6 facts that make Armenia a special country

One of the Caucasian countries, isolated in the region because of the conflicts with some of its neighbours, the first Christian country in the world, with its own alphabet and language, that went through a horrible genocide which led to the diaspora being larger than the country’s population: this is the very special Armenia.

First Christian Country

Noravank Monastery
Armenia is the first Christian country in the world.Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus brought Christianity here in the I-st century and the country became the first country to officially  declare itself Christian in the IV-th century.
Armenian Apostolic Church is the name Armenian church. The apostolic churches are a different branch of Christianity from Catholics and Orthodox. They split after the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) where it was decided that Christ has ‘two natures’ (both human and god). The Armenian Apostolic Church believes that Jesus Christ cannot be human, he is only god.

Tatev Monastery

I was impressed by the multitude of churches and monasteries I’ve visited in Armenia. They are very simple, usually built using red stone and having the iconic cross stones (also known as khachkars) at the entrance or on the side.

Khachkars from Sevanavank Monastery

Mount Ararat

Mount Ararat seen from Khor Virap Monastery
Mount Ararat is the biblical mountain where Noah’s ark arrived after traveling for 150 days during the Genesis flood. Mount Ararat is the national symbol Armenia, but unfortunately for Armenians it is situated in Turkey. It’s very close to the Armenian border and it’s also visible from Yerevan if the sky is clear. I took my best pictures of it from Khor Virap Monastery which is situated south from Yerevan, very close to the Turkish border.
Yerevan and Mount Ararat with its peek hidden in the clouds
Bitterly, Mount Ararat could also be seem from the Armenian Genocide Memorial situated on one of Yerevan’s hills.

Alphabet and Language

Armenia has it’s own alphabet and the language spoken by Armenians is not even close and any other languages on Earth.

Armenian Genocide

Armenian Genocide Memorial
The Armenians were the largest minority in the Ottoman Empire in the XIX century. They were very good manufacturers, doctors, they had small business, etc. and this made the Turkish rulers suspicious that they could take over the leading positions in society. 

One and a half million(!!) of Armenians perished between the end of the XIX century and the 1920s in the Ottoman Empire. They were found guilty for everything that was going wrong in the nowadays Turkey and sentenced to death. The methods used to kill the Armenians were similar to the ones that the Nazis used to kill the Jews during WWII. Once Adolf Hitler mentioned:”Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

I would like to use the opportunity of writing this article to raise awareness about this terrible massacre that happened in human history so that we should reject extremist, racist and behaviour and such a dreadful event should never happen again. The Armenian Genocide is less known than the Holocaust, but it was a national tragedy for Armenians. It is sad that still a few countries officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. The full list could be found here.

In Armenian the genocide is commemorated on the 21st of April because on that day in 1915 a group of people from the Armenian intellectual elite was “invited” to Istanbul (Constantinople) for an event, but in the end they were caught and killed.


As a consequence of the genocide, there are more Armenians outside of Armenia. The largest Armenian communities could be found in Russia, France and USA (especially on the West Coast). Armenia has a population of 3 million people and another 8 million of Armenians are living abroad.

I need to mention here that there is also an Armenian neighborhood in Bucharest the capital of Romania with a very beautiful church and nice architecture (which surprisingly is very different from from the boring, soviet architecture that I’ve found in Yerevan). There are some other Romanian cities were Armenians were present, but Armenians were mostly assimilated by the local population during time.

Turkey and Azerbaijan

Armenia has closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan and no diplomatic relations with these two neighbours because of the past (and present) conflicts:
– Armenian Genocide with Turkey and
– Nagorgo-Karabah region which is de jure part of Azerbaijan, but de facto a self-declared independent state supported by Armenia. The Nagorno-Karabah conflict is theoretically still ongoing as no armistice was signed, but at the moment the region is peaceful and there are also tourists coming. 
Beware that once you’ve been to Azerbaijan you will not be able to go Nagorno-Karabah and vice-versa at least if you still have the border stamps in your current passport. If not, you could give it a try at your own risk (the risk of being refused and returned from your journey). One of my guides is Armenia told me that if you’re Armenian and try to get to Azerbaijan it’s possible that you could even get killed. This sounds terrible… Oh!
Thus Armenia is kind of isolated in the Caucasus. It used to be  part of the USSR, so there is no surprise that Yerevan is full of soviet architecture, and has good relations with Russia and Georgia (which helps Armenia transporting resources from Russia despite the bad relationship Georgia has with Russia).

Victory Park Arch (Hammer and Sickle) Detail 
Statue of Mother Armenia

Bonus: the longest non-stop cable car in the world

Wings of Tatev
Yes, the longest non-stop cable car in the world (5.7km), also mentioned in Guinness World Record Book runs in Armenia. You weren’t expecting this, isn’t it? It’s called Wings of Tatev and links the Tatev Monastery with the village of Halidzor. The whole trips is no more than 12 minutes. Needless to say that the views are absolutely amazing. I was surprised to find out that an audio guide is running during the trip in a beautiful British English. (together with the Russian one, of course).

One thought on “6 facts that make Armenia a special country

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s