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About Armenia

History

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Armenian history is brimming with life-changing events and national achievements. To learn about the remarkable path of this country, visit the History Museum when in Yerevan. But first, go over the main highlights of Armenian history below to get some insights about this small but mighty nation.

The Beginning

“Who are we?” and “Where do we come from?” are humankind's biggest questions. Armenians had also contemplated the nation's beginnings throughout the ages and tried to find answers to these questions.

Armenians are the descendants of Hayk, one of Noah's inheritors. After defeating the Mesopotamian tyrant Bel, Hayk commanded his people in the Armenian Plateau, and they started calling themselves Hay (Armenian) and the country –  Hayq (the land of Hays, Armenians).

 

In the existence of the Urartian civilization, Armenians were part of the local population. Although the primary spoken language was Urartian, old Armenian was also widely practiced. Interestingly, the Armenian Kingdoms and States of the following periods were formed on the same territories as the Urartian Kingdom, making the Armenian population a straight line of descent from our predecessors.

 

When in Yerevan, visit the Erebuni Museum and archeological site, uncover the Urartian past of the area and learn the chronology of the people living here from Erebuni to Yerevan times.  

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One of the historically authentic periods in Armenian history is the classical era or Armenian Hellenism. From the third century BC to the third century AD, Armenian culture and architecture flourished along with religious development.

Some unique examples, such as the Garni Temple, are proof of once-blooming Armenian Hellenism. Thanks to the ongoing archaeological excavations at the ancient sites of the country, the History Museum of Armenia is full of one-of-a-kind specimens of jewelry art, ceramics, sculptures, vessels, marble figures, coins, etc. – all waiting for you to come and discover. 

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The classical period also enriched the Armenian pantheon of Gods and Goddesses. The pagan deities were reverently honored in the temples constructed during this time. 

For instance, the ancient city of Artashat had a temple devoted to the goddess of fertility and wisdom, Anahit, while the Garni temple was dedicated to the god of the sun, Mihr. To claim that Armenia's classical era had a substantial influence on its culture and history is an understatement.

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The most significant periods in Armenian history are the fourth and fifth centuries AD. Three crucial events significantly shaped the Armenian nation during these ages. Keep this in mind when you get a glimpse of Grigor Khanjyan’s painting at Cascade Complex in Yerevan, portraying these three important events.

The first ground-breaking event was the adoption of Christianity as a state religion in the 4th century. This may be one of the key reasons why Armenians have maintained their identity, and today you can witness their magnificent culture. 

Another key occasion that helped Armenians maintain their sense of national identity was the development of the Armenian alphabet. In 405 AD. Mesrop Mashtots created the Armenian alphabet, initially consisting of 36 unique letters.

 

Today our alphabet has 39 that were added to it in a later period.Visit the Western slope of Aragats Mountain to see the mesmerizing Armenian Alphabet Monument. Don’t forget to find the first letter of your name and take a photo with it. Locals will help you locate it. Finally, in 451, Armenians asserted their religion, language, and national identity in Avarayr's battle with the Persians.

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The art of writing, translation, and the complete educational system was developed in the centuries following the creation of the Armenian Alphabet, progressing into the 14th and 15th centuries.

The 9th to 11th centuries were ideal for a cultural and architectural boom in Bagratid, Armenia. The capital city, Ani, developed significantly, establishing a separate school of philosophy, art, culture, and architecture. Ani’s influence can be seen in Armenia’s other regions. To experience the cultural vibes of this period, you should visit Marmashen and Harichavank Monasteries, Amberd Fortress, and nearby Vahramashen church. 

 

The next centuries were beneficial for Armenian merchants, showcasing their skills to make good deals in sales and getting the privilege to travel from Persia and Iran all the way to Great Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries. Armenian merchants also shaped the Armenian Diaspora of those times, providing avenues for further expansion. 

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For Armenians, the 20th century marks a new age of socioeconomic, cultural, and architectural advancements.

You can see how Armenia's national characteristics were shaped by visiting its cities and towns.The 20th century saw Yerevan's development as the "pink city." Many monuments, memorials, and sculptures that represent our country and its history can be found there.

 

In this sense, the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Museum, The Men statue, Sasuntsi Davit and Mother Armenia monuments, as well as numerous others, are worth checking out.

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Founded in 1991, the Republic of Armenia went through a long and challenging path.

Yet, Armenia continues to thrive and achieve new milestones while making history. The Velvet Revolution in 2018 is a fine example of Armenia’s continuous growth and openness to change. 

 

Explore all the layers of Armenia's history during your stay, whether you are more interested in the past or wish to learn more about the present. 

 

You can visit Armenia's main attractions, but you should also get to know the locals, discover the country's history, and engage with its culture. So come, and stay a while!

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