Armenia is one of the ancient countries in the world with great culture and history. Indeed, it is too difficult to introduce all about Armenia in brief, however we’ll try to outline the most important aspects of the country.
Armenians trace their roots back to the early part of the 1st millennium BC. The first Armenian kingdom- Urartu - was founded in the 9th century BC. For long period, Armenia was an independent nation, located primarily in the eastern regions of present-day Turkey. In the beginning of the 2nd century BC a united Armenian kingdom came into being. The state of the Artashesid reached the peak of its might during the reign of Tigran the Great II, who ruled from 95 to 55 BC. He governed a realm that extended from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. Armenia substantially expanded its boundaries. But Tigran was overwhelmed by the Romans and he was defeated by them in 55 B.C The dynasty phased out in the 1st century BC and Armenia became the part of the Roman Empire. .
Trdat I became the founder of the Arshakunid dynasty in the 1st century AD. Important events took place while the dynasty was in power. Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity as a state religion. The work of the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew in Armenia after Jesus' crucifixion set the stage for the official conversion of Armenia in 301 AD to Christianity. Traditionally, it was Saint Gregory the Illuminator whose prayers healed the king Trdat III. Thus the pagan king and the country became officially Christian. .
The Armenian alphabet was created in the early 400's by an Armenian cleric and scholar Mesrop Mashtots. The Golden Age of Armenian literature followed it. Many literary works, including the Bible, were translated into the Armenian language at that time.
In 451 in the Battle of Avarair Armenians under Vartan Mamikonian defended their religion from the Persian. According to an eye-witness historian Yeghishe there were neither winners, nor losers in this battle.
Arabs conquered Armenia in the 600's. In 884, an independent Armenian kingdom under the reign of Bagratuny dynasty was established in the northern part of the region. Ashot I became the 1st king of the new dynasty. Having existed for 160 years, the state of Bagratunis left a visible trace in the history of Armenian people. In 1045 the state was taken by Byzantians and the last Bagratuni king Gagik II was dethroned and escorted to Byzantium.
From the second half of the 12th century Armenia yielded to devastating raids of successive foreign conquerors: The Seljuk tribes, the Mongols, the hordes of Tamerlane. Seljuk Turks conquered Armenia in the mid-1000's, but Armenians established a new state in Cilikia on the Mediterranean cost in the 11th century. It lasted for 300 years. It was a nation-state away from its homeland. The founder was Prince Rouben. The Cilician Armenian state reached its peak by the end of the 12th century during the reign of Levon II, who was proclaimed king and recognized not only by a number of European courts, but by Byzantium itself. In 1375 the kingdom ceased to exist. This last Armenian kingdom fell to Mameluke invaders in 1375.
By 1514, the Ottoman Empire had gained control of Armenia. The Ottomans ruled western Armenia until their defeat in World War I in 1918. Persians gained control of eastern Armenia in 1639 and ruled it until 1828, when it was annexed by Russia.
Armenia became a battleground between the Ottoman Empire and Russia during World War I. The Empire feared the Armenians would aid the Russians. In 1915 there was Great Genocide of Armenians. The Ottoman government deported Armenians living in western Armenia into the deserts of what is now Syria. About 1 million Armenians died from lack of water and starvation or were killed by Ottoman soldiers. Many survivors fled to Russian Armenia, where, in 1918, Armenian First Republic was set up. Conflicts resurfaced between the Armenian republic and the Ottoman Empire. Armenia's leaders reluctantly turned to Communist Russia for protection. In December 1920, eastern Armenia became a Soviet Republic. The Ottomans kept the rest of Armenia.
More than 70 years Armenia was one of the 15 Soviet Republics in the USSR. The last president of the USSR , Mikhail Gorbachev, introduced a series of measures to promote reform of the government. In 1990, non-Communists took over the control of Armenia's government. Armenia declared itself independent of the USSR in September , 1991, and Levon Ter-Petrossian was elected as first president of the republic. Armenia then joined the Commonwealth of Independent States .
Today Armenia is a thriving Republic. Its economy is growing again with tourism, information technologies, and other fields of business.
Visiting Armenia you will enjoy many historical and cultural sights, and it will leave you with unforgettable impressions of an ancient yet modern country.