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Incredible Facts About the Armenian Civilization

 

The current population of Armenia is about 3 million people and the current population of the Armenian diaspora is about 10 million people. The current state of Armenia occupies 29,743 sq km, making the United States 331 times bigger than Armenia. Although small in population and geographical size today, the Armenian civilization goes back thousands of years and it’s time more people know about its significant history and culture.

 

It is difficult for me to tell my own personal Armenian family history because I do not really know it. My grandparents, who I call Nene and Dede, were both born and raised in Greece and they too have never visited Armenia before. My Dede once told me that our family is from Harput, which is a city in Turkey originally home to indigenous Armenians. Even my Dede does not know much about our Armenian family history because of the tragedies that occurred in 1915. To keep it brief, historians estimate between 800,000 to 1.5 million indigenous Armenians living in Turkey (at the time referred to as the Ottoman Empire) were systematically murdered and forced out of their homelands. This obviously affected my family and even to this day, we as descendants live with genocidal trauma in some way or another.

 

The information I am providing is not the history of my Armenian family, but rather the history of the about 10 million Armenians alive today. 

 

1. Armenia is among 6 ancient countries that have survived thousands of years. In fact, its capital city, Yerevan, is 29 years older than Rome.

 

2. Armenia was first mentioned in the Behistun manuscript in 520 BC.

 

3 It was the first country to adopt Christianity as its primary religion and the first church was built there. The church is called Echmiadzn Cathedral. It is also believed that Jesus Christ’s apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew preached in Armenia.

 

4. The Armenian alphabet is included in what scientists believe to be one of the three most advanced alphabets in the world. It was created between 405-406 AD by Mesrop Mashtots. 

 

5. Although located in modern-day Turkey today, Mount Ararat is considered a sacred mountain to Armenians, because it was central to pre-Christian Armenian mythology. Many Armenians also believe that Noah’s ark landed on the mountain after the flood. In the Bible, it even states, “And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventh day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4). 

 

6. One of the most recognizable symbols of Armenia is the pomegranate, they have symbolized fertility and good fortune for years. 

 

7. Ten of the world’s oldest objects were found in Armenia: leather shoe-5,500 years old, sky observatory- 7,500 years old, human brain-6,000 years old, wagons-4,000 years old,  skirt- 5,900 years old, wine-making facility- 6,100 years old,  metal smelting foundry- 6,000 years old, stone-age tools-325,000 years old, depictions of agriculture-7,500 years old, and war horses- 4,500 years old. 

 

8. Yarkhushta is an Armenian folk and martial dance that is associated with the historical region of Sassoun in Western Armenia. This dance is most often performed before war and the soldiers would use the dance to symbolize unity and to lift their spirits. 

 

9. The national costume is called the “Taraz”. Byzantine, Roman, Arabic, Persian, and Russian influence over the years helped shape the style of what the national costume is today. The colors of the Taraz have philosophical reasoning as well. According to Armenian philosopher Grigor Tatvatsi, the color black in the garment represented the earth, the color white represented water, the color red represented air, and the color yellow represented flames. Later on, purple represented wisdom, red represented bravery, blue represented heavenly justice, and white represented prudence. 

 

10. Contrary to popular belief, gingerbread was actually created by an Armenian monk. Commonly believed to have been invented in Germany in the 16th century, it was actually invented by Gregory Markar in the year 991. So the next time you decorate a gingerbread house, you can share this fun fact with your friends!