ARMENIAN Facts & Figures

Size: 11,484 square miles

Population: 3,262,200.00

Capital: Yerevan

Currency: Dram

Weather / Climate:

The climate in Armenia is markedly continental. Summers are dry and sunny, lasting from June to mid-September. The temperature fluctuates between 22 and 36 degrees Celsius (72 and 97 °F). However, the low humidity level mitigates the effect of high temperatures. Evening breezes blowing down the mountains provide a welcome refreshing and cooling effect. Springs are short, while falls are long. Autumns are known for their vibrant and colorful foliage.

Winters are quite cold with plenty of snow, with temperatures ranging between -10 and -5 °C (14 and 23 °F). Winter sports enthusiasts enjoy skiing down the hills of Tsakhkadzor, located thirty minutes outside Yerevan. Lake Sevan, nestled up in the Armenian highlands, is the second largest lake in the world relative to its altitude, at 1,900 metres (6,234 ft) above sea level.

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ARMENIAN languages

Armenian is the only official language even though Russian is widely used, especially in education,[89] and could be considered as de facto "second language". 94% of adult Armenians consider it important that their children learn Russian.

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Ethnic Armenians make up 97.9% of the population. Yazidis make up 1.3%, and Russians 0.5%. Other minorities include Assyrians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Kurds, Georgians, and Belarusians. There are also smaller communities of Vlachs, Mordvins, Ossetians, Udis, and Tats. Minorities of Poles and Caucasus Germans also exist though they are heavily Russified.[87]

During the Soviet era, Azerbaijanis were historically the second largest population in the country (forming about 2.5% in 1989).[88] However, due to the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh virtually all of them emigrated from Armenia to Azerbaijan. Conversely, Armenia received a large influx of Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan, thus giving Armenia a more homogeneous character.

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Armenian cuisine includes the foods and cooking techniques of the Armenian people, the Armenian diaspora and traditional Armenian foods and dishes. The cuisine reflects the history and geography where Armenians have lived as well as incorporating outside influences. The cuisine also reflects the traditional crops and animals grown and raised in areas populated by Armenians.

The preparation of meat, fish, and vegetable dishes in an Armenian kitchen requires stuffing, frothing, and pureeing. Lamb, eggplant, mayonnaise, yoghurt, and bread (lavash) are basic features of Armenian cuisine. Armenians use cracked wheat (burghul) in preference to the maize and rice popular among its Caucasian neighbors (Georgia and Azerbaijan).

Armenian cuisine distinguishes itself from other regional cuisines in the following ways:

- The flavor of the food relies on the quality and freshness of the ingredients rather than on spices.

- The extensive use of fruits and nuts in dishes. Of primary use are: dried apricots, fresh quince, fresh apples, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts (the latter mostly in Cilicia).

- The use of pickles and pickled vegetables in foods.

- The use of fresh herbs either as spices or as accompaniments.

- The extensive use of stuffed items. In addition to grape leaves, Armenians also stuff cabbage leaves, Swiss chard leaves, eggplants, zucchini or squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, various meats (particularly organ meats), whole fish, apples, quince, and even cantaloupe.

The primary sauces in Armenian cuisine are:

- Tomato sauce or paste. This was a later addition, following the introduction of tomato in the region in the early 19th Century.

- Pepper sauce or paste

- Yogurt sauce

- Tahini (crushed sesame seed) sauce. This sauce is frequently substituted for yogurt sauce in Lenten dishes.

- Armenian sauces are often cooked with the food, forming a consistency of stew and soup.

Armenian cuisine uses spices sparingly. The primary spices used in Armenian cuisine are:

- Salt

- Garlic

- Red pepper (particularly Aleppo pepper, which is a spicier variety of paprika)

- Mint (in Western Armenia)

- Dill (in Eastern Armenia, the current Republic of Armenia)

- Parsley

- Tarragon

- Paprika

- Cumin

- Coriander

- Sumac (the powdered dried berry of the Mediterranean sumac bush)

- Cinnamon

- Cloves

- Mahlab (the powdered pit of the black cherry)

- Rose water

- Orange blossom water

- Basil and bay leaves are used in certain dishes

- Many regional recipes include additional local herbs whose use is almost completely forgotten today in the Diaspora; e.g., aveluk (wood sorrel), jingyal, etc.

Armenian foods include small appetizers called mezze, grain and herb salads, phyllo pastries called byoreks (boereg), grilled meats and skewers, a large variety of soups, stews, flat breads such as lavash, and a thin crust pizza variant called lahmajoun. Lahmajoun comes in many types. Unlike traditional pizza, it is meat based and contains other spices and herbs. There is also a vegetarian style to lahmajoun that uses a spicy tomato base. Lahmajoun is mostly found in Cilicia, in those areas close to Syria and Lebanon.

Taken from Wikipedia.

Doing business in ARMENIA

General etiquette

The vast majority of Armenians speak Armenian and are, at least nominally, Christians of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Shaking hands with both sexes is normal, though men should wait for women to extend theirs first. Handshakes may be gentler, but also more lingering, than you are used to. Armenians of the same same gender may also sit or stand very close to you.  Go along with this rather than backing away.

Wait for your host to introduce you rather than introducing yourself. He is likely to use your surname and appropriate title. You should call him by the first of his three names, preceded by Baron (Mr). Women are Deegeen (Mrs) or Oryort (Miss).

Armenians are very hospitable. If invited to a private home you should always try and accept, though be sure the invitation is genuine and not just a polite gesture. A date, time, and possibly a car to pick you up are signs of a serious invitation. Once at table, be wary of offering opinions on local political problems. Listen by all means, or stick to history, cuisine, sport and weather. Religion and personal matters are also best left alone.

Business etiquette

Business dress is conservative. Wear a dark suit and tie or equivalent. There is no special etiquette around business cards, though you should treat your counterpart's with respect. Having one side translated into Armenian will go down well and make you stand out.

You should aim to be punctual, but don't be offended if your host is late. This is a culture where people are more important than time. Meetings, likewise, may be interrupted by phone calls and other visitors. As in the rest of this region, the establishing of a personal relationship is central to doing business in Armenia.   

Expect enthusiastic bargaining during negotiation, and be prepared to grant concessions, but always conditional on an advantage for you. ‘Keeping face' is also important here, so avoid being too direct. Be aware that for this reason saying ‘no' to your face can sometimes be difficult for Armenians.

Unusual business-related customs

Large meals with plenty of toasts are as common as in the rest of the region. You may also be invited on a day trip to visit historical sights. Try and make time to accept as refusals may cause offence.

General business information

The working week follows the Western pattern, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.  Credit cards are accepted at top hotels and restaurants, though bringing a good supply of clean dollar notes is wise. Be aware of the political situation: Armenia's borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan are both closed.

There are national holidays on 1 and 2 January (New Year), 6 January (Armenian Orthodox Christmas), 8 March (Women's Day), 24 April (Genocide Memorial Day), 9 May (Victory and Peace Day), 28 May (First Republic Day), 5 July (Constitution Day), 21 September (Independence Day), 7 December (Earthquake Memorial Day), 31 December (New Year's Eve)

Country telephone code: + 374. When dialling out, dial 8, then wait for the tone.

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ARMENIA: useful links

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