27 interesting facts about Armenia

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The most interesting facts about Armenia, from the world’s oldest winery and leather shoe to compulsory chess lessons for school children.

Interesting facts about Armenia include its Christian history
Interesting facts about Armenia include its Christian history (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: Republic of Armenia
Population: 3,011,609
Area: 29,743 sq km
Capital city: Yerevan
Major languages: Armenian, Kurdish, Russian
Major religions: Armenian Apostolic (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
Time zone: UTC+4 (Armenia Time)
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

Interesting facts about Armenia

1. Armenia is supposedly named after Hayk, the mythical patriarch of the Armenians and the great-great-grandson of Noah from the Bible. Hayk’s descendant, Aram, is allegedly where the name Armenia derives from.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

2. Although located in Southwestern Asia, Armenia is considered a transcontinental country as geopolitically it is considered part of Europe.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

3. Armenia is a landlocked country bordered by Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and Turkey.
– Source: BBC News

Map of Armenia showing bordering countries
Map of Armenia (Shutterstock)

4. From the early 15th century, Armenia was part of the Ottoman Empire.
– Source: History Channel

5. From 1915 to the early 1920s, between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians were killed during a period that saw the systematic killing and deportation of Armenians by the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. This later became known as the Armenian genocide.
– Source: History Channel

6. Armenia’s flag is horizontally striped red, blue and orange. Red represents the blood shed by Armenians in the past, blue for the land, and orange for courage and work.
– Source: Britannica

The flag of Armenia flying against blue sky
The flag of Armenia (Shutterstock)

7. In 1922, Armenia was incorporated into the Soviet Union after the Armenian regions of the Ottoman Empire fell to the Russian army in 1916.
– Source: BBC News

8. In 1991, following a referendum that saw 94% vote for secession, Armenia declared independence from the Soviet Union.
– Source: BBC News

9. Armenia was the first county to adopt Christianity when it made Christianity its official religion in 301 AD.
– Source: BBC Travel

Aerial view of Hayravank monastery on the shores of Lake Sevan
The Hayravank monastery on the shores of Lake Sevan (Shutterstock)

10. Armenia has the largest lake in the Caucasus and one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in the world. Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan) is located 1,900m (6,234ft) above sea level and covers 1240 sq km.
– Source: Lonely Planet

11. The world’s oldest winery was found in a cave in Armenia. In 2011, archaeologists excavated a wine press for crushing grapes, fermentation and storage vessels, drinking cups, grapevines, skins and seeds dating back 6,100 years.
– Source: National Geographic

12. In the same area, the world’s oldest leather shoe was also discovered a year earlier. The well preserved 5,500-year-old moccasin-like shoe was found stuffed with grass – likely to be an insulator or an early shoe tree.
– Source: National Geographic

The Geghard Monastery part-carved into rock
Geghard Monastery (Shutterstock)

13. The UNESCO-listed Geghard Monastery is one of Armenia’s top attractions. Founded in the 4th century and carved out of a cliff, the monastery is named after the lance that pierced Jesus Christ’s side at his crucifixion.
– Source: Lonely Planet

14. In Armenia, chess is compulsory for school children for ages seven to nine. The country is one of the world’s most successful chess playing nations having won a number of championships.
– Source: The Telegraph

15. Armenia is part of Transcaucasia, a small mountainous region to the south of the Caucasus Mountains.
– Source: Britannica

The capital city of Yerevan with Mount Ararat in the background
The capital city of Yerevan with Mount Ararat in the background (Shutterstock)

16. Mount Ararat is considered to be the national symbol of Armenia, despite not being in the country. Mount Ararat, which is located in Turkey but can be seen from Yerevan, is believed to be where Noah’s Ark landed after the Great Flood in the Bible.
– Source: Armenia Tourism Committee

17. In 2021, a mass brawl broke out in Armenia’s parliament after bottles of water were thrown at the speaker.
– Source: The Guardian

18. The longest non-stop double track cable car is in Armenia. At 5,752m (18,871 ft), the Tatev Aerial Tramway connects the village of Halizor with the secluded medieval Tatev Monastery.
– Source: Guinness World Records

A cable car crossing the Tatev Aerial Tramway
The Tatev Aerial Tramway (Shutterstock)

19. The capital city of Armenia, Yerevan, is known as the Pink City, due to the rosy volcanic rock used to construct many of the city’s state buildings.
– Source: Lonely Planet

20. Armenia has a number of items inscribed on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, including its traditional flatbread, a group dance and letter art.
– Source: UNESCO

21. Armenia has repeatedly clashed with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The latest flare-up, in 2020, saw thousands of people killed before a peace deal was agreed.
– Source: BBC News

22. Armenia has its own alphabet created over 1,600 years ago. There is an Armenian Alphabet Monument, erected in 2005 in honour of Mesrop Mashtots who invented the 39-letter alphabet.
– Source: Lonely Planet

A letter from the Armenian alphabet monument
The Armenian alphabet monument (Shutterstock)

23. The UNESCO-listed Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin is considered to be the “Vatican of the Armenian Apostolic Church”. The church, originally between 301 and 303 AD, is considered to be one of the oldest cathedrals in the world.
– Source: Lonely Planet, Stokes, Jamie, ed. (2008). Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East. New York: Infobase Publishing

24. The historic Silk Road, the ancient trading route that connected China with Europe and the Middle East, runs through Armenia.
– Source: UNESCO

25. Every year, some Armenian villages located near wetlands are taken over by 650 pairs of breeding white storks. The villagers take part in a community-focused monitoring programme called Nest Neighbors to help protect the birds’ habitat.
– Source: The Smithsonian

Storks nesting on electricity pylons and telephone poles in an Armenian village
Storks nesting in an Armenian village (Shutterstock)

26. Armenia has seen mass migration over the years with poverty and unemployment in rural areas forcing men to resettle and leaving whole villages almost entirely populated by women.
– Source: BBC News

27. Armenia is the ancestral homeland of several international celebrities including Cher, Kim Kardashian and Andre Agassi.
– Source: The Guardian

Every effort has been made to verify these facts about Armenia using primary sources. However, if you find an error or have any questions, please contact us.