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ARMENIA
 

Cities in ARMENIA

Yerevan

Geography and Landscape

Geography

Armenia is located in southwest Asia in the Caucasus. Armenia borders: Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan in the east and Iran in the south. The area of Armenia is 29,800 square kilometers.

Armenia Satellite PhotoPhoto: Public Domain

Landscape

Armenia LandscapePhoto: Public Domain

The Ararat valley south of the capital Yerevan is a fertile region where most of the agricultural products come from. More than half of the land is irrigated here. A subtropical strip along the border with Iran is also very fertile- famous are the enormous peaches, sometimes weighing as much as a kilo, that are harvested here. The other parts consist of hills and mountains and the land is rarely lower than 1,000 meters, with the Aragats mountain at 4095 meters as the highest point.
There are more than 200 rivers in Armenia, due to height differences and rapids none all navigable and about 100 picturesque lakes.

Climate and Weather

Armenia Winter in YerevanPhoto:Serouj Ourishian CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Armenia has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. In the Ararat Valley it freezes about 100 days a year. In the mountains it is even cooler and more humid. In winter, temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius are normal. However, the far south of the country is subtropical and even has pleasant temperatures in winter. The best time to travel is in the spring or autumn to avoid the summer heat and winter cold.

Plants and Animals

Plants

Armenia Wild FlowersPhoto:Valen1988 CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

There are five vegetation types in Armenia: tundra, alpine meadow, forest, steppe and semi-desert. In the subtropical southeast and northeast of the country are birch and oak forests.

Animals

Lynx ArmeniaPhoto: David Castor in the public domain

Bears, wild cats, jackals, vipers, scorpions and (rare) leopards live in the semi-desert. In the forests the Syrian bear, lynx and various bird and squirrel species are the inhabitants. The Armenian alpine pastures include wild goats, mouflons and chamois (antelope-like goat).

History

Armenia Tatev Monastery 9th centuryPhoto:Vahag851 CCAttribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

An important aspect of the Armenian national identity is the very old Christian civilization. The people of Armenia, under the leadership of Grigor the Illuminator, were converted to Christianity as early as 301 AD.

Armenians originally inhabited a much larger area than the current republic. However, their habitat was divided up in the 17th century. In the 19th century, much of Armenia came under the Russian sphere of influence. Many Armenians fought in the First World War with the Russian army against the Ottomans. During World War I, numerous ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were forcibly deported, as a result of which between 600,000 and one and a half million ethnic Armenians were killed.

After World War I, Armenia was briefly formed with Georgia and Azerbaijan created the Caucasian Federation, then formed an independent republic from 1918 to 1920. In 1920 the country was annexed to the Soviet Union.

Armenia Spitak 1988 Earthquake

Photo:LoMit CC/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ no changes made

In February 1988, the north of Armenia was hit by a major earthquake, killing approximately 25,000 people. Many people in Northern Armenia still live in emergency housing. In the same year, a conflict arose with neighboring Azerbaijan over the Armenian-inhabited area of Nagorny-Karabakh, located in Azerbaijan.

Armenie Serge SarkisianPhoto: Robert D. Ward in the public domain

In August 1990, Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union. The war and deteriorating economic conditions, partly due to an economic blockade instituted by Azerbaijan and Turkey, brought the government of Armenia's first president Levon Ter- Petrossian is soon in dire straits. He eventually resigned in 1998. In October 1999, Prime Minister Sarkissian and Speaker of Parliament Demirchian were killed in an attack. The motives are not entirely clear to date. In the 1998 presidential election, former Nagorny-Karabakh de facto leader Robert Kocharian was elected and re-elected in 2003. In March 2007, Prime Minister Makarian suddenly dies of a heart attack and is succeeded by Serge Sarkisian. In February 2008, Sarkisian is elected president. In September 2008, the Turkish president will visit Armenia. In October 2009, the governments of Armenia and Turkey decide to normalize relations. In April 2010, the Parliament of Armenia decided to suspend ratification of the decision to normalize relations due to additional conditions from Turkey. In May 2012, the Republican Party wins elections and Serge Sarkisian is re-elected president in February 2013. Armenia officially joins the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Union in 2015 and does not choose to sign an association agreement with the EU. In April 2017, Sarkasian wins the parliamentary elections. In December 2018 Nikol Pashinyan calls a snap election to remove the Republican Party majority in parliament, and his My Step Alliance wins an overwhelming majority. In the end of 2020 Azerbaijai gains in an offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh lead to protests against Mr Pashinyan for agreeing to a ceasefire brokered by Russia.

Population

Armenia Population at a church servicePhoto:Shaun Dunphy CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

Just over 3 million people live in Armenia (2017). The population density is 106 inhabitants per square kilometer.
Natural population growth is-0.21%. (2017)
Birth rate per 1000 inhabitants is 12.9 (2017)
Death rate per 1000 inhabitants is 9.4 (2017)
Life expectancy is 74.9 years. (men 71.6 and women 78.5 years (2017)
Population composition:
98% of the population consists of ethnic Armenians. There are also small groups of Kurds (Yezidi), Russians, Jews, Greeks and Bahahai (Gypsies).

Language

Armenian AlphabetPhoto: Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The official language is Armenian. Armenian is an independent branch of the Indo-European language family and it is the only surviving language of three related languages from ancient times. The other two, Thracian and Phrygian, have disappeared because Greek and Latin got the upper hand. Armenian has its own alphabet, which was designed in 450 by Mesrop Mashtots, a monk. The alphabet has more letters than the Latin alphabet. Besides the letters, the punctuation marks and numbers also differ in Armenian. Besides Armenian, Russian is spoken and sometimes some French or English.

Religion

Armenia ChurchPhoto: Serouj Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The population of Armenia is generally Armenian Orthodox (90%), also known as the Gregorian Church. This church community is the largest religion in the country. 4% of the population adheres to another form of Christianity, such as the Evangelical Church or the Catholic Church. The Yazidis (or Yazidis) in Armenia have their own religion. In their experience, the world was created by Jezdan and is ruled by seven archangels. They believe that you can only be born as Jezidi and you cannot be converted to it. Although the Yazidis are a Kurdish community, they do not consider themselves part of Islam.

Society

State structure

Armenia Parliament BuildingPhoto:Serouj Ourishian CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

In a national referendum in 1995, a new Constitution was approved to replace the 1978 Constitution, which dates back to the Soviet era. In 2003, a referendum was held on various constitutional changes to reduce the power of the president. However, this referendum was invalidated by a low turnout. There are now new proposals to improve the separation of powers.

The president occupies a central position in the Armenian polity. He is directly elected for a five-year term. Executive power rests with the government of the republic;this is composed of the prime minister and other ministers. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President. The president then appoints the other ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister. In addition, the president appoints the regional governors. As a result, the system is still highly centralized.

Legislative power rests with parliament. According to the constitution, this consists of 131 commissioners, elected for 4 years. The pro-presidential Republican Party is the largest party, forming a coalition with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and Land of Justice.

The president heads the Supreme Council. The Minister of Justice and the Attorney General are deputy heads of this council. There is a separate court for military personnel.

Formally, the separation of powers has been implemented in Armenia. In practice, the implementation of this separation is a cause for concern. The judiciary in particular is under pressure from the executive and legislative powers.

Politics

Robert Kocharyan ArmeniaPhoto: Public domain

In 1998, Kocharian was elected president of Armenia. The election result was controversial. International observers found electoral fraud. Both the parliamentary and presidential elections of 2003 were controversial. Following this and the 2003 referendum, the opposition began a months-long boycott of the parliament, which has been maintained to date.

In April 2004, major opposition demonstrations took place. However, the opposition remains weak and divided. The demonstrations have, however, weakened the president's position. In addition, new proposals for constitutional changes are now underway, which can reduce tension between president and opposition.

The most important part of domestic politics is the situation around Nagorny-Karabakh. Despite several peace negotiations, a definitive solution does not seem in sight for the time being. Other priorities are the fight against corruption and the informal economy and the improvement of both political and economic stability.

There is little line to be found in the domestic political developments in Armenia. The political arena in the country is still often dominated by specific interests and less by content of policy and democratic control.

Economy

Export ArmeniaPhoto: R Haussmann, Cesar Hidalgo, et. al. CC3.0 Unported no changes made

The break-up of the Soviet Union, the Nagorny-Karabakh conflict and the fallout from the 1988 earthquake have left the country in a general economic slump, which it was difficult to get out of.

The latter years, however, the economy has grown rapidly. Higher wages have pushed up domestic demand, which is one of the causes of GDP growth. Thanks to strict monetary policy, inflation is low. There is, however, a continuous appreciation of the dram, which makes Armenian exports more expensive. The population has little faith in the currency, as evidenced by the fact that many bank accounts are held in dollars.

Although tax collection has greatly improved in recent years, this remains a relatively low percentage of GDP. There is a constant budget deficit. This is mainly caused by social spending in the context of the poverty reduction strategy.

Furthermore, there is a persistent current account deficit. This is funded by loans and foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI has risen sharply in recent years. It is worth mentioning the rapid decline in the debt/GDP ratio.

A large part of the companies have been privatized. The process is more difficult for the other companies. Investors are often put off by the Karabakh conflict. Due to the economic blockade of Turkey and Azerbaijan, exporting is difficult, but Armenia has developed new export routes through Georgia and Iran. According to the IMF, Armenia's opportunities for economic development now lie in activities that could leverage the country's relatively large human capital.

The Armenian diaspora is an important source of income. The diaspora makes it easy for many Armenians to find their way abroad. For example, there are approximately 2 million Armenians in the Russian Federation, 1 million in the United States and half a million in France. There is a major 'brain drain'

Holidays and Sightseeing

Dilijan National Park ArmeniaPhoto:H- dayan Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The mountainous Armenia, less than 10% of Armenia, lies below 1000 meters with peaks of more than 4000 meters, is not yet a popular holiday destination for most Europeans. Armenia attracts about 500,000 tourists a year, mostly Armenians living abroad and Iranians from the neighboring country.
The most popular destination is northern Armenia, a green and mountainous area that has been declared a national park.

Khor Virab Monastery ArmeniaPhoto:MrAndrew47 CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The former Soviet resorts are being converted as much as possible into small hotels, monasteries (including Khor Virab, Haghpat, Sanahin and Geghard, of which the last three are on the UNESCO World Heritage List) and churches are being restored. The policy of the Armenian government is aimed at attracting more tourists from Europe, who would then definitely want to use the longest cable car in the world (5.7 km) and one of the highest (1924 meters) freshwater lakes in the world. visit.

Carahunge ArmeniaPhoto: Rita Willaert Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

Armenia also has its own 'Stonehenge', Carahenge is a collection of 204 upright stones, at least 500 years old and probably served as an astronomical observatory and/or religious center. The cave city of Khndzoresk is also very special, the houses are carved out of the tuff hills.

Mother Armenia YerevanPhoto:Mosinyan Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The capital Yerevan has many historical sites, monuments, museums and Orthodox churches. The statue of Mother Armenia can be found in Yerevan. The female figure, with a height of 23 meters, overlooks the city and is full of symbolism. She looks towards the Turkish border and holds a sword defensively in front of her. The statue is located on a Soviet square at the end of the Haghtanak (victory) park. The view of the city from the statue is phenomenal. The National Art Gallery in Yerevan is definitely worth a visit if you have even the slightest interest in art. The greatest European masters of the former Soviet Union are represented. Big names you can meet there? Rodin, Rubens, Van Dijck, but also Armenians such as Yervand Kochar and Martiros Sarian. Just outside Yerevan in the city of Garni stands an impressive Hellenistic Sun Temple.
Mount Ararat, historically part of Armenia, is the highest mountain in this region. The mountain is now officially located in Turkey, but is still considered a national symbol by the Armenians and can even be seen on the national emblem of Armenia.

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Sources

Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated October 2021
Copyright: Team Landenweb