Culture of Armenia

 Opera, Erevan Armenian culture is a rich mixture of flavors, colors, plus outside influences and things that are uniquely Armenian. From the architecture to applied arts, performing arts to literature, culture in Armenia represents the history, lifestyle, aspirations, and beauty of this unique country. Especially influential to Armenia’s culture are the pagan empires that rules vast swaths of land in the centuries before Christ and Armenia’s long history as a Christian nation (Armenia was the first nation to officially adopt Christianity, in 301 CE). Armenia also has its own unique alphabet, which has helped promote literature and a common identity since it came into use in 405 CE.

Located on the crossroads between east and west, Armenia has long been a strategic point and a meeting ground for large empires. Romans, Iranians, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, and Mongols all passed through Armenia, both destroying some things and adding their own influences. Trade also helped Armenia grow, and brought new ideas and techniques that Armenians used to make something new and different. Because of these many influences, Armenian culture has elements in common with nearby cultures, and many things that seem similar.

But Armenia itself has also been one of those strong empires, even back several centuries before Christ, when the Kingdom of Urartu ruled the mountains of Anatolia and the South Caucasus. With the adoption of Christianity in 301 CE and the creation of the Armenian alphabet in 405 CE, Armenian culture received two strong unifying factors. Christianity and the alphabet can be found throughout Armenian culture (especially in literature and khachkars), and are central parts of Armenian identity. The landscape was also quite influential, and the rocky mountains can be seen in much of Armenian culture.

Learning about the painting, applied arts, theater, music, khachkars and architecture that make up culture in Armenia is an important part of any trip.

Architecture

“Ayastan – karastan” is Armenian for “ Armenia - the stone country”. The mountainous landscape of the country defined the lines of its architecture. Powerfully and monumentally, like the mountains surrounding them, stand the monuments of medieval architecture. Read more...

Khachkars

Each culture possesses a certain original element which becomes a symbol of the entire national culture. In Armenia such symbol is “khachkar”, the so-called crosses-stones, the monuments of Armenia which are not found anywhere in the world. The word “khachkar” is formed by two Armenian roots: “khach” (cross) and "kar" (stone). Read more...

Applied Arts

Traditionally, weaving, carpet weaving, pottery, lacemaking, jewelry making, household utensils were and still are the basic forms household occupations. Read more...

Painting, Sculpture

You can see the first specimens of national painting on the architectural monuments of Echmiadzin, antique Garni and other temples, including the ones from Urartu period. Read more...

Literature

Just as the alphabet and writing were invented the first literature monuments in Armenian language started to appear. They are dated the 5th – 7th centuries. The most prominent are the historical works by Movses Khorenatsi. Read more...

Theatre

The art of theater on the territory of Armenia began long before the Christian age. It was introduced by the founders of this art form – ancient Greeks - during Hellenistic epoch when the territory of Armenian uplands was occupied by Great Armenia with the capital in Tigranakert. Read more...

Museums

The State History Museum, the Museum of History of the city of Yerevan, the State Picture Gallery, the Modern Art Museum... Read more...

Music

Armenian music is like no other. It has its special melodic pattern and rich sounding. This originality is reached due to the use of original Armenian instruments which have survived from the early Middle Ages – pander and bambir, the violin prototypes; the strings – tavikh and knar; the wind instruments –reed pipe, zurn, avagpog; percussions - drums. Read more...

Folklore

Armenian folklore is extremely rich and various. The ancient myths about the gods dated Hellenistic epoch are considered its basis. Read more...