Armenian culture is a rich mixture of flavors, colors, plus outside influences and things that are uniquely Armenian. From the architecture to applied arts, performing arts to literature, culture in Armenia represents the history, lifestyle, aspirations, and beauty of this unique country. Especially influential to Armenia’s culture are the pagan empires that rules vast swaths of land in the centuries before Christ and Armenia’s long history as a Christian nation (Armenia was the first nation to officially adopt Christianity, in 301 CE). Armenia also has its own unique alphabet, which has helped promote literature and a common identity since it came into use in 405 CE.
Located on the crossroads between east and west, Armenia has long been a strategic point and a meeting ground for large empires. Romans, Iranians, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, and Mongols all passed through Armenia, both destroying some things and adding their own influences. Trade also helped Armenia grow, and brought new ideas and techniques that Armenians used to make something new and different. Because of these many influences, Armenian culture has elements in common with nearby cultures, and many things that seem similar.
But Armenia itself has also been one of those strong empires, even back several centuries before Christ, when the Kingdom of Urartu ruled the mountains of Anatolia and the South Caucasus. With the adoption of Christianity in 301 CE and the creation of the Armenian alphabet in 405 CE, Armenian culture received two strong unifying factors. Christianity and the alphabet can be found throughout Armenian culture (especially in literature and khachkars), and are central parts of Armenian identity. The landscape was also quite influential, and the rocky mountains can be seen in much of Armenian culture.
Learning about the painting, applied arts, theater, music, khachkars and architecture that make up culture in Armenia is an important part of any trip.