1. Chess is a compulsory subject in schools.
In Armenian schools all students have to take chess as a compulsory subject and there are even exams for it!
2. Armenia was the first country which adopted Christianity as a state religion.
Christianity was adopted in Armenia in 301 AD as a state religion. Today, 97% of the population are Christians and Armenia has one of the most beautiful churches in the world.
3. Armenia is one of the only mono ethnic countries in the world.
97% of the people living in Armenia are Armenians and the remaining small percentage is made up of different ethnic minorities such as the Yezidis, Russians, Ukranians, Kurds, and more.
4. The first church in the world was built in Armenia.
Holy Etchimiadzin was the first state church built in the world back in the early 4th century. This place is also the headquarter of all the churches in Armenia and it’s one of the most visited pilgrimage site in the world.
5. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed during the Genocide.
The genocide refers to the mass killings of Armenians that began under Ottoman rule in 1915. On the 24th of April in 2015 the 100th year anniversary of the genocide was marked. There is also a Genocide museum in Yerevan. The genocide happened during and after the First World War where more than 1.5million Armenians were brutally killed without any mercy by the enemy. The genocide happened in 3 phases, the first was when all the men were being called out to join the army and then killed (so that the rest of the population will not have any males to protect them), then next was the killing of all women, elderly and children, and the last was the intellectuals.
6. Armenia is one of the oldest wine producing country in the world.
Armenia is one of the oldest country that produces wine in the world. It’s attributed to its blessed location of being on the fertile valleys of Mt Ararat where high quality grapes could be grown.
7. Armenians bake their lavash underground in a tonir.
A tonir basically refers to an underground earth oven. Armenians love to eat lavash which is a thin layer of flat chewy bread that’s made from flour, salt and water and baked in a tonir. Lavash can be kept for 1 year without turning bad. So the local women usually bake the lavash in bulk and then store them to eat slowly for the next few months. Armenians cannot imagine having their meals without the bread! (Even if they’re eating rice, they need to eat bread with it too!).
8. The entire country worships Mt Ararat which is also the national symbol of Armenia.
Mt Ararat protected Armenia from a super strong earthquake! They also believe that the peak of Mt Ararat was where Noah’s ark was found. But sadly, Mt Ararat is not even within the territory of Armenia at the moment.
9. The apricot is one of the symbols of Armenia.
The flag on the right in the photo below belongs to Armenia and the orange colour of the flag actually symbolises the apricot! That’s how significant apricots are to Armenia! And when you walk through the markets, you’ll find vendors selling apricots of all sort from dried apricot, fresh apricot, apricot flavoured wine, apricot juice and anything else that you can think of!
10. Yerevan is also known as the “pink city”.
Yerevan is the most beautiful “pink city’ that you have ever seen,the buildings are all made of naturally coloured volcanic rocks of various shades of pink, hence giving her the name “pink city”. Visitors of the Armenian capital can enjoy walking the city streets and see many historical and cultural sights. Quite a number of cozy parks and public gardens accentuate 106 various colors and shades of tufa stone, the main construction material used in Yerevan.
11. There’s a ‘stork village’ here in Armenia!
On the way to the Noravank Church there is a village with a whole row of long wooden poles lined up neatly along the road and a huge stork’s nest on the top of each pole! It is so amazing! These storks migrate to warm places every year before the winter arrives and returns when it’s spring! In spring some of the storks arrive back home to their nest. It is such a cute sight! Also, the nests are so huge that some other smaller birds such as sparrows make their own little nest out of the huge stork’s nest!