Romanian?! NO! ARMENIAN!!!

I don’t know the number of times while growing up that I would say, “Armenia” and the question back would be “Romania?” Or I would say I’m Armenian and they would think I had said Romanian. It was frustrating. Then the 1988 earthquake suddenly brought Armenia to the forefront of the news people now knew about Armenia but like any small country the average person does not know where to find Armenia on the map or any significant history about the country.

So, my friends who know I’m Armenian but don’t know much about Armenia here are thousands of years worth of history summarized into a couple of paragraphs.

Yerevan with Mont Ararat in the background

Yerevan (Armenian: Երևան or Երեւան, Armenian pronunciation: [jɛɾɛˈvɑn]) is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world’s oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country. It has been the capital since 1918, the thirteenth in the history of Armenia.

The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC, with the founding of the fortress of Erebuni in 782 BC by king Argishti I at the western extreme of the Ararat plain. After World War I, Yerevan became the capital of the Democratic Republic of Armenia as thousands of survivors of the Armenian Genocide settled in the area. The city expanded rapidly during the 20th century as Armenia became one of the fifteen republics in the Soviet Union. In fifty years, Yerevan was transformed from a town of a few thousand residents within the Russian Empire, to Armenia’s principal cultural, artistic, and industrial center, as well as becoming the seat of national government.

With the growth of the economy of the country, Yerevan has been undergoing major transformation as many parts of the city have been the recipient of new construction since the early 2000s, and retail outlets such as restaurants, shops and street cafes, which were rare during Soviet times, have multiplied.

In 2009, the population of Yerevan was estimated to be 1,111,300 people with the agglomeration around the city regrouping 1,245,700 people (2007 official estimate), more than a third of all the population of Armenia.

Yerevan was named the 2012 World Book Capital by UNESCO.Taken from Wikipedia

One of the world’s oldest civilization, Armenia once included Mount Ararat, which biblical tradition identifies as the mountain that Noah’s ark rested on after the flood. It was the first country in the world to officially embrace Christianity as its religion (c. 300).

Armenian Flag
The national flag of the Republic of Armenia is of three colors in stripes of the same width – red, blue, orange respectively from top to bottom. The Red emblematizes the Armenian Highland, the Armenian people’s continued struggle for survival, maintenance of the Christian faith, Armenia’s independence and freedom. The Blue emblematizes the will of the people of Armenia to live beneath peaceful skies. The Orange emblematizes the creative talent and hard-working nature of the people of Armenia.

Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms of the Republic of Armenia is as follows: On a shield, positioned in the center, Mount Ararat is represented with Noah’s Arch and the coats of arms of the four royal dynasties of the historical Armenia: from top to left – that of the Bargratunides, from top to right – that of the Arshakounides, from bottom to left – that of Artashesides, from bottom to right – that of the Rubenides. The shield is upheld by an eagle (on the left) and lion (on the right). There is a sword, as well as a branch of a tree, a bundle of spikes, a chain and a ribbon pictured below the shield. Golden is the main color of the Coat of Arms of the Republic of Armenia. The colors of the kingdoms of the historical Armenia are as follows: from top to left – red, from top to right – blue, from bottom to left – blue, from bottom to right – red, with orange-painted Mount Ararat positioned in the center on a shield. The foregoing colors emblematize the colors of the national flag of the Republic of Armenia.

Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia

Over the centuries Armenia was conquered by Greeks, Romans, Persians, Byzantines, Mongols, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and Russian. From the 17th century through World War I major portions of Armenia were controlled by their most brutal invader, the Ottoman Turks, under whom they experienced discrimination, religious persecution, heavy taxation, and armed attacks. In response to Armenian nationalist stirrings, the Turks massacred thousands of Armenians in 1894 and 1896. The most horrific massacre took place in April 1915 during World War I, when the Turks ordered the deportation of the Armenian population to the deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia. According to the majority of historians, between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians were murdered or died of starvation. The Armenian massacre is considered the first genocide in the 20th century. Turkey denies that a genocide took place, and claims that a much smaller number died in a civil war.