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Info4Migrants
ARMENIA
Country profile
Project number: UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615
AREA 29743km2
3,02mln
POPULATION
GDP per capita
DRAM
Language  ARMENIAN
CURRENCY
$3037
2 Country profile ARMENIA
MAIN INFORMATION
Location: Geographically the Republic of Armenia is a
country located in Southwest Asia, but politically ...
Today Armenia maintains good diplomatic relations with almost all countries around the
world, except for the neighbouring ...
Flag
The Armenian flag is a horizontal tricolour of red, blue,
and orange. The red symbolizes the mountains in Arme-
nia a...
FACTS ABOUT ARMENIA
Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and the largest city of Armenia. It
is situated along the Hrazdan River...
Geography
Armenia is a country in South Caucasus without a sea
coast. Most of the country’s territory is mountains, with
f...
FACTS ABOUT ARMENIA
Religion
Armenia is the first country in the world that adopted
Christianity as a state religion in ye...
9
Etchmiadzin Cathedral
The Etchmiadzin Cathedral is located in the city of Vagharshapat
and is considered the mother chur...
ARMENIAN CUISINE
Armenian cuisine has been influenced by
Turkish, Georgian and Persian cuisine. The
country has two typica...
ARMENIAN DRINKS
Soft drinks
Armenian coffee – strong black coffee,
sometimes sweet, Kefir – a fermented milk
drink, Kvas -...
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
1 January: New Year
Usually the holiday starts
from 31.12 and lasts for a
whole week. Holiday sweets
are p...
The national identity of the Armenians is formed by their culture. The deep his-
toric roots of Armenian culture and the g...
Marriage
Armenians are monogamous. In some cases, marriages are arranged. Marriages with
relatives are avoided (until seve...
ПОЛЕЗНА ИНФОРМАЦИЯ
Personal space
When people speak, they usually stay close
to each other, which might make foreigners
co...
USEFUL ADVICE
If you have been invited to somebody’s
home for a dinner, it is advisable to go a lit-
tle later, but not mo...
17
BUSINESS ETIQUETTE
Dress Code
Business dress code is formal and in west-
ern style. A dark suit and a tie is suitable
f...
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Country profile Armenia (in english)

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The document was created for the Project Info4migrants. Project number: UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615

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Country profile Armenia (in english)

  1. 1. Info4Migrants ARMENIA Country profile Project number: UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615
  2. 2. AREA 29743km2 3,02mln POPULATION GDP per capita DRAM Language  ARMENIAN CURRENCY $3037 2 Country profile ARMENIA
  3. 3. MAIN INFORMATION Location: Geographically the Republic of Armenia is a country located in Southwest Asia, but politically and cul- turally it is accepted as part of Europe. It borders Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north. It also shares borders with Azerbaijan to the east and Iran to the south. Capital: Yerevan Climate: continental. Summers are dry and sunny and last from June until mid-September. Winters are very cold with lots of snow. Ethnicity: Ethnic Armenians make up 97.9% of the popu- lation. Larger minorities are: Yazidis – 1.3% and Russians - 0.5%, in addition, there are Assyrians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Kurds, Georgians and Belarusians. There are also smaller communities of Vlachs and others. Religion: Christianity; about 93% of Armenian Christians belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. Government: presidential republic. Flag Coat of arms ARMENIA Yerevan TURKEY IRAN GEORGIA AZERBAIJAN 3 Country profile ARMENIA
  4. 4. Today Armenia maintains good diplomatic relations with almost all countries around the world, except for the neighbouring countries Azerbaijan and Turkey. The tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia began during the last years of the existence of the Soviet Union, and in addition the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the 1990s further complicated the re- lations between the two countries. Till this very day the borders between the two are closed, and there is no resolution to this conflict, despite the numerous attempts of inter- national organization to cooperate in holding peaceful negotiations. Turkey has also been in conflict with Armenia for many years, because of its refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Although Turkey was among the first countries to rec- ognize Armenia after its separation from the Soviet Union in 1991, the relations between the two countries remain tense and they do not maintain official diplomatic relations. During the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Turkey illegally closed its border with Armenia and the blockade remains active till today, despite the strong pressure from Turkish business- men who are interested in the Armenian market opportunities. In October 2009 Armenia and Turkey sign a protocol for establishing mutual diplomatic recognition and opening of the borders, but until today it has not been rectified by the parliament of the two states. Due to its isolation from Turkey and Azerbaijan, Armenia holds very close relations with the other neighbours, especially Iran. Due to its historic past of being part of the former Soviet Union, Armenia continues maintaining good relations with Russia. Armenia is a member of the Council of Europe and maintains friendly relations with the European Union, especially with France and Greece. In 2011, Armenia negotiated with the EU to be- come its associate partner. If it meets the standard criteria, Armenia will have the right to become an EU member, although for the time being Brussels does not officially have such plans. The Armenian government plans on becoming part of the union between Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and possibly to become a member of the future Eurasian Union. Armenia is included in the European Neighbourhood Policy, aiming to strengthen the rela- tions between the EU and the neighbouring countries. Moreover, Armenia is a member of nearly 40 international organizations, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, NATO partnership for peace program, etc. FOREIGN RELATIONS 44 Country profile ARMENIA
  5. 5. Flag The Armenian flag is a horizontal tricolour of red, blue, and orange. The red symbolizes the mountains in Arme- nia and the difficult struggle for survival of the Arme- nian people, as well as the struggle for preserving their independence, freedom and Christian faith. The blue is the symbol of Armenia’s desire to live under a pure and peaceful blue sky. The orange is the symbol of the cre- ativity and the industriousness of the Armenians. FACTS ABOUT ARMENIA Alphabet During c. 404 – 406 AD, a former clergyman from the Armenian royal court – Mesrop Mashtots rediscovers rediscovered and newly adoptedadapts the old Arme- nian alphabet, which had stopped being usedhad not been used after accepting Christianity was accepted in Armenia in 301. The hypothesis for the modeling of that the Armenian alphabet to awas modelled after a foreign alphabet diddoes not hold in the face of the discoveries made by the Armenian professor and scientist Paris Her- ouni, who provedes that the Armenian written language hads its own history much before 5th century AD. Government Armenia is a presidential republic. The President of Ar- menia is being elected for a period of 5 years and can- not be reelectedre-elected for a more than two man- dates consecutively. The National Assembly of Armenia is the legislative body, which consists of 131 members, elected for a 4 year term. 55 Country profile ARMENIA
  6. 6. FACTS ABOUT ARMENIA Yerevan Yerevan is the capital and the largest city of Armenia. It is situated along the Hrazdan River. Archeological re- search shows that the in the 8th century BC, the for- tress of Erebuni stood on the place of today’s Yerevan. Since then, the place has a strategic importance for the caravan routes between Europe and India. It holds has held the name Yerevan at least since the 7th cen- tury, when it wasis Armenia’s capital during the Persian reign. Today Yerevan is the leading industrial, cultural and scientific center of the Caucasian region. It is also the heart of a vast railway network and a major com- mercial center for agricultural products. Other leading sectors include metal extraction, metal working, chemi- cal, textile and food industry. In ancient times The Armenian state emerged in the 6th century BC, on the territory of Asia Minor, where its predecessors were: the kingdom of Urartu, Hittite Empire, Phrygia and a number of other small states and confedera- tions like Hayasa. Armenia wasis the first state to adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. The last Ar- menian kingdom encompasseds lands, today situated in southeastern Turkey. Persia, Byzantium, the Arabs, the Mongols and the Turks dominated the territory until the 19th century. In the end of In late 1920, Tur- key invadeds Western Armenia, while the Red Army occupieds Eastern Armenia, which later becameomes a part of the Soviet Union. After its collapse, the country regaineds its independence in 1991. 66 Country profile ARMENIA
  7. 7. Geography Armenia is a country in South Caucasus without a sea coast. Most of the country’s territory is mountains, with forests and fast flowing rivers. About half of Armenia’s territory is located 2000 meters above the sea level, and just 3% is at an altitude of under 650 meters. The Arme- nian Plateau is located inIn the southwestern part of the country, and its is located the Armenian Plateau whose slopes descend to the southwest towards river Aras, on the border with Turkey. On the territory of the plateau rise sSeveral mountain ranges and extinct volcanoes rise on the plateau territory. Most of the country’s pop- ulation lives in the western and northwestern regions, where the two largest cities are located – Yerevan and Gyumri. Economy Before the country’s independence in 1991, the econ- omy has mainly relied on heavy industry – chemical, manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, machines and synthetic rubber – all industries requiring the import of materials. Like the economies of many countries which have been a part of the former Soviet Union, after the falling of the Union, the economy of the country has suffered from the consequences of central planning and loss of traditional markets. The government managed to lead a mass sale economic re- form, which lead to lower levels of inflation and stable growth. The new sectors include jewelry-making, in- formation and communication technologies, and even tourism. FACTS ABOUT ARMENIA 77 Country profile ARMENIA
  8. 8. FACTS ABOUT ARMENIA Religion Armenia is the first country in the world that adopted Christianity as a state religion in year 301. Today the main religion of the country is Christianity, and the roots of the Armenian Church date back to the first centu- ry. According to legend, it was founded by two of the twelve apostles of Jesus – Thaddaeus and Bartholomew who preached Christianity in Armenia between years 40 and 60. It is due to its founders that the church in Arme- nia is called today the Armenian Apostolic Church, and 93% of the Christians in the country belong to it. Armenian diaspora The national identity of the Armenians is mainly based on their culture and by far exceeds the borders of the country. Approximately 8 million Armenians (compared to the population, which is 3 million) live outside the country. The largest number of Armenians live in Russia, France, Iran, the USA and Georgia. Despite the fact that they do not live in Armenia, they have preserved their identity, culture and tradition. Food independency 72% of the territory of Armenia is agricultural land, but most of it is used as pastures and only 16% for agricul- ture. The most common crops are grain crops (wheat and rye), potatoes, vegetables, and fruits such as pome- granate, apricots, and peaches. Many vineyards are cultivated on the lower slopes of the mountains. 88 Country profile ARMENIA
  9. 9. 9 Etchmiadzin Cathedral The Etchmiadzin Cathedral is located in the city of Vagharshapat and is considered the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church. According to most scholars, it is the first cathedral built in ancient Armenia and is considered the oldest cathedral in the world. The original church was built in the early fourth centu- ry between 301 and 303, according to tradition by Armenia’s patron saint Gregory the Illuminator, following the adoption of Christianity as a state religion by KingTiridates III. It replaced a pre-existing temple, symbolizing the conversion from paganism to Christianity. The Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the main spiritual center of most Armenians worldwide, and has been an important location in Armenia not only religiously, but also politically, econom- ically and culturally. The cathedral was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000. Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin Sanahin Monastery is an Armenian monastery founded in the 10th century in the Lori Province. Its name literally translates “this one is older than that one”, being built earlier than the neighbouring Haghpat Monastery. The two villages and their monasteries are similar in many ways. They lie in plain view of each other on a dissected plateau formation separated by a deep “crack” formed by a small river flowing into the Debed river. Hagh- pat Monastery was founded by Queen Khosrovanuysh, wife of the Bagratid king Ashot III. It was built not on a peak, but halfway up a hillside on a site chosen to afford protection and concealment from prying eyes, and also in response to a kind of monastic humility. Unlike the other monasteries, in the country, those in the Northern part of Armenia are not isolated, and usually small villages emerged around them. Haghpat Monastery, together with Sanahin Monastery, is surrounded by numerous villages. Today both monasteries are part of the historic complex, and placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. UNIQUE PLACES IN ARMENIA 9 Country profile ARMENIA
  10. 10. ARMENIAN CUISINE Armenian cuisine has been influenced by Turkish, Georgian and Persian cuisine. The country has two typical national dishes: Harissa – a type of porridge from wheat and meat (lamb, beef or chicken), which are boiled for a long period of time. Usually the dish is prepared for certain holidays in a single cooking pot and served to all guests. Khash – in the past it was a dish for work- ers, prepared by beef or lamb meat, which are boiled slowly in water for the whole night. It was served for breakfast with crushed dried bread “lavash”, with scram- bled garlic and vodka or other alcoholic drink. It is usually eaten in winter. There is a vegetarian version where the meat is substituted with lentil, and the garlic with braised onion. A typical Armenian “everyday” dish is “dz- hash” – a type of stew with meat or vegeta- bles and spices. It is usually served on rice or bulgur pilaf, sometimes accompanied by bread, pickles or fresh vegetables. Stuffed vegetables are usually served on holidays – tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, aubergine, onion, potatoes, as well as cabbage rolls with vine or cabbage leaves or beat leaves. Typically, the stuffing consists of rice or bulgur, mixed with ground meat, season- ings, and sometimes dried fruits and nuts. Byoreks are pies made with phyllo pastry and stuffed with cheese or spinach. They are a popular snack and fast food, often served as appetizer. “Su byorek” lit. “water byorek” is a lasagna-style dish with sheets of phyllo pastry briefly boiled in a large pan before being spread with fillings. “Msov byorek” is a bread roll stuffed with ground meat, and it is similar to Russian pirozhki. Grilling (barbecue) is very popular in Arme- nia. The typical dish is called “Khorovats”, which consists of chunks of meat grilled on a skewer (with or without the bones). “Gharsi khorovats” is similar to the donner kebab – it is grilled meat rolled up in “la- vash”. It takes its name from the city of Kars (Armenian: Ghars) in eastern Turkey, close to the Armenian border. The pomegranate symbolizes fertility and is considered a sym- bol of the nation, and apricots are consid- ered the national fruit. 10 Country profile ARMENIA
  11. 11. ARMENIAN DRINKS Soft drinks Armenian coffee – strong black coffee, sometimes sweet, Kefir – a fermented milk drink, Kvas - sweet, fermented bread drink; usually additionally flavoured with fruits like strawberries or raisins, or with herbs – most often mint. Than – yogurt drink (still or carbonated), Tarkhun soda – tarra- gon-flavored green soda. Oghi Oghi is an Armenian vodka, usually pre- pared from fruits. “Artsakh” is a famous brand of mulberry vodka, produced in Na- gorno-Karabakh. In the Armenian Diaspora, oghi refers to the aniseed-flavored distilled alcoholic drink like ouzo. Wine The alcoholic drink with the longest history in Armenia is wine. The oldest winery in the world was discovered in Armenia. Histor- ically, wineries in Armenia were concen- trated along the Ararat valley. Of particular note was the district of Koghtn, current Nakhichevan area. Today, Armenian wineries are concentrated in the Areni region (district of Vayots Dzor). Armenian wine is mostly made from local varietals, such as Areni, Lalvari, Kakhet, etc., though some wineries mix in better known European varietals such as Chardonnay and Cabernet. Wine-making took a downward plunge in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, but in recent years it is un- dergoing a revival. An annual wine festival, held in Areni, is popular with the locals and features wines from official wineries as well as homemade hooch of varying quality. Armenian wines are predominantly red and sweet, semi-sweet, or dry. In addition to grapes, wines can be made with other fruits, notably pomegranate, apricot and quince. Brandy Armenian brandy, known locally as konyak is perhaps Armenia’s most popular export- ed alcoholic drink. It has a long production history, even being served at the Yalta Con- ference. The most popular brands are Ararat and Noy. It is claimed that the Armenian konyak was Churchill’s most favourite drink. 11 Country profile ARMENIA
  12. 12. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 1 January: New Year Usually the holiday starts from 31.12 and lasts for a whole week. Holiday sweets are prepared and people exchange gifts and greetings, and their homes are open to all guests. 28 January: Army Day The Armenian army was founded in 1992. 8 March: International Women’s Day All women in Armenia re- ceive gifts and flowers from their family, friends and colleagues. 7 April: The Day of Materni- ty and Beauty Mothers receive flowers and gifts from their children. The period between March 8 and April 7 is considered a month of the woman. 24 April: Genocide Remem- brance Day Each year on the 24th of April the Armenians around the world remember the 1.5 million victims of the 1915 Genocide. On this day, tens of thousands of people in Armenia go on a pilgrimage to Tsitsernakaberd in re- membrance of the victims. 9 May: Victory and Peace Day The end of World War II is commemorated and vic- tims who died in the war are remembered. Each year a parade of the war veterans is carried out at the Republic Square. 28 May: Republic Day In 1918, after half a millenni- um of foreign reign, Armenia gained its independence. 5 July: Constitution Day The Constitution of the Republic of Armenia was adopted by a national refer- endum on 5 July 1995. 21 September: Independence Day On this date in 1991, after holding a national refer- endum, Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union. 7 December: Day of mem- ory of the victims of the earthquake in 1988 On this very day a strong earthquake lead to the death of thousands of Arme- nians and destroyed a large part of the architecture of the country. 12 Country profile ARMENIA
  13. 13. The national identity of the Armenians is formed by their culture. The deep his- toric roots of Armenian culture and the geographic dispersion of its contributors bring richness and diversity, which can hardly be reached within the boundaries of a single country, but at the same time helps preserve its wholeness. Armenians have a strong sense of national identity, which sometimes contradicts the modern concept of a nation – the country. The Armenian identity is strongly influenced by historic events, such as the adoption of Christianity as a state religion in 301, the creation of the Armenian alphabet in 406, and the violence exerted on the Arme- nians during different historic periods. THE PEOPLE IN ARMENIA Meeting and greeting A meeting between two men: the most common greeting between two men in Armenia is a hand shake. If two men are close friends, the hand shake can be followed by a kiss on both cheeks. In most cases the hand shake is enough. A meeting between two wom- en: in Armenia, women usually greet each other with a hug and a kiss on both cheeks. Even if this is your first meeting, most Armenian women would kiss you on the cheek as a greeting. A meeting between a man and a woman: in village regions women usually wait for the man to extend their hand first. When the meeting is between relatives, the tra- ditional greeting is a light hug and a kiss on the cheek. 13 Country profile ARMENIA
  14. 14. Marriage Armenians are monogamous. In some cases, marriages are arranged. Marriages with relatives are avoided (until seventh generation). During the years of the Soviet Union, due to the lack of housing in the country, most young couples lived with the husband’s family. Nowadays most spouses live separately in their own household. Labour distribution There has always been a gender division in Armenia. For example, the household has always been the woman’s responsibility. The oldest woman used to be the head of the family and ran the entire household. Women and men have worked outside their home, but even then all household responsibilities have been left to the woman. Today women and men have equal access to all economic sectors. Despite this, only five of 57 banks in the country are managed by women. Regarding employment, most of the women work on equal terms with the men, and women receive equal salary for the same work as men. Despite this, more women hold low-paid positions and the average salary for women in Armenia remains two thirds of men’s salary. Women work mainly in the education and health sectors. In the industrial sector, the percentage of hired women is 40-42%. 63.9% of unemployed are women. Most of the people dealing with subsistence farming are also women. Comparative status of men and women During the first Armenian republic (1918–1920), women had the same rights to vote and be elected as men. Four women entered the parliament, and Diana Abgar was sent as an ambassador to Japan. During the Soviet Union, despite the laws that guaranteed equal rights to men and women on all levels, it was difficult for women to participate in politics and high-level decision-making. In 1991, during the first democratic elections in Armenia, which had recently gained its independence, only 9 women out of 240 representatives entered the Parliament, and not a single woman took part in the parliamentary commit- tees. THE PEOPLE IN ARMENIA 1414 Country profile ARMENIA
  15. 15. ПОЛЕЗНА ИНФОРМАЦИЯ Personal space When people speak, they usually stay close to each other, which might make foreigners coming from western countries feel a little uncomfortable. When you speak with a colleague or a business partner, usually an arm’s length is acceptable, but when people speak to rela- tives or close friends, the distance is closer. The better two people know each other, the more likely it is that they will touch each other during the conversation. Men and women usually don’t demon- strate closeness with one another in public places, regardless of their relationship. In bigger cities, like Yerevan and Gyumri, the western style of communication is becom- ing more popular, and it is more common to have physical contact during conversa- tion. Do not be surprised if somebody taps you on the back during a conversation. This is an expression of admiration. Direct eye contact is preferred. Armenians are very direct and say what they think directly. This is part of their cul- ture, so do not be offended. Time management In most cases, events start with a 15-20-minute delay. But sometimes “just another five minutes” can become one hour. Transport is usually more regular, but if buses get full earlier, they leave immedi- ately, even before the scheduled departure time. To make sure you will not miss your trans- port, get to the bus station earlier, but do not be surprised if you have to wait. USEFUL INFORMATION 15 Country profile ARMENIA
  16. 16. USEFUL ADVICE If you have been invited to somebody’s home for a dinner, it is advisable to go a lit- tle later, but not more than 10-15 minutes. Dress formally and wear long trousers (even if it is hot outside). After you enter the home you might be asked at the door to take off your shoes. When you go inside, shake hands with ev- erybody present. When invited to visit, it is appropriate to bring a small present – some chocolates or foreign alcohol are a good choice. You can bring flowers for the housewife and candy for the children. Eating is relatively formal and follows the European etiquette – the knife is held in the right hand, and the fork in the left, the wrists are placed on the table. Avoid using your left hand during eat- ing and touching food with it, especially bread. If you have been invited to a restaurant, have in mind that some restaurants are intended only for men. There is no restriction for women to go in, but women would feel uncomfortable in such an environment. Tipping is not typical for Armenia, but if you are at an expensive restaurant, tips are appreciated. Leave what you feel is appropriate; 10% is considered a generous tip. In most cafeterias and restaurants or taxis, you can just round up the bill. Usually men let women go first when en- tering a room or getting onto a vehicle by opening the door for them. In addition, in public transportation it is customary to give place to elderly people. Avoid talking about topics related to Azer- baijan or the Armenian Genocide; conver- sations about the former Soviet Union are acceptable. A clenched fist with the thumb placed between the index and the middle finger is considered an insulting gesture. 1616 Country profile ARMENIA
  17. 17. 17 BUSINESS ETIQUETTE Dress Code Business dress code is formal and in west- ern style. A dark suit and a tie is suitable for the men, and a formal dark suit with a knee-length skirt is suitable for the women. Women in Armenia pay special attention to being well dressed. Casual daily clothes are not acceptable at business meetings. Titles It is traditional for the Armenian host to introduce you and not for you to introduce yourself. In Armenia, the title is mentioned first, then the family name and finally the first name. The title for “Mr.” is “Baron”, for “Mrs.” – “Deegeen”, and for “Miss” – “Oryort”. Gifts Appropriate gifts include pens and other office materials. It is always best to have the gifts wrapped. Gifts should not be opened immediately. Negotiations Building personal relationships is the basis of all meetings. When meeting Armenians, make arrange- ments in advance and be on time, although it is possible that the host will be late. It is acceptable to interrupt during conver- sations, so be patient and do not get of- fended. It is possible for the meeting to start with a conversation on a different topic. Avoid per- sonal questions and religion. Appropriate topics are food, sports, time and history. Armenians are generally friendly and com- municative. It is better to let them start and finish the conversation. It is acceptable to haggle, but not always desirable during negotiations. Armenians are very sensitive when they hear the answer “no”, so be tactful and give the information in a soft manner. Taking decisions does not usually happen immediately. Refrain from demonstrating strong emotions during ne 1717 Country profile ARMENIA
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