September 30, 2024 to October 4, 2024
Ramada Hotel & Suites by Wyndham, Yerevan, Armenia
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About Armenia

Armenia, landlocked country of Transcaucasia, lying just south of the great mountain range of the Caucasus and fronting the northwestern extremity of Asia. To the north and east Armenia is bounded by Georgia and Azerbaijan, while its neighbours to the southeast and west are, respectively, Iran and Turkey. Naxijevan, an exclave of Azerbaijan, borders Armenia to the southwest. The capital is Yerevan (Erevan).

Modern Armenia comprises only a small portion of ancient Armenia, one of the world’s oldest centres of civilization. At its height, Armenia extended from the south-central Black Sea coast to the Caspian Sea and from the Mediterranean Sea to Lake Urmia in present-day Iran. Ancient Armenia was subjected to constant foreign incursions, finally losing its autonomy in the 14th century ce. The centuries-long rule of Ottoman and Persian conquerors imperiled the very existence of the Armenian people. Eastern Armenia was annexed by Russia during the 19th century, while western Armenia remained under Ottoman rule, and in 1894–96 and 1915 the Ottoman government perpetrated systematic massacres and forced deportations of Armenians.

The portion of Armenia lying within the former Russian Empire declared independence on May 28, 1918, but in 1920 it was invaded by forces from Turkey and Soviet Russia. The Soviet Republic of Armenia was established on November 29, 1920; in 1922 Armenia became part of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic; and in 1936 this republic was dissolved and Armenia became a constituent (union) republic of the Soviet Union. Armenia declared sovereignty on August 23, 1990, and independence on September 23, 1991.

The status of Nagorno-Karabakh (also called Artsakh), an enclave of 1,700 square miles (4,400 square km) in southwestern Azerbaijan populated primarily by ethnic Armenians, was from 1988 the source of bitter conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. By the mid-1990s Karabakh Armenian forces had occupied much of southwestern Azerbaijan, but, after a devastating war in 2020, they were compelled to withdraw from most of that area. cortesy of Britannica

Some quick facts:

  • Armenia is an ancient country
    first mentioned in king Darius “Behistun” manuscript in 520 BC. Ughtasar Petroglyphs date back  to 12000 BC. The world's oldest known leather shoe dates back to 3500 BC discovered in Armenia.
  • First country to adopt Christianity
    Gregory the Illuminator (Lusavorich), who baptized Armenia in 301, became the first Catholicos of All Armenians.
  • Armenians have their own alphabet
    The Armenian alphabet was created in 405-406 AD by a scholar and monk Mesrop Mashtots.  Mashtots’ alphabet consists of 36 letters.
  • Armenia is home to the world's oldest winery
    The oldest winery on the planet, found in a cave near the village of Areni is 6100 years old
  • Yerevan is one of the oldest cities in the world
    The Armenian capital, Yerevan, is one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities. Founded in 782 BC by King Argishti, it is even older than Rome.
  • Armenia has a record-breaking cable car
    According to Guinness World Records, the longest non-stop double track cable car is the Tatev Aerial Tramway, which clocks in at 5,752m (18,871ft) long.
  • UNESCO World Heritage List
    Lavash, a soft, thin, flatbread, found place on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
  • There are three other intangible cultural heritages: Performance of the Armenian Epic “Daredevils of Sassoun” or “David of Sassoun”, Armenian Cross-stones art, and Duduk and its Music.
  • There are six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Armenia: Haghpat Monastery, Sanahin Monastery, Echmiadzin cathedral and churches, Zvartnots archaeological site, Geghard Monastery and Azat Valley.

Some key events in Armenia's history (
courtesy of BBC):

6th Century BC  - first Armenian established under the Orontids as part of the Achaemenid empire.

190BC onwards - Kingdom becomes fully sovereign.

95-66BC - Under Tigranes the Great, Armenia becomes the most powerful kingdom east of the Roman Republic.

301AD - Tiridates III of Armenia makes Christianity the state religion.

428 - Armenia becomes part of the Sasanian empire.

c, 660-750 - Christian Armenia is absorbed into the Umayyad Caliphate.

884 - Armenia regains its independence under Ashot I.

1045 - Byzantine empire conquers Armenia.

1071 - Seljuk Turks defeat the Byzantines and conquer Armenia following the Battle of Manzikert.

12th Century - Armenian drive out the Seljuks and establish a semi-independent principality.

1230s - Mongols conquer Armenia.

16th Century - Armenia divided between Ottoman empire and Iran's Safavid dynasty.

1813-1828 - Iran forced to cede eastern Armenia to Russia following the Russo-Persian War of 1804-13 and the Russo-Persian War of 1826-28; western Armenia remains under Ottoman control.

1890s - Armenian Revolutionary Federation, or Dashnaks, became active within the Ottoman Empire. Their aim is both political reform and the wider goal of creating an independent Armenia.

1894-96 - Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid II organises massacres of Armenians in response to growing Armenian political pressure, killing between 80,000-300,000 people.

1915-1917 - Between 300,000 and 1.5 million Armenians are massacred or deported by the Ottoman government from their homeland in Anatolia to present-day Syria. Armenia and many historians consider the killings an act of genocide.

1918 - Independent Armenia emerges from defeat of Ottoman Empire in World War One, but is incorporated into the Soviet Union four years later.

1989 - Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh begins with Azerbaijan.

1991 - Armenia declares independence.

1994 - Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh sign a ceasefire accord. Ethnic Armenians remain in control of Karabakh.

2009 - Armenia and Turkey agree on a provisional roadmap for normalising diplomatic ties, but subsequently fail to ratify the deal.

2015 - Armenia officially joins the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Union, having decided against signing a EU Association Agreement.

2018 - Long-standing Republican Party rules ends after mass protests.

map of Nagorno-Karabakh

2020 - Azerbaijan recaptures large amounts of territory around Nagorno-Karabakh. Some 3,000 Azerbaijani soldiers and 4,000 Armenian soldiers are killed in the conflict.

Russian peacekeepers are deployed to monitor a new Moscow-brokered ceasefire, and also to ensure safe passage through the region of Lachin - the so-called "Lachin corridor" separating Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia.

2022 - Fighting breaks out between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, about 50 soldiers on each side are killed in the clashes.

2023 - Following a months-long Azerbaijani blockade of the Lachin corridor, Azerbaijani forces rapidly overwhelm Nagorno-Karabakh troops and seize the region after 24 hours of fighting.

The majority of ethnic Armenians flee.