June 9, 1992 is the date on which Armenia became one of the member states of UNESCO. As of July 2016, 1,052 sites are listed in the world heritage list: 814 cultural, 203 natural, and 35 mixed properties, within the 165 state parties. Armenia, with its 29,743 square kilometer territory, has a rather long list.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN ARMENIA
Presently there are three world heritage sites listed by UNESCO in Armenia, and each of Armenia's three UNESCO World Heritage sites hold significant religious and historical significance. Two of these sites are inscribed based on cultural criteria, and only one meets both cultural and natural criteria. Besides the three, there are four others on the tentative list.
Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley, 2000
The spear, or True Lance, that pierced Christ’s side was once held in Geghard (Spear, in Armenian) Monastery. This ancient, beautiful monastery, carved into the cliffs, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that can be reached by the same road that leads past Garni Temple. Pilgrims going to Geghard Monastery tend to also stop at Garni to admire the only Hellenistic Temple of the Caucasus and the beautiful canyon below.
Cathedral and Churches of Echmiadzin and Archeological Site of Zvartnots, 2000
Echmiadzin, the Holy See of the Armenian Apostolic Church, developed in Tiridates’ city of Vagharshapat. It is said that the main cathedral was built in the exact spot where Jesus descended from the heavens and slammed the Earth with his golden hammer. Now a UNESCO site, Echmiadzin is one of the most common pilgrimage destinations of Armenia. It is here where the Catholicos of all Armenians resides and carries out his religious duties. Around the complex are also a number of museums and archives coantaining historic documents and artefacts, including a piece of the cross on which Christ was crucified, the spear which pierced his side, and a piece of Noah’s Ark. Close to the complex are the remains of the 7th century cathedral of Zvartnots, which was the tallest church on earth when built!
Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin, 1996
Other UNESCO World Heritage Sites are the extraordinary and enchanting monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin, in Lori. The jewels of the Debed Monasteries Pilgrimage, Haghpat and Sanahin were among the largest of their kind, and once renowned centers of learning. The two rival monasteries are preserved much as they were in their glory days of the 12th and 13th centuries.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE OBJECTS
Among the cultural elements of Armenia, the list of UNESCO includes musical instrument duduk and its music, symbolism and craftsmanship of Khachkars, Armenian epic “David Sasusnky”, traditional Armenian bread “Lavash”.
The name “khachkar” is translated as “cross-stone”. Khachkars are typically Armenian, identifying Christian culture in Armenia. The main topic of khachkars are carved crosses on the rock, though you rarely you may meet khachkars with other images. You’ll never meet 2 of the same Kachkars. Every khachkar is unique and is never copied. This fascinating fact about Armenian culture may make you more interested in it. The first khachkars appeared in 9th century. Since 2010 khachkars are included UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Sasuntsi David Epos
Sasuntsi Davit, Sasna Tsrer is one of the heroes of the Armenian folk epic. Even though Sasuntsi Davit is only one of the four branches of the epic, the epic is often called the David of Sasun. The vital force of the Armenian people, its best aspirations, thoughts and feelings are embodied in the image of the main hero of the epic, David. David is an invincible giant with superhuman strength, a protector of patriotic, democratic, rhyming and workers, he is selflessly courageous, humane, peace-loving. David, being the beloved hero of the Armenian people, has been given the people's divine title by the title "Davit". The people loved her hero from childhood in a liberal spirit.
The duduk (doo-dook) is an ancient double-reed woodwind flute made of apricot wood. It is indigenous to Armenia. It is commonly played in pairs: while the first player plays the tune, the second plays a steady drone, and the sound of the two instruments together creates a richer, more haunting sound. The unflattened reed and cylindrical body produce a sound closer to the English horn than to more commonly known double-reeds. Unlike other double reed instruments like the oboe or shawm, the duduk has a very large reed proportional to its size. UNESCO proclaimed the Armenian duduk and its music as a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005 and inscribed it in 2008. Duduk music has been used in a number of films, most notably in The Russia House and Gladiator.
A very important aspect of the Armenian cuisine is the traditional bread called Lavash. In 2014, "Lavash, the preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional bread as an expression of culture in Armenia" was included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.