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Home :: History of Armenia
History of Armenia
Lake Van The Island of Aghtamar Church of the Holy Cross(915-921) Mount Artos Western Armenia
Who are Armenians? Are they Europeans' ancestors, who, as a result of formation and migration of peoples, found themselves in Asia? Or are they Asians who have enjoyed the fruits of European and world civilization since ancient times? Who are Armenians? They are people who settled in a vast territory stretching from the rivers Tigris and Euphrates to the Arax and Kur (with a total area of 400 000 km2, an average altitude of 1800 m, an absolute altitude of 5165 m (Mount Ararat), populated one million years ago) and christened the Armenian Highland in their honor. They have built cities, given birth to brave soldiers, inspired miniature-painters and poets who have raised their voices to God through poetry, unsurpassed ploughmen whose fame has spread from Iran to California and beyond, singers who have sung mournful songs in the rocky fields of the highland and scientists who have uncovered the secrets of the matter.

Armenian people are one of the oldest among modern civilized nations. According to historic memory (Gilgamesh, the Holy Bible), Noah saved human life from the Deluge landing on Mount Ararat. The chronicler Khorenatsi thinks of Armenians as Japeth's, Noah's third son's, descendants. Togarmah, Noah's great-grandson, is, according to him, the forefather of Armenians, while 'Hay', (a name Armenians call themselves), Hayq or Hayastan (names Armenians call their country) stem from Hayk, Togarmah's son. Foreigners have called the nation 'Armenians' and the country  'Armenia' after Hayk's great-grandson Aram.

Hecateos's world map (about 550-480BC) where the name Armenia is mentioned
According to Movses Khorenatsi, father of Armenian history, and the Assyrian historian Mar Abas Katina, unwilling to obey the tyrant Bel after the unsuccessful attempt to erect the Tower of Babel, Hayk took his sons and migrated from Babylon to the north. His poetic soul perhaps marveled at the majestic view of Ararat making him pitch his tent in this rocky country. All Armenians have inherited his romanticism. The titan Bel attacked Hayk at the head of a gigantic army. 4500 years ago (2492 BC) in Hark, a province in his country Ararad, Hayk confronted Bel with his army, killed him, and liberated his land. He achieved the right to liberty and autonomy for his tribe and his country. He founded the Armenian State of Van (Biaynili), which gave birth to the rest of the kingdoms (Araratian-Urartian, Yervandouni, Artashesian, Arshakouni, Bagratouni, etc.).

The Armenian Highland, also called an Island of Mountains by the famous geologist K. Ritter, is one of the oldest cradles of world civilization and the country of origin of Indo-Europeans, as revealed by the latest research. Indians and Iranians (Arian tribes) migrated from their homeland to seek new settlements and pastures. They lived in well-organized communities and were good warriors, who had steel weapons, horses and chariots. This must have accounted for Arians' success following their departure from their native land and resettlement all over the world.

Since times immemorial, the Armenian people have been known as the direct descendants of this tribe that lived in the Armenian Highland. Throughout millennia they have lived and created in their homeland. Armenians consolidated into a nation at a very early stage. They knew what statehood and highly advanced culture were. In this beautiful and cruel highland Armenians have created magnificent monuments, cities, traditions, folk culture and worshipped Ar or Ara, their first mighty god of the sun. Armenians are said to have been called 'aregaknatenchik,' that is the one who longs for the sun.

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