What is Armenian culture? Discover Armenia
Armenia is a land with a rich cultural heritage and centuries-old traditions. Despite the fact that these traditions of Armenia date back thousands of years, they have developed according to the modern era, have adapted to today’s time, and have still been relevant today. Armenian culture is the cultural heritage of the people: folk dances, literature, food, architecture, customs and traditions… Each of them is unique and interesting in its own way, has its origin, development history and carries a bit of the national mentality.
Armenia has become the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as the state religion in 301. Christianity was first introduced to Armenia much earlier, in the first century (60-68), by two pupils of Christ, the apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus. They arrived in Armenia from Asoristan and Kapadovkia. They baptized majestic families, ordinary people and were known as the “First Enlighteners of the Armenian World.”
The Armenian language belongs to the early period of the Indo-European language family. Armenian is one of the 50 most influential languages of the world. The Armenian language is not a dead language, such as the Latin and ancient Greek languages of this group, but it develops day by day, expands the vocabulary and improves its grammar. Currently, the language of the Armenian people has a rich vocabulary. Living under the control of Persians, Armenian language was greatly influenced by it and there are many Persian words in Armenian. The spread of Christianity introduced many words from Syrian and Greek into the Armenian language. Armenian has the greatest similarity between Persian and Greek languages.
Despite the fact that the Armenian language is very ancient, the Armenian alphabet was created in 405 by Mesrop Mashtots. The written language of the time called the classical Armenian or Grabar until the 19th century remained an Armenian literary language with various changes. During this time many dialects appeared, as the Armenian communities became divided geographically and politically, and not all of these dialects are mutually understandable. Armenian is among the most difficult languages.
One of the most important components of Armenian culture is music, which in recent years has brought new forms of music while preserving traditional styles. This is evidenced by the world-class Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, which performs in the beautifully restored Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall, in the Yerevan Opera House. In addition, several chamber ensembles that are highly popular for their musical and professionalism, including the Komitas quartet, the “Hover” chamber choir, the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia and the “Serenade” orchestra.
Jazz in Armenia
In addition to classical music, jazz is also developed in Armenia. The representatives are the world-famous Levon Malkhasyan group, the Armenian Navy Band under the direction of Arto Tunchboyajyan, the Jazzel women’s band, and, of course, the Armenian jazz pianist and composer Tigran Hamasyan.
Armenian Rock music
Armenian rock music also has many artists and musicians who are on the way of becoming too popular, for example, the groups Bambir and Vostan Hayots, and some of them are known to the world like rock stars, for example, the singer of the group “System Of The Down” Serge Tankian.
Literature in Armenia originated in 401 when Mesrop Mashtots created the Armenian alphabet. This event, which took place in the 5th century, is considered to be one of the most important turning points in the life of Armenian literature. Most literary works were created by Movses Khorenatsi. Over the years, elements of literature have changed when stories and myths were passed down through generations. Among the most favourite Armenian writers are William Saroyan – American prose writer and playwright of Armenian origin, educator-democrat, teacher and writer Khachatur Abovyan, Raffi – famous Armenian novelist, Hovhannes Tumanyan – author of a number of realistic poems, Avetik Isaakyan, the greatest poet of the late XIX, and many others.
In the National Art Gallery, there are more than 16,000 artworks that belong to the Middle Ages and show the rich history of Armenia. It also stores pictures of many European masters. The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Children’s Art Gallery and the Martiros Saryan Museum are just a little part of the many remarkable collections of fine art exhibited in Yerevan. In addition, many private galleries are held with a large number of annual exhibitions. A large number of festivals dedicated to creativity are organized in Armenia, therefore this part of the culture is more relevant in the country than ever.
The architecture of Armenia developed in four stages. The first stage includes the churches in Armenia which were built between the adoption of Christianity by Armenians and the invasion of Arab troops into the territory of Armenia. The first churches, as a rule, were simple basilicas, some of which had lateral apses. At the next stage of development, the classic dome in the centre of the building was used. After, in the 7th century, the churches had a centralized layout with a more elaborate buttress to support the walls. The architecture in Armenia was distinguished by simplicity and rigour, but today in the cities of Armenia in all new buildings one can notice how the traditional style is combined with the new trends in architecture.
Despite the fact that women were mainly engaged in carpet creation, there were several men in Artsakh who were famous for their handmade carpets. Sometimes carpet creation became a family business. The oldest of the Armenian handicraft carpets date back several thousand years (in the 13th century). In Armenia, walls, floors, sofas, chests and even beds are covered with carpets. Today, Armenian carpets can also be found on the streets of Yerevan, for example, in the Vernissage flea market.
A rich and centuries-old culture makes this land worth visiting because everything you see will fill your heart with warmth and nostalgia for the times that you have not experienced before.