Geographical Location of Armenia
Armenia is a landlocked country in Asia, located close to the Black and Caspian Seas. Armenia is located on the Armenian Highland, which, in addition to Armenia, includes parts of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran. Most of Armenia is made up of mountains, but the landscape is also characterized by lakes, deserts and forests. Armenia has a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The country experiences large fluctuations in temperature and rainfall due to the difference in altitude in different areas. Armenia is the smallest of the former Soviet republics by area. The country is prone to earthquakes that have caused a lot of destruction. The catastrophic earthquake of 1988 claimed the lives of thousands of people and left half a million Armenians homeless. Parts of Armenia were heavily polluted by industrial emissions during the Soviet era. Many of the former factories are now closed, but much of the country's arable land has been polluted and destroyed due to the overuse of toxic pesticides.
Brief History of Armenia
Armenia is often referred to as the first Christian country in the world as the country was one of the first in the world to introduce Christianity as the state religion in 301 AD. Armenia's central location in its region has resulted in many different nations conquering the area over the centuries. Armenia has been part of the Ottoman Empire since the early 16th century. By the end of the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire began to disintegrate. Inspired by European liberation movements, the Armenians began to demand independence. Fearing an Armenian uprising, the government in Istanbul decided in 1915 to deport the Armenians to Syria and Mesopotamia. Turkish troops carried out mass deportations and massacres of fleeing Armenians. It's called the Armenian Genocide. Between 300,000 and 1,500,000 Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, now Turkey, were killed. The incident is the subject of much controversy and discussion, especially between Turkey and Armenia. According to Turkey, these deaths were part of the suffering during the First World War, and not systematic killings. In 1920, Armenia was incorporated into the Soviet Union and was a partial republic until the country became independent in 1991. Since gaining independence, Armenia has been in conflict with Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The parties signed a truce in 1994, but in the fall of 2020, the conflict flared up again with violent clashes. The parties have since entered into a new ceasefire agreement.
Society and Politics of Armenia
After gaining independence and until 2018, Armenia had a semi-presidential system. In this system, the president has a lot of political power. The constitution was amended in 2008 to more evenly distribute power among political institutions. Now Armenia is considered a parliamentary republic. In this system, parliament has more power than in a semi-presidential government. The parliament is appointed through elections, and then the parliament chooses the president and the prime minister. Officially, Armenia is called a liberal democracy, but the policy in the country is characterized by a violation of democratic traditions. Several elections were criticized with allegations of electoral fraud. Corruption is widespread and the country's economy is plagued by organized crime run by gangs and mafia organizations. Despite this, Armenia is considered one of the most democratic countries of the former USSR. Like some former Soviet republics, Armenia has struggled with large numbers of emigration since independence due to poverty and poor living conditions. The country also has serious problems related to human trafficking, forced labor and child labor.
Economy and Trade of Armenia
Armenia is a middle-income country but has problems creating a well-functioning economy. Armenia has struggled to find alternative business routes to replace Soviet-era industry. Neighboring states Turkey and Azerbaijan have closed their borders with Armenia due to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. This worsened the economic situation, as it makes it difficult to trade with neighboring countries. In addition, the military costs associated with the conflict are high. A serious problem is high unemployment and poverty. About 30% of the country's inhabitants live below the poverty line. The Armenian economy is heavily dependent on income from the export of goods and remittances from Armenians working abroad. The country's imports exceed the country's exports, resulting in a trade deficit. Today, diamonds and metals make up the main export item of Armenia. Tourism is also a growing sector. Oil and gas are imported from Russia and Iran, and these countries are Armenia's most important trading partners.
Armenian Cuisine and Culinary Traditions of Armenia
Armenian cuisine is one of the cuisines of the world that have developed at the crossroads of civilizations with different cultural and religious traditions. Armenia itself is a Christian country, therefore it has no restrictions on the use of certain products in recipes. At the same time, most of the countries located in the same region as Armenia are Muslim and their cuisine is subject to Halal, which imposes certain restrictions on the cuisine of these countries. But, nevertheless, developing in its traditions, the Armenian cuisine borrowed a lot from its neighbors - the national cuisines of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Syria and many other countries of this region had a significant influence on the formation of the culinary traditions of Armenia. The development of Armenian cuisine was also influenced by Georgian cuisine, which can be seen in the similar names of Georgian and Armenian recipes. Armenian cuisine offers a wide variety of modern and traditional cooking recipes that can satisfy even the most demanding gourmet. Such dishes of Armenian cuisine as khash, bozbash, paneer, lamb kebab, fish kebab, pilaf, dolma, harisa, amich, basturma, kutap, mshosh, khashlama, gata, alani and many others are known not only in Armenia itself, but also popular far beyond its borders.