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Tuesday 24th October
Armenia Facts
The highest point in Armenia is Mount Aragats (4090 m). Aragats is a dormant volcano.

Mount Ararat, geographically in Turkey, forms the backdrop to Yerevan and is one of Armenia's national symbols.

Mount Ararat is the place where it is said Noah's Ark came to rest.

Lake Sevan, in the highlands of Armenia, is one of the world's largest lakes.

There is a very large underground lake below Armenia's Ararat Valley.

Caves in Armenia include the Magili Cavern in the Noravank Gorge which is one and a half kilometres deep.

Armenia's Ararat Valley has been inhabited since the Stone Age and is one of the world's oldest settled regions.

Wheat is thought to have been cultivated in Armenia between twelve and fifteen thousand years ago.

Zorats Karer (or K'arahunj: k'ar - stone, hunj - henge) is a structure, which may be older than the UK's Stonehenge. It is possible that the builders of K'arahunj had contact with the megalithic cultures of Atlantic Europe.

Petroglyphs near Zorats Karer show that early inhabitants had knowledge of astronomy, maybe as early as the fourth millennium BC.

Armenia is said to be one of the first centres of metallurgy.

The Bronze Age city of Metsamor, in Armenia, was home to over fifty thousand people.

The study of astronomy in Armenia dates back to the time of the early city of Metsamor.

Cuneiform writing (a form of picture writing) discovered in Armenia shows that civilisation developed at a very early time.

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, was founded nearly 2,800 years ago and is one of the oldest cities in the world.

The name of the capital city of Yerevan is derived from "Erebuni" an ancient settlement dated around 782 BC.

A fortress of ancient Erebuni can be seen on a hill in the south east of Yerevan.

Christianity was adopted in 301 AD as the state religion. Armenia is said to be the first country in the world to make Christianity a state religion.

The Holy Apostolic Church of Armenia is named after the Apostles, Thaddeus and Bartholomew who are said to have preached in Armenia.

Echmiatsin is a holy place for Armenians as it was the site of King Tiridates III's conversion to Christianity.

Gregory the Illuminator, who converted King Tiridates III to Christianity, is the patron saint of Armenia.

Between the late eleventh century and late fourteenth century a number of Armenians founded the Cilician Kingdom of Lesser Armenia.

In the 1450s Armenia was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.

During the First World War years an estimated six hundred thousand to one and a half million Armenians were killed, or deported from Anatolia to present-day Syria.

In 1922 Armenia became part of the USSR, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (Members of the former USSR were Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Estonia - from WW2, Latvia - from WW2, Lithuania - from WW2 and Moldova - from WW2).

The Soviet Union annexed Zangazur to Armenia separating the Naxcivan territory from the rest of Azerbaijan.

In 1924 the USSR created the Autonomous Province of Nagorno-Karabakh - with a mainly Armenian population - within Azerbaijan.

At the end of the 1980s Armenians campaigned for the unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. Conflict started in 1989 and continued for five years. In 1994 a ceasefire was signed followed by an uneasy truce.

In 1988 many thousands of people were killed in an earthquake which struck over forty percent of Armenia; thousands of families lost their homes.

At the end of 1991 the USSR was dissolved and Armenia became independent joining the Commonwealth of Independent States (a federation of former Soviet Union republics).

In 1999 gunmen killed Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian and Parliamentary Speaker Karen Demirchian along with other government officials in the Armenian parliament.

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