Ah, Armenia. Home to the world’s oldest church and schools of keen chess players, this ancient country borders Europe and Asia. Armenia is also one of the places where you can send money with TransferGo.
To celebrate everything we love about Armenia, we thought it was high time to explore some interesting facts about this historic, culturally rich and fascinating country.
Here are 7 things you didn’t know about Armenia.
Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity
In Armenia, 97% of the population are Christians. It was also the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion after Gregory the Illuminator (Lusavorich) converted Armenia from paganism to Christianity in 301. The first church in the world was built in Armenia. Holy Etchmiadzin is now one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the world.
Armenia has its own alphabet
Here’s a fun fact… Armenia has its own alphabet. And it’s one of the most advanced alphabets in the world. Created in 405-406 AD by scholar and monk Mesrop Mashtots, the Mashtots’ alphabet is 36 letters long. It was originally designed to make the Holy Scriptures and liturgy more intelligible. Many Armenian locals are so proud of their alphabet that they have it framed and hanging in their living room.
Armenia dates way, way back
You already know that Armenia converted to Christianity in 301. So, you probably have a general idea that Armenia is a pretty ancient country. Well, the country’s rich, cultural heritage actually dates as far back as 12,000 BC. This puts Armenia as one of the 6 ancient countries to have survived thousands of years along with Iran, China, Greece, Egypt and Japan.
All public schools in Armenia teach chess
The game of chess has been gaining attention and popularity in Armenia since the 9th Century. Then between 1960 and 1969, an Armenian called Tigran Petrosyan became the 9th world chess champion. Since then, Armenian chess players have dominated many prestigious chess tournaments including the European Team Championship and Chess Olympics. In 2011, the game of chess was officially added to the school curriculum. Keep an eye out for future generations of famous Armenian chess players!
Ararat Mountain is the main symbol of Armenia
If you look at photos of the skyline of Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, you’ll often see Mount Ararat in the background. Comprising two extinct volcanoes, this mountain is significant to Armenian culture. And even though it’s no longer in Armenia’s current territory today (it’s actually on the eastern side of Turkey), Ararat is considered to be Armenia’s national symbol. It also appears in Armenia’s national blazon.
More Armenians live abroad than in Armenia
During World War I, the Ottoman empire committed a genocide killing approximately 1.5 million Armenians. During and since this time, millions of Armenians fled abroad for safety. Many found refuge in countries such as the USA, Italy, France and Lebanon. Today, approximately 3 million Armenians live in Armenia. Meanwhile, around 7 million Armenians live in other parts of the world.
Armenians have created many famous inventions
Many famous Armenians have created many famous inventions. And many of them we live with and use today. From colour television (Hovhannes (Ivan) Adamian) and ATM machines (Luther George Simjian) to the vast and complex industry of plastic surgery (Varazdat Kazanjian), Armenia has some very impressive inventions in its repertoire.
Do you have some fun facts of your own about Armenia? Share them with us on Instagram. We’ll reshare our favourites! Don’t forget to tag us at @transfergo.