Ar-Mania — My adventures in Armenia (part 1)

Welcome to the first post of “Ar-mania: My adventures in Armenia.”

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I’m spending the summer in Armenia as part of a fellowship with Kiva.org. I’ll be blogging about micro-finance on the official Kiva website, so this blog is more about my personal travel experiences and observations in Armenia.

[Full disclosure: I’ve always thought bloggers were self-absorbed egotists, but this seemed like the easiest way to keep family and friends updated.]

When I found out in late April that I would be assigned to Armenia for the summer, I had heard of the country, but frankly knew nothing about it…. so here is a quick primer on my temporary home.

I quickly learned that Armenia has had a turbulent and sometimes tragic history, but through it all, Armenians have maintained a strong cultural identity. Armenia has been an independent country since 1991 when the Soviet Union broke apart.

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About 3 million people live in Armenia, and they speak Armenian. It’s a unique language with its own alphabet. About 8 million people of Armenian heritage live outside Armenia. They’re known as the “diaspora,” and they have a big impact on Armenia even though they don’t live here.

Armenia is a relatively small geographically – about the size of Maryland. It’s a landlocked country, bordered by Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Iran.

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Some famous Armenians include:

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Cher (who was born Cherylin Sarkissian).

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Financier Kirk Kerkorian

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Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian

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And (unfortunately) Kim Kardashian

Here’s a hint – if someone’s last name ends in “ian” or “yan,” there’s a good chance they’re Armenian.

I was surprised to learn that Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion – way back in 301 AD.

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Armenia is also world famous for its apricots, and I’m lucky because they’re just coming into season.

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Ok. Ok. Enough random facts about Armenia…. This blog is about me in Armenia. Stay tuned for the next post where I navigate the local real estate market and look for an apartment.

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5 Responses to Ar-Mania — My adventures in Armenia (part 1)

  1. Look out for Noah’s Ark… supposedly landed on Mt Ararat.

  2. kathy says:

    Have a blast and be safe…..especially if you choose to climb any of those Armenian “mountains”….. xoxox

  3. Ar-mania. lol – you crack me up. Suspect the juxtaposition of Kim Kardashian (who she?) and the ‘apricots’ will bring a lot of stray googlers your way.

  4. Happy Miller says:

    My great-grandfather was Armenian (Eksergian), but I know little about the culture. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  5. Paylazun Kupelian says:

    I hope you enjoyed your stay, Armenia i s a great country and
    Yerevan is beautiful city,

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