Armenia

History


Present day Armenia

Armenia, officially the Republic of Armenia, is a mountainous country in the  South Caucasus region of Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Located in West Asia on the  Armenian Highlands, it is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and Azerbaijan's exclave of Nakhchivan to the south.

Armenia is a unitary, multiparty, democratic nation-state and one of the oldest and most historic civilizations in the world with a rich cultural heritage, as well as the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion. Although Armenia is constitutionally a secular state, the Christian faith plays a major role in both its history and the identification of the Armenian people.

Culturally, historically, and politically, Armenia is considered to be part of Europe. However, its location in the southern Caucasus means that it can also be considered to be at the arbitrary border between Europe and Asia: in other words, a transcontinental nation.

Armenia is currently a member of more than 35 different international organizations including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, Asian Development Bank, the Commonwealth of Independent States, World Trade Organization and Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. It is a Partnership for Peace (PfP) member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and in a military alliance of CSTO. It is also an observer member of the Eurasian Economic Community, La Francophonie, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Armenia is also active in the international sports community with full membership in the Union of European Football Associations and International Ice Hockey Federation.


Historical Armenia



The Armenian civilization had its beginnings nearly 3000 years ago. Armenia lies in the highlands surrounding the Biblical mountains of  Ararat. The original Armenian name for the country was  Hayk, later Hayastan, translated as the land of Hayk. The legendary forefather of Armenians, Hayk, famous for his battles with Babylonian ruler Bel, most likely was one of the tribal leaders.

The name Armenia was given to the country by the surrounding states, and it is traditionally derived from Armenak or  Aram (the great-grandson of Hayk's great-grandson, and another leader who is, according to Armenian tradition, the ancestor of all Armenians). Generally, historical Armenia is famous for its eminent kingdoms, which are:

Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great (140 – 55 BC) was King of Armenia under whom the country became, for a short time, the strongest state to Rome's east. He was a member of the  Artaxiad Royal House. Under his reign, the Armenian kingdom expanded beyond its traditional boundaries, allowing Tigranes to claim the title "Great King", and involving Armenia in many battles against opponents such as the Parthian and Seleucid empires, and the Roman Republic.

At its height, his empire extended from the  Pontic Alps (in modern north-eastern Turkey) to  Mesopotamia, and from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. A series of victories led him to assume the Achaemenid title of "King of Kings", which even the Parthian kings did not assume, appearing on coins struck after 85 BC. Hence, the phrase "sea to sea Armenia" is a popular expression used by Armenians to refer to the kingdom of Tigranes, which extended from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.

Over the course of his conquests, Tigranes founded four cities that bore his name, including the capital of Tigranocerta.