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Geography

he Republic of Armenia lies in a triangular section of the Transcaucasus, bordered by Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Georgia. With an area of 29,800 square kilometers (11,490 square miles), the country is just slightly larger than the state of Maryland. 

The capital city, Yerevan, lies on the Hrazdan River, and is home to some 1.2 million people. The next three largest cities are Gyumri(pop. 121,000), Vanadzor (pop. 74,000) and Abovian (pop. 54,000). Another important city is Echmiadzin, located some 20 miles west of Yerevan, which is the seat of the patriarchate of the Armenian Apostolic Church. 

The greatest part of Armenia is mountainous (about 300 feet above sea level), while one-third is pastureland. Forest and woodland cover 12 percent of the republic, arid land some 18 percent, and permanent crops cover 3 percent. 

There are more than 200 streams and rivers in Armenia, none navigable, however, because of their steep descents and rapid currents. The Armenian countryside also boasts some 100 small, but picturesque lakes. One of the largest mountain lakes in the world, Lake Sevan, covers an area of 1,400 square kilometers and is about 650 feet above sea level. 

Population

thnic Armenians comprise nearly 96 percent of the republicís 3.7 million population, with the remainder being Kurds, Yezidis, Russians, Jews, Assyrians, and Greeks. The majority (68%) lives in urban areas. One third of the total population lives in the capital city of Yerevan. There are 27 cities, 31 towns, and 921 villages with the population density ranging from 17 to 330 per sq. kilometer. Armeniaís administrative structure consists of 10 districts and the city of Yerevan which has a district status. 
 
Demographic Composition of the Population
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Total Population 3,754,000 100%
Urban 2,533,000 67.5%
Rural 1,221,000 32.5%
Female  1,937,000 51.5%
Male  1,817,000 48.5%
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By Age Group    
0-16  1,221,000 32.5%
17-59 2,108,000 56.2%
60 and up  425,000  11.3%

In the beginning of the 1990s, there was a spontaneous migration of Armenians. Due to the lack of the official statistics, the numbers are based on the estimates. About 500,000 people (12-13% of the total population) have left Armenia since 1993. The most intensive migration was to the central and southern regions of the Russian Federation, as well as to various CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] countries. At least 40, 000 people left for the United States and other industrialized countries. Estimated 60% of the total eight million Armenians lives outside Armenia in 60 countries, with one million in each the U.S. and Russia. Significant Armenian communities are in Georgia, France, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Argentina, and Canada. 

Minorities in Armenia enjoy equal rights and full freedom. The Government has adopted policies encouraging the minorities to develop their cultures and education. Minorities in Armenia have always been free from any persecution on their religious beliefs, languages, traditions and customs. These freedoms are enshrined in the Declaration on Independence, which guarantees the "free and equal development of its citizens, regardless of national origin, race or creed." Next to the Russians, the largest minority are Yezidis, who live mainly in the rural areas of Armenia. They adhere to a distinct religion which bears traces of Iranian Zoroastrinism, Christianity and Islam. Though the language spoken by Yezidis is Kurdish, they tend to regard themselves as distinct from Kurds. The Kurdish community in Armenia is also very active. There is a Kurdological Department of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Yerevan State University and a Kurdish Writers Union of Armenia. The Kurdish paper Ria Taza (New Way) has been publishing since 1930, and there are daily radio broadcasts in Kurdish. Today, after seven decades under Soviet rule, many Jews are finally coming forward to assert their Jewish identity. The Jewish community in Armenia dates back to the first century A.D., when Tigran the Great resettled some 10,000 Jews in Armenia following his retreat from Palestine. The most recent wave arrived during the World War II, as Armenia offered a safe haven for those driven away from the Nazi-occupied parts of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Recently, a cultural center and a Sunday school were opened to provide a place to teach the history of Judaism and Hebrew. Almost two hundred students, half of which are adults, are now enrolled in the school. 

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Political Structure - Continue >
Courtesy of
Armenian Embassy Washington DC
Web site: www.armeniaemb.org
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Updated 30 August 1999 ..
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