Armenia (Hayastan in Armenian), officially the Republic of Armenia is situated between Europe and Asia, in Transcaucasia occupying 29.800sq/km area. Armenia is divided into 11 regions (Marz). The capital of the country isYerevan. The population of Armenia is 3.2 million people. The country has a very homogeneous ethnic composition, 97.9% of the population are of ethnic Armenian origin. Among other minorities are Russians, Yezidi, Assyrians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Georgians, and Belarusians. Armenia has a very large diasporas, as an average of 8 million Armenians live world.
Culturally, historically and politically, Armenia is considered to be a part of Europe. However, due to its location in the southern Caucasus, on the conventional boundary between Europe and Asia, we can say that it’s an intercontinental country. Endowed with rich cultural heritage, Armenia is considered to be the first country to officially accept Christianity in the IV century (301).
Armenia is a country without access to the sea located in the Caucasus, in the southern Caucasus, the north-east of the Armenian Plateau, between the Black and Caspian Seas. The relief is mainly mountainous, with mountain rivers and few forests, extinct volcanoes, deep canyons, high plateaus, formed from lava, crossed by deep ravines. Most of the country is located at 1800 meters above sea level. The highest point is Mount Aragats (4092m), while the lowest is located in Debed valley (400m).
The land is unstable and prone to earthquakes of 3.5 points of magnitude. In 1988 a strong earthquake of 7.5 points shook the north-west of Armenia causing more than 25,000 deaths.
Armenia is rich in minerals such as gold, silver, copper, iron, molybdenum, construction materials and salt.
Armenia stands out with a large variety of landscapes, including 7 geographic zones, from deserts and semi-deserts to alpine and subalpine meadows. Because of the numerous mountain formations, which block the influence of seas, and the high location of the territory above sea level, the climate is continental with a large difference between the seasons, including hot summers and cold winters. Average summer temperatures exceed 25 º C, while in winter the temperature is -5 º C. The best time to visit the country is fromApriltoOctober.
The official language is Armenian, while Russian and English are also frequently used. Armenian language is a separate branch of Indo-European language family, between groups of Slavic and Greek languages. The Armenian alphabet, created by Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD, has been used until now, without any changesoverthecenturies.
The national currency is AMD, with notes of 1000, 5000, 10.000, 20.000, 50.000 drams, as well as coins of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 drams. In all banks and exchanges you may freely change the currency and there arenolimitsoncurrencyexchange.
Armenia is the first country in the world, which officially adopted Christianity in 301, whereas in the Roman Empire religious freedom was established 12 years later, in 313, and only in 325 Christianitywasgivenofficiallegitimacy.
The roots of the Armenian Church go back to many centuries, starting from the Ist century. According to historical information, the Armenian Church was founded by two of the twelve apostles of Jesus, Thaddeus and Bartholomew, who preached Christianity in Armenia from 40 to 60. In their honor the official name of the Armenian Church is Armenian Apostolic Church. Armenians also call it Gregorian Church, in honor of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the first patriarch (in Armenian Catholicos) of the Armenian Church. The Armenian Church has 4 hierarchical sees: Holy See of Ejmiadzin, Cilicia, Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Patriarchate of Constantinople.