meters. On the hillsides of Teghenis (2819m) both hard-headed thrill-seekers and inexperienced beginners can find suitable pistes. Trainings held by professional instructors, rental of ski equipment, snowboards and sleds are at your services.
Dilijan is one of the most popular Spa towns in Armenia. I is known for its mountains, wild forests and one of the most high-quality drinking waters in the world. There are many resorts and hotels in the town.
Noravank is a 13th century Armenian monastery, located 122km from Yerevan in a narrow gorge made by the Amaghu river, near the city of Yeghegnadzor, Armenia. The monastery is best known for its two-storey Surp Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) church, which grants access to the second floor by way of a narrow stone-made staircase jutting out from the face of the building.
The Khor Virap
The Khor Virap is an Armenian Apostolic Church monastery located on the Ararat plain, near the border with Turkey. The monastery was host to a theological seminary and was the residence of Armenian Catholicos. Khor Virap’s notability as a monastery and pilgrimage site is attributed to the fact that Grigor Lusavorich, who later became Saint Gregory the Illuminator, was initially imprisoned here for 13 years by King Tiridates III of Armenia. Saint Gregory subsequently became the king’s religious mentor, and they led the proselytizing activity in the country. In the year 301, Armenia was the first country in the world to be declared a Christian nation.
Tatev monastery is situated near the village with the same name in the Syunik region, ancient Zangezur. Tatev monastery was built during the 9-13th cc. as an Armenian intellectual center where philosophers, musicians, painters, calligraphers, and monks lived. This monastery’s teachers produced manuscripts for the whole Armenian world. The complex was established between 895 and 906. St. Gregory the Illuminator, who spread the word of Christ throughout Armenia, is buried here in a small church․
Haghpat – significant monument of town-planning of medieval Armenia, distinguished by unity and compactness of an asymmetrical layout, beautiful silhouette on mountainous terrain. Since 1996, the monastery of Haghpat is in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.
Geghard – monastery complex, a unique architectural construction, entered in the UNESCO world heritage list in 2000. The monastery is located in the gorge of the Azat river, about 40 km to the South-East of Yerevan.
Garni is a temple complex located in the Kotayk Province of Armenia, situated approximately 32 km southeast from Yerevan.
Sanahin Monastery is located in a village with the same name, on a small plateau near the canyon of Debed river, at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level. The exact date of foundation of the monastery has not been established. However, it is known that in X-XI cc. the number of monks herereached a few hundred. During this period, Sanahin became an Armenian educational center: the school in the monastery was transformed into the Academy, known in history as the Academy of St. Gregory Armenian Magistros Pahlavuni. The monastery occupies a small area, in the central part of which, around the main temple Sanahin – Astvatsatsin – there are Amenaprkich Church and Chapel of St. Gregory (X c.), the Academy (XI c.), stacks (1063), the gallery (end of X c.), the vestibule (1181) and the tower (XIII c.).
Stepanakert (Armenian: Ստեփանակերտ) is the largest city and capital of the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic, a de facto independent republic, though it hasn’t been internationally recognized yet. The city population comprises about 53,000 ethnic Armenians.
The ancient stronghold of Shushi was the administrative, religious, cultural and educational center of Artsakh (currently Republic of Artsakh or Nagorno Karabakh), one of the 15 provinces of the Historic Armenia. Though, Shushi has a very rich history, the main sign of it has been created not in the distant past, but in our days. After the May 9, 1992 – the heroic victory of the Armenian people in the Kharabakh war for liberation – one of the most glorious pages of the Newest History of the Armenian people is associated with Shushi. And henceforth, for every Armenian the first and the main meaning of the word SHUSHI is VICTORY!
Yerevan (Armenian: Երևան, Armenian pronunciation: [jɛɾɛˈvɑn]) is the capital and the 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. It has been the capital since 1918, the thirteenth in the history of Armenia. The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC, with the founding of the fortress of Erebuni in 782 BC by the king Argishti I at the western part of the Ararat plain. After the World War I, Yerevan became the capital of the Democratic Republic of Armenia as thousands of survivors of the Armenian Genocide settled in the area. The city expanded rapidly during the 20th century as Armenia became one of the fifteen republics in the Soviet Union. In fifty years, Yerevan was transformed from a town of a few thousand residents within the Russian Empire to Armenia’s principal cultural and industrial center, as well as became the seat of national government. With the growth of the economy of the country, Yerevan has been undergoing major transformation as many parts of the city have been recipients of new construction since the early 2000s, and retail outlets such as restaurants, shops and street cafes, which were rare during Soviet times, have multiplied. As of 2011 estimates, the population of Yerevan was 1,121,900 people, making up to 34% of the total population of Armenia.
Yerevan was named the 2012 World Book Capital by UNESCO.
During the Arsacid Dynasty of the Kingdom of Armenia, it served as the main city of the province of Ayrarat and the capital of its Aragatsotn district from which the Amatuni noble family ruled. However, it is perhaps best known for the Church of Saint Mesrop Mashtots, which also happens to be the burial place of Saint Mesrop Mashtots, the creator of the Armenian alphabet. The church houses his grave and was rebuilt by Catholicos George IV in 1875. Wall paintings on the interior were done in 1960 by the artist H. Minasian.
Byurakan (Armenian: Բյուրական, also Romanized as Burakan, Bjurakan, and Biurakan) is a village in the Aragatsotn Province of Armenia on the slope of Mount Aragats. The village contains the basilica of Saint Hovhannes of the 10th c. and Artavazik Church of the 7th c. with a huge 13th c. khachkar monument directly across the ravine. It is also the site of the Byurakan Observatory.
The main temples of the monastery was erected by the Prince Vache Vachutyan. The Church of Zion in Saghmosavank (1215) and the Church of Karapet in Hovhannavank (1216-1221) belong to the same type of cross-winged domed structures with two-floor annexes in all the corners of the building. Subcupola space predominates in the interiors of both churches, which is reflected in the exterior shapes of these structures.
Goshavank « Monastery of Gosh »
Previously known as Nor Getik, it is a 12-13th century Armenian monastery located in the village of Gosh in the Tavush province of Armenia. Today the monastery is not a functioning religious complex, although it remains a popular tourist destination and has recently undergone some light restoration. The impressive monastery which has remained in relatively good condition also houses one of the world’s finest examples of khachkars.
Aram Khachaturian is a great Armenian composer, an outstanding representative of 20th century’s music, one of the most original contemporary composers. His works are part of the world music’s “gold portfolio”.The museum was founded in 1984. The museum has about 18,000 items collected from 55 countries. Music library contains 3500 CDs, gift to the museum Canadian-Armenian Garmiku Grigoryan, and 350 tapes provided by the French Embassy. The museum is one of the main centers of research on Khachaturian.
Yervant Kochar Museum was founded in 1984, based on a study of the wizard. Yervant Kochar Museum is historical avant-garde in the region. Creativity of the artist and the anexceptional center of the sculpture Yervant Kochar / 1899-1979 / is one of the most interesting events of the XX century. In 1923-36, while living in Paris, he became a legitimate member of the « Paris School » of artists. The works of the great artist are exhibited in many museums around the world, but the visitor can get a full impression of the artist’s works only in E. Kochar Museum in Yerevan.
Hovhannes Tumanyan House-Museum (February 19, 1869 – March 23, 1923), is considered to be one of the greatest Armenian poets and writers. Tumanyan is usually regarded in Armenian circles as «All-Armenian poet».Hovhannes Tumanian Museum functions since 1953. The founder and the first director was the poet’s daughter. Copies of manuscripts, photo documents and original illustrations of Tumanian writing.In 1969, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the great writer, a new two-storey building was built to house materials related to Tumanyans life and work including his personal items, documents, manuscripts, sketches, and publications in more than 40 languages.
The M.Saryan House-Museum. It was founded in 27 November 1967. Today, the Museum’s fund has 247 pieces of storage. During 38 years of its existence the Museum’s major activities were collecting, exhibiting, and publishing. In 1932, a house with a studio was built for Saryan in Yerevan. In his lifetime, the master received hundreds of visitors from different countries. Government of Armenia, according to which in 1967 a museum adjoining the residential part was constructed` in his lifetime.
The Charents Museum of Literature and Arts was founded in 1954 based on the materials of literary and theatrical museum and study center of Music named after R. Melikyan. In 1967 he was named in honor of the great poet Yeghishe Charents. The museum has published manuals and writing sections of a number of Armenian artists in a series of literary heritage. The museum organizes workshops and exhibitions. An impressive collection of rare printed books and newspapers of the early period, too, exhibited at the show.
On the northern part of Mashtots avenue there is Matenadaran (a book depository), one of the world’s most ancient libraries. Its collections comprise ancient Armenian books and miniature paintings that have gained world-wide fame. Among its unique treasures are the works of ancient classical authors and rare manuscripts that have come to our days only in the Armenian translation. Several monuments to the outstanding Armenian cultural figures are located in the courtyard of Matenadaran.
House-museum of Sergey Paradjanov: The museum was opened in 1991, a year after the death of Paradjanov. The museum contains more than 200 works by the artist, and furniture of his house in Tiflis. Collection and archives of the exhibition is constantly expanding. Over the years the museum has organized 26 exhibitions, including at Cannes, Thessaloniki, Tokyo, Moscow, Rome, Tehran and Beijing. Zaven Sargsyan, Director of the Museum is a well known photographer and friend of Paradjanov. Paradjanov was more genius than talent: his rare visual interpretation of culture embrace everything that he saw or felt or experienced. His work is universal, unlimited, original, with no direct analogy in the art world. Paradjanov, a contemporary and collaborator of Fellini, the viewer is amazing beauty, imagination and artistry of their work.
National (state) Gallery of Armenia, the main Fine Arts Museum of Armenia. The gallery was founded in 1921 and is a part of the museum complex at the Republic Square in Yerevan. Art Gallery occupies the top floors of the complex from the third to eighth, while the lower two floors of the building is the National History Museum of Armenia. National Gallery of Armenia is one of the largest museums in the territory of the CIS, and for the meeting of Armenian art – the largest in the world. The museum presents the most complete (after the name of the National Gallery of IK Ayvazovsky’s collection in Feodosia), paintings by Aivazovsky. The funds of the Art Gallery of Armenia holds more than 20 thousand works of art, the foundation of Western Europe has more than 350 paintings and canvas are also stored risunkami.Zdes such well-known Western European masters as Chagall, Rubens, Van Dyck, Tintoretto, Courbet, Kandinsky, and others; famous Russian painters – Repin, Bryullov, Surikov, Petrov – Vodkin and others, as well as Armenian painters – Sureniants, Garza, Fetvadzhyana, Bashindgaghyan and many others.
History Museum of Yerevan was founded in 1931 Since 1936, he was located in the building of the « Blue Mosque ». From 1994 to 2005, the museum was located in the building of a girls’ school, and later – in the premises of a school in Yerevan. In 2006 the museum moved to the building of City Hall.The museum of history of the city collected about 80 thousand items, which represent different periods of the existence of Yerevan, starting with the founding of the city until today.The museum contains ancient household items, unique medieval books, graphic pictures of foreign travelers who visited Yerevan, military flags, medals and weapons, jewelry, and, of course, the historical record of Urartu King Argishti I, where the date of founding of the city-fortress of Erebuni (now Yerevan) – 782 BC. Oe.