Armenia was a regional empire with a rich culture in the years leading up to the 1st Century CE, at one period controlling all the land between the Black and Caspian Seas.
In 301, Armenia was the first state to formally adopt Christianity as its official state religion, twelve years before Rome. It also changed between various dynasties. But after Parthian (Iranian), Roman, Arab, Mongol and Persian occupation, Armenia had been substantially weakened. In 1454, the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Persia divided Armenia among themselves. (Source: Wikipedia)
At least three different forms of the Armenian language are in use today - Classical Armenian, or Grabar, the scholarly form of the language used to this day by the Armenian Church; Western Armenian, commonly found in American, European and Middle Eastern Diaspora communities; and Eastern Armenian, the official language of the Republic of Armenia and the spoken language of Armenians in Iran and Russia. Russian is widely known in Armenia as well, and English is increasingly gaining prominence, followed by French, German and several oriental languages.
From ancient times, Armenians have cherished their artistic traditions, which reflect a unique culture and landscape. Aspects of everyday life are expressed in the most artistic fashion, in needlework, embellishments, carvings and design.
Armenia is often referred to as an open air museum. Tourists find over 4,000 historical monuments throughout Armenia, covering various periods of the country's history from prehistoric to Hellenistic times, and from the early to medieval Christian era. The Armenians created their masterpieces during rare periods of peace and relative prosperity over the centuries. Within Yerevan alone there are more than 40 fine arts museums and galleries.
Numerous monuments and masterpieces of the Ancient era and Middle Ages can be found throughout the country. Tourism in Armenia is rooted in the country's historical landmarks and natural attractions such as the water resorts of Lake Sevan, the hot springs of Arzni and Jermuk, the forests of Dilijan, Aghveran, Tsaghkadzor, Bjurakan and Gugark, and the mountainous natural caves and cliffs of the Southeast region. The 5165 meter Mount Ararat, geographically located in Turkey, is a national symbol of Armenia and is visible from much of the Southwest region. (Source: MOFA Armenia)