Armenia is an ancient country and has quite a long history behind but continues to stay consistent and proud. Here are the most incredible facts about Armenia that you might want to know before your trip to Armenia.
- The first officially Christian country
In 301 A.D., Armenia adopted Christianity as a state religion by St Gregory Illuminator. Currently, 97% of the population are Christians. Armenians also have Armenian Church History subject at school. It is a compulsory subject taught at school, but Armenia’s Ministry of Education plans to remove it from the school curriculum and incorporate it into the History of Armenia syllabus.
- The first church ever built in the world
Armenia was not only the first one to adopt Christianity but also built the first church in the world. In the early 4th century, Holy Etchmiadzin Cathedral was the first state church built in the world. Gregory Illuminator saw a dream where Christ came down in the Earth and pointed out the place where the church was built. It has become a famous pilgrimage for many Christians around the world.
Unique Armenian alphabet
In 405 A.D, an Armenian scholar and monk Mesrop Mashtots created the Armenian alphabet. The alphabet has 36 letters from which 7 are vowels and 29 - consonants. Yet later, 3 more letters were included in the alphabet. There is also an Armenian alphabet monument in the town of Aparan.
- The fourth mono-ethnic country in the world
According to Wikipedia, Armenia is the 4th mono-ethnic country in the world. 98% of the Armenian population are native Armenians. The remaining 2% are mainly ethnic minorities such as Yazidis, Russians, Ukrainians, Kurds, etc.
- Armenian Genocide
This is probably the saddest part of Armenian history. Almost 1,5 million Armenians were massacred under the Ottoman Empire in 1915. However, the successors still deny the mass-killings and do not recognize the Genocide. More than 28 countries have already recognized the Armenian Genocide including France, Britain, and Russian. Every year, on the 24th of April Armenians and the whole world, commemorate the remembrance of Genocide victims. This year, it is the 105th anniversary of the genocide.
- The Armenia diaspora
There are 11 million Armenians in the world, but only 3 million actually live in Armenia. Due to the Armenian Genocide, many Armenians were forced to escape and spread all around the world finding shelters in the USA, Russia, France, etc. Currently, the number of Armenians living abroad is greater than the Armenian population.
- The oldest wine-producing country in the world
In 2011, a group of archaeologists, found the world’s oldest shoe in the world near the oldest winery in the world, in a cave near the village of Areni. It is the oldest wine-making facility found yet.
- Apricot Armenian national fruit
Armenia is considered to be the homeland of apricot. Even the orange colour in the Armenian flag symbolized the apricot. Apricot seeds were found in the earliest archeological sites. Previously, Apricot was known as “Armenian apple” (lat. pomum armeniacum or Mela armeniaca) in the sources of the 1st century, confirming the Armenian origin of the fruit. Also, Armenian national musical instrument “duduk” is made of apricot wood.
- Armenian lavash enlisted in Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
In 2014, Armenian flatbread that is made in the underground tonir (oven) is inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It is a national Armenian bread and an important part of national cuisine.
- Six Armenian sites included in Unesco’s world heritage list
Not only, Armenian national bread is in Unesco’s list but also six Armenian sites are inscribed on the World Heritage List: the monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin; the cathedral and churches of Echmiatsin and the archaeological site of Zvartnots; and the monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley.
- Cable car recorded in Guinness World Records
Cable car “Wings of Tatev”, situated near the Tatev Monastery, according to Guinness book of records considered the longest (5752 m) non-stop double track ropeway in the world. The longest cable car connects the village of Halizor and Tatev Monastery opening up great views.
- Armenian national symbol: Mount Ararat
Armenians believe that the biblical Noah’s ark landed on the peak of Mount Ararat. It is believed that Mount Ararat saved Armenians from a very serious earthquake.
Though right now Mount Ararat is not in the territory of Armenia, it has a very beautiful view from the country. Even many Armenians coming from abroad look for a house with a view of the mount.
- Chess indispensable part of the Armenian school curriculum
Chess was famous in Armenia since back to the 9th century. It is mentioned in the ancient Armenian manuscripts kept in Matenadarn.
We have a number of famous chess players including Tigran Petrossian who was the 9th world champion from 1963 to 1969.
Currently, all the Armenian pupils take chess classes at school and there are also exams. The lessons are compulsory and are taught starting from the 1st grade.
This is all the interesting facts that our team found for you about Armenia. Did you enjoy the article? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.
P.S. if you are planning your trip to Armenia, don’t forget about renting a car from Freeway to make your trip more delightful and interested. If you don’t know how to plan your, you can read our previous article on how to travel to Armenia.