Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, located in the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, have been border neighbors for centuries. The region is part of the ancient Silk Road trade route and is a strategically important area coveted by countless conquerors over time. Many things unite, but many also distinguish these three Caucasus countries. All three became independent in 1991 after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Armenia is considered the first state to convert to Christianity. The spread of religion began as early as 301 with dozens of monasteries, which are still the most interesting tourist destinations in the country in the rugged landscape of the Lesser Caucasus. Right near the capital, Yerevan, rises Mount Ararat, known from Noah’s Ark, the spiritual homeland of the Armenians, which currently belongs to Turkey. Ararat is a symbol of the times of the greatness of Armenia, but also of the history of its suffering when the Ottoman Turkish superpower had conquered the western part of the country. There, the Ottomans carried out more than 1.5 million Armenian genocides in the aftermath of World War I. Built of local tuff stone, Yerevan with its boulevards, parks and summer open-air cafés is a relaxed and cozy city of millions. Just outside the city is the “Independent Church” of Armenia, the “Vatican”, the Cathedral of Ežmiadzin. Many radio listeners remember the Soviet-era fun program “Radio Yerevan”. The poor state lives off agriculture and subsidies sent by the large Armenian population living abroad. Ingredients for the Ararat brandy can be found in the fertile wine region surrounding Yerevan.
Armenia. According to CountryAAH, the total population in Armenia is 2,963,254 people in 2020. The political opposition launched a boycott of Parliament’s work in February after the regime refused to debate a referendum on the confidence of President Robert Kotjarjan. The Constitutional Court had proposed a referendum, since Kotjarjan was considered to have won the presidential election in 2003 through electoral fraud.
In March, the Justice Party and the National Unity Party began demonstrations to force Kotjarjan from power, but the protests then weakened as the police hit hard on the protesters. However, the boycott of parliament continued.
In May, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev warned that his country was ready to go back to war with Armenia. The statement came on the tenth anniversary of the ceasefire between the two countries that closed in 1994, when Azerbaijan had lost the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave to Armenia. The Azerbaijani president said he was trying to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict, but said his army was prepared to “liberate” the area. Although the presidents of both countries met for negotiations in September, the peace process seemed to be at a standstill.
During the year, the regime announced a plan to tackle widespread poverty. Armenia. has in recent years carried out privatizations and market reforms and has had an annual economic growth of about 10%. Despite the significant reduction in poverty, approximately 40% of the population was estimated to live below the poverty line at the beginning of the year.
The territory of the Republic of Armenia lies in the subtropics, but the considerable differences in altitude – the Aragaz (4090 meters) and the valley of the Macaw (around 380 meters), for example, are only around 80 kilometers apart – and the fragmented landscape result in different local areas Climates. On the one hand, the nearby seas have a balancing effect, on the other hand, the high mountains in the area encourage extreme fluctuations. The high peaks of the Caucasus counteract severe cold spells from the north. In the valleys and lowlands, the climate is continental, with temperatures in summer usually above 30 ° C at midday, somewhat cooler in the mountains and subtropical and very dry on the border with Iran.