Armenia

Official name: Republic of Armenia

Area: 29,800 square kilometers (11,500 square miles)

Highest point on mainland : Mt. Aragats (4,095 meters/13,425 feet)

Lowest point on land: Debed River Valley (400 meters/1,320 feet)

Hemispheres : Northern and Eastern

Time zone: 4 P.M. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 400 kilometers (240 miles) from northwest to southeast; 200 kilometers (120 miles) from west to east

Land boundaries : 1,254 kilometers (778 miles) total boundary length; Azerbaijan, 789 kilometers (488 miles), 221 kilometers/137 miles of which is in the Naxçivan enclave; Georgia, 164 kilometers (102 miles); Iran, 35 kilometers (22 miles); Turkey, 268 kilometers (166 miles)

Coastline: None

Territorial sea limits: None

1 LOCATION AND SIZE

Armenia is a small, landlocked nation located in the mountainous region southwest of Russia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. With a total area of 29,800 square kilometers (11,500 square miles), it is somewhat larger than the state of Maryland. Armenia is divided into eleven provinces.

2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES

Armenia has no territories or dependencies.

3 CLIMATE

Although Armenia lies not far from several seas, its high mountains block their effects and give it a continental highland climate. It has cold, dry winters and hot, dusty summers. Temperature and precipitation depend greatly on elevation, with colder and wetter seasons in the high north and northeast.

The widest variation in temperature between winter and summer occurs in the central Armenian Plateau, where in midwinter the mean temperature is 0°C (32°F); in midsummer the mean temperature is over 25°C (77°F). Overall, Armenia is a sunny country. Precipitation rates depend on altitude and location, but are heaviest during autumn. In the lower Aras River Valley, the average annual precipitation is 25 centimeters (10 inches). It can reach 80 centimeters (32 inches) in the mountains.

4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS

Armenia's terrain is composed largely of plateaus and rugged mountain ranges, with the exception of a few fertile river valleys and the area around Lake Sevan, in the east-central part of the country. The geological formation known as the Armenia Plateau occupies the western part of the country.

5 OCEANS AND SEAS

Armenia is landlocked and has no coast.

6 INLAND LAKES

Lake Sevan lies 2,070 meters (6,200 feet) above sea level on the Armenian Plateau. With an area of 1,244 square kilometers (480 square miles), it is the country's largest lake—and one of the largest high-elevation lakes in the world. At its widest point, Lake Sevan measures 72.5 kilometers (58 miles) across; it is 376 kilometers (301 miles) long. The lake's greatest depth is about 83 meters (272 feet). Many tributaries flow into the lake from the south and southeast, but the Hrazdan River is its only outlet.

7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS

The Aras River, which is 914 kilometers (568 miles) long, is Armenia's largest and longest river. Its chief tributary in Armenia is the Hrazdan. The Debed River in the north of the country flows northeast into Georgia. The Bargushat River drains the southeastern part of Armenia.

8 DESERTS

Armenia has no deserts.

9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN

The Aras River and the Debed River valleys in the far north are the lowest points in Armenia, with elevations of 380 meters (1,158 feet) and 400 meters (1,320 feet), respectively. The rich soils of the arable river valleys contain vineyards and orchards.

10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES

The Lesser Caucasus Mountains enter into Armenia in the north and extend across the entire country along the border with Azerbaijan and into Iran. The Lesser Caucasus system includes the P'ambaki, Geghama, Vardenis, and Zangezur ranges. Composed largely of granite and crystalline rock, the mountains are high, rugged, and include some extinct volcanoes and many glaciers.

The terrain is particularly rugged in the extreme southeast. Some smaller mountain ranges and extinct volcanoes are located on the Armenia Plateau; included in one of these ranges is Mount Aragats (Aragats Lerr), which at 4,095 meters (13,425 feet) is the highest point in Armenia.

11 CANYONS AND CAVES

There are many caves throughout Armenia, and several steep canyons. The longest cave is the Arjeri Cave in the Vayots Dzor region to the south. The Debed Canyon drops to the lowest elevation in the country (400 meters/1,320 feet).

12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS

Half of Armenia is above 2,000 meters (6,090 feet) in elevation. The Armenian Plateau, which occupies the western part of the country, was formed in a geological upheaval of the earth's crust twenty-five million years ago. It slopes down from the Lesser Caucasus Mountains toward the Aras River Valley.

13 MAN-MADE FEATURES

The 1.8-kilometer-long (1-mile-long) tunnel through the Pushkin Pass in northern Armenia, built in 1970 and reopened after reconstruction in 2000, is a major route linking Armenia and Georgia.

14 FURTHER READING

Books

Lang, David Marshall. Armenia: Cradle of Civilization . London: Allen and Unwin, 1980.

Lynch, H. F. B. Armenia: Travels and Studies (2 vols.). Beirut, Lebanon: Khayats, 1965.

Suny, Ronald G. Armenia in the Twentieth Century . Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983.

Suny, Ronald G. Looking Toward Ararat: Armenia in Modern History . Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

Periodicals

Walker, Christopher J. "Armenia: A Nation in Asia." Asian Affairs 19 (February 1988): 20-35.

Web Sites

Armenia Resource Page. http://www.eurasianet.org/resource/Armenia/index.shtrr (accessed June 5, 2003).

Tour Armenia. http://www.tacentral.com (accessed June 5, 2003).

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