Armenia a gorgeous place a sovereign state in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, located in West Asia is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and Azerbaijan’s exclave of Nakhchivan to the south. It is a beautiful place to discover history. Here are some interesting, intriguing and unknown facts about the beautiful territory – Armenia, which will force you to pack your bags, board a plane and get lost.
1. Check Mate In Armenia
Chess is a compulsory subject in Armenian schools and they even conduct exams for it. Interesting huh?
2. Adoption Of Christianity
Armenia was the first country to have adopted Christianity as its state religion. Today, 97% of the population today are Christians and Armenia has one of the most beautiful churches in the world. The country was converted to Christianity back in 301AD by St Gregory Illuminator and since then, many churches have been built under his name.
3. Mono Ethnic
Armenia is one of the only mono ethnic countries in the world. 97% of the people living in Armenia are Armenians and the remaining small percentage is made up of different ethnic minorities such as the Yazidis, Russians, Ukranians, Kurds, and more.
The first church in the world was built in Armenia. Holy Etchimiadzin was the first state church built in the world back in the early 4th century. This place is also the headquarter of all the churches in Armenia and it’s one of the most visited pilgrimage site in the world. Unfortunately this beautiful building has been under construction for the past few years.
5. Fine Wine
Armenia is one of the oldest country that has produced wine in the world. It’s attributed to its blessed location of being on the fertile valleys of Mt Ararat where high quality grapes could be grown.
6. Underground Earth Oven
Armenians bake their lavash underground in a tonir. A tonir basically refers to an underground earth oven. Armenians love to eat lavash which is this thin layer of flat chewy bread that’s made from flour, salt and water and baked in a tonir. Lavash can be kept for 1 year without turning bad. So usually the local women will bake the lavash in bulk and then store them to eat slowly for the next few months. Armenians cannot imagine having their meals without bread! (Even if they’re eating rice, they’ll need to have bread with it too!)
7. An Apricot Here And An Apricot There
The apricot is one of the symbols of Armenia. The flag on the right in the photo above belongs to Armenia and the orange colour of the flag actually symbolises the apricot! That’s how significant apricots are to Armenia! And when you walk through the markets, you’ll find vendors selling apricots of all sort from dried apricot, fresh apricot, apricot flavoured wine, apricot juice and anything else that you can think of!
8. Stork Village
There’s this village with a whole row of long wooden poles lined up neatly along the road and a huge stork’s nest on the top of each pole. These storks migrate to Africa every year before the winter arrives and returns when it’s spring. Also, the nests are so huge that some other smaller birds like sparrows have made their own little nest out of the huge stork’s nest.
9. No Discrimination
There’s absolutely no discrimination between tourists and locals in this nation. This has gotta be one of our favourite points. Tickets to all attractions in Armenia are priced the same for both locals and tourists, unlike in some other countries such as Iran where the tourist price is almost 10 times more expensive than the local’s price. Actually, it’s free entry to all the churches, which is pretty amazing actually. Only certain attractions such as the Garni Temple above requires a small fee for the entrance ticket.
10. The Genocide Effect
An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed during the Genocide. The genocide refers to the mass killings of Armenians that began under Ottoman rule in 1915. Coincidentally, this year 24th April 2015 marks the 100th year anniversary of the genocide. The Genocide museum was closed for a year for thorough restoration and will only be opened 2 days before its 100th anniversary. The genocide happened during and after first world war where more than 1.5million Armenians were brutally killed without any mercy by her enemy. The genocide happened in 3 phases, the first was when all the men were being called out to join the army and then killed (so that the rest of the population will not have any males to protect them), then next was the killing of all women, elderly and children, and the last was the intellectuals.
11. Mt Ararat
The entire country worships Mt Ararat which is also the national symbol of Armenia. According to our guide, Mt Ararat protected Armenia from a super strong earthquake! They also believe that the peak of Mt Ararat was where Noah’s ark was found. But sadly, Mt Ararat is not even within the territory of Armenia at the moment.
Already in love with this place? Pack your bags, pick up your passport, board a flight, explore this beautiful paradise called Armenia and give some rest to that travel bug within you. Do let us know your views in the comment section below. Want to know more facts about any of your favourite places? Leave a comment below and we shall surely write about it.