Contemporary Armenia is a fraction of the size of ancient Armenia, landlocked by Georgia on the north, Azerbaijan on the east, Iran on the south, and Turkey on the west. Much of Armenia is a rugged plateau of ridges, narrow valleys, extinct volcanoes, and small rivers and streams.
Because of its high elevation and inland location, most of Armenia has a continental climate even though it is the latitudinally equivalent to the Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece. The summers are very hot and the winters moderately cold, especially on the Ararat plain.
Flora and Fauna
The wide variety of climates in Armenia accounts for the great variety of flora and fauna that can be seen at different times of the year throughout Armenia. Armenia contains twice as many soil types as European Russia and the climate, soil, and vegetation vary greatly.
Armenia’s natural resources are small deposits of gold, copper, molybdenum, zinc, and alumina. The land consists of 17 percent arable land, 3 percent permanent crops, 24 percent permanent pastures, 15 percent forests and woodland, and 41 percent other types of land.
Capital and Cities
No state in the world has had so many capitals as Armenia. Prior to Yerevan, home to one million and one-third of the country’s population, 11 cities assumed the role of capital city. Yerevan, the current capital, is located on the large, dry Ararat plain that is about 1,500 miles above sea level.
Armenia’s nearly 200 mineral springs attract tourists to local health resorts and spas. The water is said to have a natural healing effect and is supplied to the locals straight from its springs.
Christianity in Armenia
The first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion — with Christian iconography playing a very important role in Armenian art and architecture. The study of churches and monasteries, and the khatchkars and illuminated manuscripts of the church, reveal the devotion of Armenian artists to ornament, almost unique in Christian culture.
Argishti Harutyunyan’s Story
He was diagnosed with an astigmatism and started wearing lenses. However, his sight continued to decline day by day and dramatically worsened during his military service. He had only six months remaining when was referred to the Malayan Clinic for a detailed examination. “I started to wear lenses and with those I could see 10 lines in the eye chart, but the lenses were not very comfortable and they were causing injuries to my eye. Doctors suggested that the solution for my sight would be corneal transplants,” said Argishti.
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Armenian Traditions and Holidays
Visitors are welcomed with open arms and usually with a party, as the AECP physicians will tell you. At the end of a two-week medical mission, they are always honored with a large party the night before they leave. Most Armenian holidays are Christian and are traditionally observed in a Western manner. Christmas is celebrated on the 6th of January, with Christmas trees, gift giving and feasting lasting the entire week from New Year’s Eve to Christmas. A warm and generous people, Armenians are known for their hospitality that especially embraces the table, where feasts can last for several hours.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that blurs the sharp, central vision you need for “straight-ahead” activities such as reading, sewing, and driving. AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail but preserves the peripheral vision. AMD causes no pain. In some cases, AMD advances so slowly that people notice little change in their vision. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in both eyes.
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