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About Armenia

Armenian Culture

Armenian

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Urartu CultureUrartu CultureUrartu CultureUrartu Culture

Urartu CultureUrartu CultureUrartu CultureUrartu Culture

Urartu CultureUrartu CultureUrartu CultureUrartu Culture

Urartu CultureUrartu CultureUrartu CultureUrartu Culture

Exploring different cultures is thrilling. That’s why Armenia is the ideal place for you to experience a wide range of cultural layers, from miniature paintings to sculptures, from engravings to carpet making - Armenia has something for everyone.

Urartu, or the Kingdom of Van, was the cradle of Armenian culture dating back to Antiquity. From the 9th to 6th centuries BC, the arts were flourishing, paving the way for innovations in intricate ornaments, canonical style, metallurgy, and skilled crafted stonework. 


Fine bronze artifacts, such as swords, vessels, notably large cauldrons, helmets, and jewelry pieces, are particularly remarkable examples of Urartian art. 


To explore this unique and often overlooked ancient culture, check out the historical and cultural heritage of Urartu at the History Museum of Armenia, located in the heart of the capital. 

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The earliest examples of Armenian book miniatures can be described by their vivid colors, artistic variations, exquisitely carved ivory covers, mind-blowing typographic techniques, and endless ornaments. Several manuscripts that date back to the seventh century have been preserved.

The miniatures are extremely important for understanding the history of Armenian music, theater, ethnography, crafts, etc., in addition to their artistic value. The Matenadaran, the largest repository of Armenian manuscripts, is home to more than 23,000 manuscripts and 300,000 archival records.

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Traditional DancesTraditional DancesTraditional DancesTraditional Dances

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It's no surprise that Armenian dancing has been an essential part of our national identity for centuries. Through traditional Armenian dance, we connect with our past, celebrate our culture, and unite with the global community. Dance like no one is watching, especially if you are in Armenia.

A birthday, a wedding, or a random event in a restaurant - Armenians love to express their emotions through dancing, and that started long ago. A number of rock paintings depicting dancing scenes in the highest parts of Armenia, the area of Ararat, demonstrate the development of the culture since the pre-Christian period, during the time of paganism.


Komitas, the founder of the Armenian national school of music, once said, "Dance exposes the distinctive characteristics of each nation, particularly the manners and level of civilization".


The musicologist managed to revive eight folk dances. He traveled from village to village and, in addition to national songs, he documented traditional Armenian dances, preserving the descriptions and steps.
 

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Armenian Dances

A number of traditional Armenian dances have been preserved. You can see them performed both on big stages and during ordinary family gatherings. When the dancers wear their traditional costumes with bright colors and unique embroidery, the scene becomes even more exciting.

01

Kochari

Kochari, also known as Armenia's war dance, is a well-known traditional dance that is both aesthetically masculine and dramatic. The song, which is on the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, evokes attacking motions by bouncing, hopping, and shifting weight. The dance has been performed for centuries, and almost every region of Armenia has its own distinct version of this dance.

02

Yarkhushta

Yarhkhushta is a well-known clap dance popular among the Armenian population from Sassoun, historical Armenia’s ‘Sparta’, known for its warlike people and fierce resistance to invasion. The word "yar" means "friend and lover”, as well as “ally” in this context, and "khysht" means “weapon.” Respectively, the name of the dance translates as "comrade in arms". This dance describes a battle scene. A heavy drum and zurna (an oriental clarinet) always accompany the performances, and the dancers usually dress in uniform and carry daggers.

03

Berd

Berd dance originates from the Vaspurakan region of the ancient kingdom of Armenia. Since “Berd” means “fortress”, the dancers imitate the process of building a fortress while performing.

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Armenian theater is one of the world's oldest, alongside the Greek and Roman traditions. Its evolution underwent several stages.

Dating back to around 70 BC, Plutarch claims that the Armenian emperor Tigran the Great ordered the construction of the earliest theater in Armenian history. He established a large public theater in Tigranakert (Tigranocerta) fourteen years before Pompey built his first theater in Rome.


But long before that, Armenian theater emerged from the ceremonies dedicated to Gisane, the dying and resurrecting god of life-giving nature, and Anahit, the goddess of fertility and healing, wisdom, and water.

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In the late Middle Ages, there were several theatrical performances in the ancient Armenian kingdoms of Vaspurakan, Ani, and Cilicia. Jean Chardin, a traveler from France, published a lengthy narrative of an act he saw at Yerevan's Armenian Mime Theater in the 17th century.

Following several ups and downs, the new era of Armenian theater began in the 18th century and has been developing ever since. The theatrical repertoire drastically expanded when Armenian drama troupes started touring. 

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The rich history of Armenian theater inspired the birth of opera. Armenian theater has evolved into many different forms over the course of its centuries-long existence. Musical accompaniment, in particular, was a significant feature of many ancient and medieval theater performances. Armenian dramatic theater underwent a new phase of evolution in the 19th century when music gradually gained greater importance there.

Tigran Chukhajian, a well-known composer and conductor, founded the first opera house in the 19th century. He wrote "Arshak II", the first Armenian opera, by combining Western and Armenian influences.


In 1932 the Armenian government founded the National Opera Theater. A few years later, Alexander Tamanyan, the founder of modern Armenian architecture, designed Yerevan’s unique Opera House, which to this day is considered one of the main landmarks of the capital. Make sure to have it on your must-see list.
 

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From sacred music to Komitas, the founder of the modern Armenian national school of music; from Aram Khachaturian’s "Sabre Dance" to Hollywood vibes and Jivan Gasparyan’s duduk in the film “Gladiator”, from jazz to the Eurovision Song Contest – Armenian music has no boundaries.

Throughout its history, Armenian music has had a significant impact on the development of the nation's consciousness, culture, and values. Armenian music, influenced by Middle Eastern and Western musical traditions, dates back to the II millennium BC, according to ancient Armenian historians Movses Khorenatsi and Pavstots Byuzand.

 

Concerts in clubs and concert halls, live performances in restaurants and street musicians playing famous songs - come and see, Armenia lives and breathes music. 

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