About Armenia

General

Armenia is situated at a cultural, historical, and religious intersection and located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, in the southern Transcaucasus. The country spans 29,743 square kilometers (11,490 square miles, about the size of Belgium or Maryland) of mountainous terrain centered around the Ararat Valley, the heart of the Armenian nation since biblical times. Ancient geographers called the Armenian Highlands the "Island of Mountains" or the "Rooftop of Asia Minor." In fact, the average altitude of the country is over a mile high, at about 1800 meters above sea level. Presently, the country is landlocked and has no navigable waterways, in contrast to Historic Armenia, which at its height under King Tigran the Great, stretched from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and was more than ten times the current size of the present day Republic.

       

 Armenia's landscapes offer boundless beauty. Seven main landscape types are represented across the different altitudinal zones of Armenia. Across these desert, semi desert, dry steppe, steppe, woodland, sub alpine and alpine zones is geography as diverse as high mountain peaks, fertile valleys, picturesque land formations, basalt columns, rock sculptures, and waterfalls. More than 200 rivers and streams traverse Armenia, with steep falls, rapids and swift currents. Armenia has 5 scenic canyons. In addition, there are over 200 therapeutic mineral springs, differing in composition and temperature.


Environment

Armenia has established a Ministry of Nature Protection and introduced taxes for air and water pollution and solid waste disposal, whose revenues are used for environmental protection activities.

Diaspora

Armenia has a relatively large diaspora (8 million by some estimates, greatly exceeding the 3 million population of Armenia itself), with communities existing across the globe. The largest Armenian communities outside of Armenia can be found in Russia, France, Iran, the United States, Georgia, Syria, Lebanon, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Poland and Ukraine. 40,000 to 70,000 Armenians still live in Turkey.

      

Culture

The culture of Armenia encompasses many elements that are based on the geography, literature, architectrure, dance and music of the people. The culture is similar to and yet distinct from many of the bordering countries like Russia, Georgia and Iran as well as Mediterranean nations such as Greece and Cyprus . Armenian culture has strong influences from both its Eastern neighbors, as well as an underlying influence from Europe to the West.

Armenian music is a mix of indigenous folk music, perhaps best-represented by Djivan Gasparyan `s well-known duduk music, as well as light pop, and extensive Christian music.

Instruments like the duduk, the dhol, the zurna, and the kanun are commonly found in Armenian folk music. Artists such as Sayat - Nova are famous due to their influence in the development of Armenian folk music.

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