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History

ARMENIA: MODERN COUNTRY WITH ANCIENT HISTORY

Armenia
One of the world's oldest countries, Armenia is dynamic reviving today. The Armenian economy is developing at a very rapidly pace, earning it the reputation of “The Caucasian Tiger”. Relatively, new sectors, such as precious stone processing and jewelry making, information and communication technology supplements more traditional sectors in the economy, such as agriculture.

Armenia is currently a member of more than 40 different international organizations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Asian Development Bank, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the World Trade Organization and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.

In the 2007 Index of Economic Freedom, Armenia ranked 32 nd , ahead of countries like Portugal and Italy .

Due to its great achievements in economic, social, cultural and political development, reborn Armenia is becoming a centre of attraction for investors and tourists from many different countries of the world.
Armenian petroglif
People began to live in Armenia in the early Stone Age and continued to do so in course of all human history. Since time immemorial Armenia has been famous for its material and spiritual culture. Many ancient tribes and states which existed on the Armenian Upland, such as Nairi, Hayassa and especially  Urartu, prepared the ground for the formation of Armenian statehood.

Urartu grew to become one of the strongest kingdoms in the Near East and constituted a formidable rival to Assyria for supremacy in the region. The Urartians produced and exported wares of ceramic, stone and metal, building fortresses, temples, palaces and other large public works. In 782 BC the Urartian king Argishti the 1st founded the fortified city of Erebuni, which is today's Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.

Urartu
In the late 7 th century BC Urartu revived under the Armenian Yervanduni dynasty with the capital Armavir. The revived kingdom was already called Armenia by its neighbours.

Soon thereafter Armenia fell under the domination of Achemenide Persia. With the fall of the Persian Empire to Alexander the Great of Macedonia in 331 BC, the Greeks appointed a new satrap, an Orontid named Mithranes, to govern Armenia. The Greek Empire, which stretched across Asia and Europe, was one in which cities rapidly grew, spreading Hellenistic architecture, religion and philosophies. Armenian culture absorbed Greek influences as well.

In the beginning of the 2nd century BC Armenia restored its full independence under the power of the Artashesian dynasty. During the reign of Tigran the Great (95-55 BC) Armenia expanded its boundaries and reached its peak. As a result the Empire of Tigran the Great stretched from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. Political strengthening and territorial expansion of Armenia was accompanied also by cultural development. After the death of Tigran the Great, Rome and Persia got stronger and breached the peace treaty, and Armenia eventually reduced back to its former territory.

In 301 Armenia adopted Christianity; it was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity a state religion, a fact which undoubtedly played a great role in Armenia's further development.

In 405, the great Armenian thinker Mesrop Mashtots created the Armenian alphabet after many years of study and investigations. This alphabet, unchanged, is still in use today. Its appearance promoted the development of science and culture in Armenia. There emerged a whole constellation of medieval Armenian writers, historians, philosophers and naturalists whose works became part of the golden fund of world science and culture.

Armenian Alphabet
In the 7th century, the mighty Arabs stormed into Armenia and conquered the country. After more than two centuries of struggle, in the 9th century Armenia enjoyed a brilliant period of independence when the powerful Bagratid Dynasty asserted political authority. The capital of Bagratid Armenia, Ani was a magnificent city known as the “city of thousand and one churches”. Bagratid Kingdom was destructed by raids of invaders, Seljuk Turks from Central Asia. With little resistance from weakened Byzantium, the Seljuk Turks spread into Asia Minor as well as the Armenian highlands. This invasion compelled a large number of Armenians to move south, toward the Taurus Mountains close to the Mediterranean Sea, where in 1080 they founded, under the leadership of Ruben (Rubenid dynasty), the Kingdom of Cilicia or Lesser Armenia. For nearly 300 years, the Cilician Kingdom of Armenia prospered, but in 1375 it fell to the Mamelukes of Egypt.

While in the 13 th century Armenians prospered in the Cilician Kingdom , those living in Greater Armenia witnessed the invasion of the Mongols. Later, in the 16 th and 17 th centuries, Armenia was divided between the Ottoman Empire (Western Armenia) and Safavid Iran (Eastern Armenia). Several Armenian authorities managed to preserve their independence or autonomy, among which was Artsakh (today's Nagorno-Karabakh). In 1828 according to the Turkmenchai treaty Iran accepted the fact of surrendering Eastern Armenia to Russia.

The condition of Western Armenians was deteriorating. The Turkish authorities organized extreme cruel massacre of Armenians. More than one and half million Armenians were murdered. It is considered the first genocide in the 20th century.

Eastern Armenia declared its independence on May 28, 1918. In December 1922 Armenia became a member of the Soviet Union. The Soviet dictator J. Stalin put the Armenian regions of Nakhijevan and Artsakh under the authority of Azerbaijan, having completely disregarded the fact that the population of those territories was overwhelmingly Armenian. The 71 years of Soviet rule in Armenia were a period of security, economic development, cultural and educational achievements.

In 1988 a peaceful and democratic movement began in Nagorno-Karabakh for the transfer of Karabakh from Azerbaijan to Armenia. The Azeries began massacres in Sumgait , Kirovabad and Baku , transforming the peaceful movement into a violent conflict and lately committing an act of military aggression against the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, though Armenians defeated their land and became independent and created a security zone around its territory.

On September 21, 1991 the Armenian people voted in favor of independence in a national referendum, and an independent Armenia came into being.

Memorial Days

Genocide Victims Memorial Day

Observed on: April 24
Armenia Genocide Day
Every year on April 24, Armenians all over the world solemnly honor the memory of over a million victims of the 1915 genocide. In Armenia thousands of people join the annual procession on foot to Tsitsernakaberd to pay their respect to those who perished in this massive attempt to exterminate the Armenian people and forcibly remove them from their ancestral lands. This is an official national holiday.

Day of Remembrance of Victims of the 1988 Earthquake

(official holiday)
Observed on: December 7
Armenia Earthquake 1988
A devastating earthquake in 1988 killed thousands of people and destroyed most of the Republic’s infrastructure. The earthquake was felt as far away as the Armenian capital, but it was the second and third most populous cities of Leninakan (now Gyumri) and Kirovakan (now Vanadzor) that were among the most devastated.

 
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