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Regular version of the site

Culture Café: Armenia

What do we know about Armenia? Are we familiar with its history and traditions? Are we aware of how big is Armenian diaspora and how many famous people are Armenian? Now we can answer to all these questions after attending our Culture Café dedicated to the country with one of the longest history and unbelievably breathtaking landscapes - Armenia.

We’re truly thankful to ESN students, who made our acquaintance with this wonderful country interesting and enjoyable: Silva and Vardi.

At the beginning, we talked about geographical location and immersed into Armenian history. We have discovered some entertaining facts about ancient history, for instance, the earliest attestation of name Armenia, and learnt about events happened to the country during Christianization, such as becoming the first nationto adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301 and creating an alphabet in 405. As you can see Christianity had significant influence on the country and became an integral part of it, so now Armenian Church exists independently of both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Furthermore, Armenian Church is an essential part of the world Christianity, the fact that Armenia is one of the six primary custodians of The Church of the Holy Sepulchre proves it. And it’s not the final stop in our historical journey! In the Middle Ages Armenia outlived frequent change of government and annexation, by the end of the 19th century some Eastern parts were incorporated in Russia. In the previous century Armenia fought for the independence and gained this objective in 1991. Also, we’d got an amazing opportunity to be notified about up-to-date situation, as their Armenian Velvet Revolution of 2018 had been mentioned.

After such a deep historical description, we moved on to one captivating activity. Certainly, we’re talking about true and false statements. Now we know that if someday we try to find national symbol of the country in Armenia, we won’t succeed in it, as Mountain Ararat is located in Turkey. Moreover, not so well-known facts as calling Yerevan a “pink city” and Armenian location of the longest non-stop double track cableway are not secrets for us anymore! We unconditionally doubted statement about prohibition to sit women with men and felt confused answering whether Armenia is the territory of lions inhabit. In addition, we were pleasantly surprised by finding out Armenia being the first country to produce wine and making chess as an obligatory subject in schools.

In the next part of our Culture Café we discussed Armenian language and tried to pronounce some of the words and even sounds. Let’s remind some of them: համակարգիչ - hamakargich(computer), շնորհակալություն - shnorakalutyun(thank you); and one for the bravest - կենդանաբանականայգի - kendanabanakan aygi(zoo).

The following part of our event was related to interesting facts about Armenia. Let’s review the most outstanding:

-Armenian diaspora exceeds the population of Armenia more than three times (Russia, the USA, France, Georgia, Ukraine, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Argentina, Syria);

-just look at the Armenian alphabet, it’s extraordinary;

-Armenia has its own Stonehenge - Zorats Karer, approximately 6000 BC;

-tasty intangible cultural heritage secured by UNESCO;

-pulpulak - public water fountain with fresh drinking water;

-Yerevan is older than Rome;

-and let’s talk about famous Armenians, perhaps, you didn’t even know that some of these people are from this fascinating country: famous composer Aram Khachaturyan, world-wide known singer Sher, talented artist Ivan Aivazovsky, all members of rock-group “System of a Down”and gorgeous Kardashian sisters.

Now let’s imagine you are going to spend a weekend in Armenia, what places do we recommend you to visit? First stop, of course, is Yerevan, here you need to see Republic Square and Erevan Cascade. One more essential place here is the Matenadaran, one of the largest repository of manuscripts in the world and the largest of Armenian manuscripts, where you can find the world’s largest and smallest books. And we can’t forget about April 24, the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, and Tsitsernakababerd, the Armenian Genocide memorial complex. If you want to be closer to nature, then you should definitely see such picturesque landscapes as: The Tatev Monastery&Wings of Tatev; Dilijan, which Armenians also call “Armenian Switzerland” (you can personally go there to make sure, that it’s true!); Lake Sevan and Khor Virap, where was built a church above the dungeon, which used to be a residence of Armenian Catholicos. We continue our excursion by visiting Garni, the only Greco-Roman colonnaded building in the former Soviet Union, and Geghard - medieval monastery, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you want to make your holidays good for your health as well, you should come to Tsaghkadzor - one of the most popular health and ski resorts in Armenia. Or maybe you want to make your life more mysterious… If your answer is yes, then Aragats Mountain is a perfect place for you. It’s the highest pick in Armenia and the most mysterious place there. 

Finally, the most delicious part of our Culture Café - Armenian cuisine. If you really hungry, eat dolma - super nourishing dish, which you can have with lavash - thin pancake-shaped bread. Or you can taste another popular and typical for the Armenian cuisine dish - khorovats. It’s a meat kind of food, which is made by grilling marinated lamb, pork, beef or chicken. Still hungry and want some more? Try super tasty pastirma - air-dried cured beef (whether you are interested, this dish takes plenty of time to be made, but it’s worth it). And cherry on the top: if you are a sweets lover, nazuk is perfect way to accomplish your lunch.

On that peaceful note, we ended up with visual discovering of Armenia and were glad to invite everyone to open up bright and various worlds of Armenian delicacies.

Our world is so great and large, unfortunately, we don’t have such an opportunity to fully explore it, but still we can’t miss any chance to make it as much as possible, to open more and more new doors, which lead to an ability of looking and thinking beyond any borders. We are good companions for you to broaden your mind, to discover new places, facts and people, to enjoy it together. We are looking forward to seeing you on our next Culture Café!

Author: Svetlana Dzhafarova

Proofread: Ekaterina Kravtcova