fast facts about Armenia
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.
Archaeological 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.