I accidentally watched “The Promise”, a worth-watching film that sheds light on the human and painful side of the history of Armenia, the country that gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991; it was a sprawling kingdom but suffered both from Ottoman tyranny. The Ottomans attempted to exterminate the Armenian people while Iran had cut off its lands, besides stirring up unrest and disputes from its neighbour Azerbaijan. As a result, the area of present-day Armenia is only a third of what it was in the past. Therefore, I have undertaken a lot of research and inquiry into the history and culture of that beautiful country, and I thought to share with you what I have learned through research and my discussions with academic colleagues from Armenia.
Armenia is a landlocked country with sea borders; most of its terrain is mountainous and is bordered by Turkey to the west, Azerbaijan to the east, Georgia to the north, and Iran to the south. It has a population of three million and one hundred thousand people, and the number of Armenians outside Armenia is estimated at eight million. Armenia is famous for its distinctive fruits, the most important of which are pomegranates, grapes, berries, figs and apricots, as there are dozens of varieties of them. It also has a traditional type of bread called “lavash”, and another type of baked goods called “Gata”. Armenian cuisine is close in many of its varieties to Arab cuisine. There are many monuments and rich in many works of art. It is famous for its art called “Khachkar”, which is carving in stone, in which Armenians have excelled since the fourth century AD.
The antiques and art goods market in the capital, Yerevan, is considered one of the most famous markets in the world. Armenia also has a rich musical heritage and has special musical instruments that are not found elsewhere, and some are made of apricot wood. Lake Sevan is located in Armenia, which is the highest and largest freshwater lake in the world, as it rises 2000 meters above sea level, and constitutes 5% of the area of Armenia (according to an article by Christine Abi Azar).
Nature and height above sea level are among the essential factors that provide a distinct character for this country. Its people are distinguished by their cohesion, cooperation and welcome to the guests of Armenia. It is worth a visit, especially for nature enthusiasts and wild activities. Many of its cities are considered great attractions, such as the capital Yerevan and Jermuk and Dilijan. There are ongoing efforts by the state to raise the quality of education, improve the quality of life in general, and benefit from natural resources such as gold, copper, zinc and aluminium. It is worth noting that there are strong ties between the Armenian people and the Arab peoples, and many international forums and organizations have joined.
*The author is an associate professor based in the UK and he is a public speaker, author and researcher in the areas of Organisational Learning and Quality Management. Dr Garad can be contacted at Garad@alaagarad.com