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FAST FACTS ABOUT Armenia

  • visa

    If you are traveling to Armenia, you might need a visa for your trip.

  • history

    Armenian history extends to early civilization. Human beings have historically inhabited the Armenian Highlands and Caucasus Region since over 100,000 years ago. Little is known of them, however, drawings in caves and on rocks attest to their existence. The area, situated between some of the Old World's major waterways, is generally considered the cradle of civilization. Additionally, the Bible records that Noah's Ark came to rest on Historic Armenia's Mt. Ararat, and there are many references of his descent from the mountain after the Great Flood. Armenian vassal states, principalities, kingdoms and empires have risen and fallen in different parts of this highland throughout history. Much of Armenia's history has been spent under the domination of the great powers of the region, but Armenians managed to hold onto their language and church and prosper whenever given a chance. Armenia was located on the Silk Road, and Armenians built a network of merchant communities and ties extending from eastern Asia to Venice. Archeological and historical facts point to the development of civilization in the region with the formation of the Urartu kingdom around 980 BC. Various Urartu rulers built capitals in the area, such as around Lake Van in the thirteenth century BC and that built by Argishti I in 782 BC, the ruins of which are preserved today in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. Stone tools from 325,000 years ago have been found in Armenia which indicate the presence of early humans at this time. In the 1960s excavations in the Yerevan 1 Cave uncovered evidence of ancient human habitation, including the remains of a 48,000-year-old heart, and a human cranial fragment and tooth of a similar age. The Armenian Highland shows traces of settlement from the Neolithic era. Archaeological surveys in 2010 and 2011 have resulted in the discovery of the world's earliest known leather shoe (3,500 BC), straw skirt (3,900 BC), and wine-making facility (4,000 BC) at the Areni-1 cave complex. The Shulaveri-Shomu culture of the central Transcaucasus region is one of the earliest known prehistoric cultures in the area, carbon-dated to roughly 6000–4000 BC.

  • geography

    Armenia is a landlocked country, without access to the sea located in South Caucasus, the north-east of the Armenian Plateau, between the Black and Caspian Seas. Modern Armenia term means Republic of Armenia which occupies part of historical Armenia, whose ancient centres were in the valley of the Araks River and the region around Lake Van in Turkey. Armenia is bordered on the north by Georgia, on the east by Azerbaijan, on the southwest by the Nagorno-Karabakh, on the south by Iran, and on the west by Turkey. The territory of Armenia is 29.800 sq.km. The relief is mainly mountainous, with mountain rivers and few forests, extinct volcanoes, deep canyons, high plateaus, formed from lava, crossed by deep ravines. Most of the country has 1800 meters altitude from sea level. The highest point is Mount Aragats 4095 meters, while the lowest is located in Debed valley 400 meters. One of the national symbols of Armenia is Mount Ararat 5165 meters, which is the highest mountain in the region and clearly visible from Armenian side.

  • religion

    Many visitors will be surprised to know that Armenia is not just a Christian nation, but it is the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion. It took place more than 1700 years ago in 301 AD. One can find thousands of churches and monasteries in Armenia. The Christian faith has shaped Armenian culture so intimately that it permeates the very landscape at virtually every corner of the country. Armenians are Apostolic Christians and have their own Catholicos (religious leader, like the Pope for Catholics). About 97% of Armenians consider themselves to be Armenian Christians, having derived their faith directly from Christ's apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the first century AD. At that time, paganism was widespread and practiced by the kings of Armenia.

  • money

    The Republic of Armenia has its own currency. The fixed monetary unit is Armenian dram (AMD), or just “dram”, in plural – “drams”. On the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic the currency of Armenia is used. Nowadays bank notes with tenors of 1000, 5000, 10 000, 20 000, 50 000 and 100 000 drams, as well as bits with tenors of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 drams circulate in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Check the daily updated rate of exchange in our website The receipt of cash in bank automatic teller machines (ATM) The holders of international credit and debit cards such as “VISA”, “MASTER CARD”, and “MAESTRO” can receive cash in local or foreign currency in banks working with their credit companies. ATMs are mainly placed at the bank entrances or in supermarkets. You can also find them in other public places. Exchange Exchange points are available in almost all banks and supermarkets as well as in post offices. Shopping According to the existing legislation only Armenian drams are to be paid for purchasing goods or services. All the payments are done taking into account taxes. Suppliers of goods and service providers have no right to accept payments or give change in foreign currency.

  • electricity

    Electricity in Armenia is 230 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Armenia with a device that does not accept 230 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. Armenia uses the standard European non-grounded socket (known as type C), the most common in the world and grounded socket (known as type E or F) Non-grounded outlets are more common than grounded ones. If your appliances plug has a different shape, you may need a plug adapter.

  • clothing

    Armenia is a relatively conservative, traditional society and definitely a male-dominated one. People dress here in a whole range of styles and fashions. You can see women wearing miniskirts, jeans, even shorts. Middle-aged women tend to dress more conservatively and more formally than younger women. The capital -Yerevan is among the most liberal cities in Caucasus. You can go out on any given day of the week and see everyone dressed very well (European well). Skinny jeans or short dresses with high heels are normal, even for just walking around in the evenings. In general the dress code mainly depends on two different aspects: the weather and appropriateness. There is no strict special dress code in Armenia when visiting churches. There are some common rules posted in every church (for example women should enter the church with head covered by scarf especially during holy mess, they cannot enter church in strapless dress). It is advisable to dress appropriate while in a church.

  • language

    Armenia is an ethnically homogeneous country, where Armenian is the official language and is spoken as a first language by the overwhelming majority of the Republic of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Armenian alphabet has its own script and is of interest to linguists for its distinctive phonological developments within Indo-European family of languages. Before creation of Armenian alphabet in 405-406 AD by the ancient linguist and cleric Mesrop Mashtots, Armenians used Aramaic and Greek characters. Foreign language schools existed from the 2nd century BC on. The vast majority of the population fluently speaks Russian. English is increasingly gaining prominence, followed by French, German and several oriental languages. Signs and advertising posters in public places are mainly trilingual – Armenian, Russian and English. Road signs almost everywhere are bilingual – Armenian and English.

  • cuisine

    Armenia surprises its visitors with warm reception and hospitality. Armenian cuisine is as ancient as the history of Armenia, a combination of different tastes and aromas. It is one of the most impressive things guests are offered to explore in our country. The cuisine reflects the history and geography where Armenians have lived as well as incorporating outside influences. The cuisine also reflects the traditional crops and animals grown and raised in areas populated by Armenians. The main characteristic of Armenian cuisine is that the flavor of the food relies on the quality and freshness of the ingredients rather than on excessive use of spices. It was estimated that for food preparation Armenian culinary specialists use about 300 types of wild grasses and flowers which are used as spices and even as main dishes. The reason for that can be a favorable climate and a variety of flora supplying the oriental cuisine, particularly Armenian, with various ether-bearing plants. Armenian fruits and vegetables are special. One should definitely try them and will never forget the taste of Armenian apricot, peach, grapes, pomegranate, etc. The pomegranate, with its symbolic association with fertility, represents that nation. The apricot is the national fruit. Armenian bread is very tasty as well. There is a wide range of different types of bread, starting from black and white till lavash (a soft, thin flatbread) and matnaqash. The natural taste and flavor of delicious and unique culinary heritage of Armenian cuisine can be tasted in Armenian restaurants. The service in all restaurants and cafes in Armenia is at a high level. You could always ask for the menu in English.

  • people

    Armenians are one of the oldest nations in the world. Their history goes back to thousands of years ago; they are the contemporaries of such powerful nations as the Babylonians and the Hittite. Today both Babylonians and Hittites are just a history while Armenians are writing and creating theirs. Armenian people have come a long way, they are an ethnic group native to Armenian Highlands. It is probably impossible to accurately pinpoint the predominant ethnic make-up of the people. The "pure" Armenian is considered Aryan in features with blonde hair and blue eyes, though one would be hard-pressed to find more than a small percentage with these pure features within the population. Leaving behind the curtain the fact that some sources provide evidence of the first people in Armenia due to the early Paleolithic era, the first pre-Armenian tribes (Urartians, Hourrites, Luvians etc.) which inhabited Armenian uplands, were mentioned in the chronicles of the 4th – 3rd millennia BC. Of the approximately 3 million people who live in Armenia, over 95% are ethnic Armenians. In addition, Russians, Yezidis, Kurds, Greeks, and Assyrians are among the minorities who call Armenia home. Two third of the residents live in urban areas, while about one third are in rural communities. The bustling and rapidly developing capital, Yerevan is home to slightly over a million people. The average life expectancy in Armenia is about 72 years. Overall, the population of Armenians worldwide is estimated to be 10 million, many comprising Diaspora communities living outside modern Armenia. The largest Armenian populations today exist in Russia, the US, France, Georgia, Iran, Germany, Ukraine, Lebanon, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Poland, Brazil and Syria. 40,000 to 70,000 Armenians still live in Turkey (mostly in and around Istanbul). With the exceptions of Iran and the former Soviet states, the present-day Armenian diaspora was formed mainly as a result of the Armenian Genocide. Armenians call themselves “Hay”, pronounced Hye, and their homeland “Hayastan.”. The word has traditionally been linked to the name of the legendary founder of the Armenian nation, Haik, which is also a popular Armenian name. Armenian people in various periods have acquired different characteristic features, yet one thing that’s peculiar to every Armenian no matter in what age they lived is the love for their motherland and their Christian faith. It’s that love and their faith that have kept them united, and it’s due to those features that they have steadily walked and entered the 21st century.

  • health & safety

    Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 103 or 911 and ask for an ambulance. As with any travel experience, eat well, but do not overeat. If you are dining with Armenians, they will feed you until you cannot eat anymore. The food is generally safe, even food from the roadside khorovats stands. There is little to worry about where food safety in Armenia is concerned. There are people at the airport who ask tourists if they need a taxi and claim that it is an airport taxi which costs two or three times more than a regular taxi. You can find a taxi which costs 2,000-3,000 AMD. If you want to know whether a car is a real taxi, look at the number plate: if it is yellow or the first are 3 digit numbers (NOT 2 digit), then it is a taxi you want to take a ride in! While you are traveling in Armenia, you are subject to its laws even if you are a non-national. Crime against foreigners is relatively rare in Armenia. Yerevan, by any comparative measure, is a very safe city for its size (about 1 million people), and safer than most cities in a foreign country. Nevertheless, it is always prudent not to make yourself a target. In general, people are very kind and helpful. In summer you will see handful of people spending their evening at open-area cafes or strolling till midnight as well as many children playing outdoors.

  • climate

    Armenia is often described as a sunny country. The climate is highland continental, dry with four seasons. Temperatures can vary considerably between seasons. Summers are dry and sunny, lasting from June to middle of September. The temperature varies between 22°C and 36°C (72 and 97°F), though in the Ararat valley temperatures can climb to 40°C. Evening breezes blowing down the mountains provide a welcome refreshing and cooling effect. Springs are short, while falls are long. Autumns are known for their vibrant and colorful foliage. Winters can be quite cold with plenty of snow, with temperatures ranging between -15°C and -5°C (14°F and 23°F), and colder in the Ararat Valley (-30°C) and the Lake Arpi area (-46°C). Winter sports enthusiasts enjoy skiing down the hills of Tsakhkadzor, located thirty minutes outside Yerevan. Lake Sevan nestled up in the Armenian highlands, is the second largest lake in the world relative to its altitude, 1,900m (6,234ft) above sea level. The mountain peaks are covered with perennial snow, while their slopes are lined by alpine meadows.

  • time zone

    Armenia Time (AMT) is 4 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The official time zone is currently GMT/UTC + 4h.

  • beverage

    Among the soft drinks Armenian mineral water is known for its healing specialty and is recommended by doctors. This spring water is originating from the depth of earth and flowing from ancient mountains. One of the favorite drinks among Armenians is tahn which is the combination of water, salt and matsun. Later is a popular fermented milk product among the Armenians, produced in Armenia mainly from sheep milk. Matsun is a product highly respected by the Armenians; it is beneficial for health and slaking thirst well. Tahn can be ether still or carbonated. Armenian coffee is sometimes referred as Turkish. It is strong black coffee, finely ground, sometimes sweet. The unique herbal ingredients came from high mountains and wild forests by the help of well-trained harvesters and made your delicious final cup of tea. For over 7000 years, the tradition of gathering and blending wild herbs and flowers has been an integral part of the daily lives of the Armenian people. The chosen teas are an integral part of a tasty and healthful diet in the ancient Armenian and represents Armenian food beverage culture. Alcoholic: The alcoholic drink with the longest history in Armenia is wine. One of the oldest wineries in the world was discovered in Armenia. Many wines are made with Armenian grape varietals not being grown anywhere else in the world. The reputation of the Armenian brandy is spread around the world: it is loved and known in Europe, America and many other countries. Visitors are welcomed to fully absorb the flavor of the Armenian brandy and enjoy its unique aroma directly at the factory. Oghi is an Armenian alcoholic beverage usually distilled from fruit. Traditional Armenian oghi made from distilling the mulberry, which is grown all over Armenia, especially in the highlands and Artsakh. Armenian produced beer is considered to be one of the favorite drinks of Armenian men. The preparation of beer in Armenia was known from ancient times.

  • transportation

    Public transportation is very good and inexpensive in Armenia. The following types of public transportation are available in Armenia: metro, bus, minibus, taxi, etc. Metro: Yerevan subway system has one line stretching from the north to the Railroad Station in the southern edge of the city. There are 10 stations. The fare is 100 AMD (0.2 Euro / 0.25 USD) per ride. Bus routes cross the city in major directions but it can be tough to get to more remote sites outside of populated areas. The fare is 100 AMD per ride. Minibus routes, these 12/16 seat small busses connect virtually every point to every other point in the city. The fare per ride is 100 AMD. They run until late night. Taxi Service: Probably this is the most inexpensive taxi system in the world. Average ride costs 1000-1200 AMD (2-2.4 Euro / 2.5-3 USD) per ride within the central part of the city, not including the tip! You can find plenty of taxis in the city, from well-loved Ladas to late-model Benzes. Trains in Armenia are Soviet-style and a little slow as a means of moving around the country. Trains can be taken up to Gyumri and from there on to Alaverdi and Georgia, or they can be taken up to Lake Sevan all the way to the far side. Plane: Domestic flights are not an option as there are only two working airports and no internal flights in this small country. Intermittent service to Karabakh has been available in the past and scheduled flights from Yerevan to Stepanakert may start up again - if passengers can be assured that Azerbaijan will not shoot them down. Note that unlike many countries in Eastern Europe, Armenian minibuses and buses do not sell tickets beforehand and, in fact, do not issue tickets at all. You simply pay the driver at any point during the trip (though some will collect at the beginning). Exact change is never required, but a 20,000 note for a 1,000 dram ride might present a problem. Tips are unheard of on public transportation except taxis.

ADVENTURE is all you need!