Is Armenia in Europe or in Asia? This is a question that many people ask, yet don’t receive a concrete answer. Is it in Europe? Asia? The Middle East?
The answer the question “Is Armenia in Europe or Asia?” is complicated due to the geographical position of Armenia.
There are people who consider Armenia as part of the Middle East, and some think it’s in the continent of Europe.
We can confirm that both answers, Europe and Asia, are true, but not the Middle East. However, giving one answer is not so simple.
Is Armenia in Europe by Geographical Position?
From the geographical point of view, Armenia is situated in the South Caucasus region between Europe and Asia. This beautiful mountainous territory is located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Armenia is bordered by Georgia in the north, Azerbaijan in the east, Iran in the south and Turkey in the west.
Thanks to its favorable geographical location, Armenia used to be considered a trade center between the two continents for many centuries. During Armenia’s long historical journey, Armenia has been invaded and controlled by empires such as the Roman, Persian Byzantine, Arab and the Ottoman multiple times.
Sometimes, these historical collapses made Armenia lose and gain its borders several times. Armenia has lost a huge part of its territory during these invasions. Now, Armenia is a rather small country, which is located exactly at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.
The population of the country is about 3.2 million, the vast majority of which are Christians and belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. For a long time, it was accepted to ascribe Armenia closer to Asia and the Middle East.
Now, this is considered to be an arguable statement. More and more often people started inquiring about Armenia’s present status. “Is Armenia in Europe or is it in Asia?”: this is one of the most frequently asked questions concerning Armenia.
However, the first thing, which gives reasons for such discussions, is that there is no defined border between Europe and Asia. It is really difficult to state where Europe exactly ends and where Asia begins. This peculiar geographical puzzle may leave even the best geographer confused.
Studying this question from only its geographical point of view will not be complete. We must also take into consideration other different factors which had their special influence on Armenia.
Is Armenia in Europe or Asia by its culture?
One of the main factors of answering “Is Armenia in Europe or in Asia?” is the culture. Armenia has gone through a very long cultural path. Historically being situated on the most beneficial part of the Great Silk Road, Armenia has been the target for many empires.
The Great Silk Road was an ancient caravan trade system. The routes of the Great Silk Road started from China and reached to the Middle East and Europe. This was a unique trade system, which connected the eastern continent to the western continent.
This peculiar geographical position of Armenia affected its cultural development. During that period, Armenia fell under the influence of different cultures and civilizations. Watching the period of development of Armenian culture, we can define a unique picture.
If we look back into the past, we can see that during that period Armenia was associated more with Asia and the Middle East. However, if we look into it more profoundly, we will notice that the picture somehow changes during the time.
Despite the wide discussions, the question remains one of the most controversial topics about Armenians. Armenians themselves also find a lot of similarities both in Asian and European cultures and traditions.
As it was already mentioned Armenia had been invaded by lots of countries, which played an immense role in the cultural development of Armenia. Some typical Armenian traditions had faded, some of them survived until our days and some of them have been replaced by others.
It’s beyond any suspect that in past, during the latest invasions, Armenia culturally grew closer to the Middle East and Asia. There were many traditions in Armenia which were typical of this continent. One of the most deeply rooted traditions typical of Asian culture was the idea of extended family.
Armenian Family Model: Is Armenia in Europe or Asia?
Historically, it was widely accepted among Armenians that families should be very large and all members should live together in one house. For many decades, Armenians could not imagine any other construction of family, however, the situation differs greatly in our days.
The changes are obvious in the Armenian culture now. Young Armenian families tend to be more independent and build their own nuclear families. The statistical age of marriage has also changed.
In comparison with the past years, Armenians are not inclined to get married very soon like in Middle Eastern Muslim countries. They want to build their career, achieve success and only then think about settling down.
This way of thinking is definitely much closer to the European continent. They are more interested in studying languages belonging to the European continent. Sometimes, this kind of diversity of inclinations creates a generation gap.
Parents may not understand newer values and tendencies among youngsters and vice versa. The younger generation may consider some Asian elements impractical and old fashioned.
Armenian Language and Literature: Eastern or Western?
One of the peculiarities of Armenian culture is its language. The Armenian language is one of the oldest languages formulated at the cradle of development of the civilizations. The Armenian language belongs to Indo-European language family.
By mistake, for many years Armenian was considered as a dialect of Iranian. This theory was fully rejected when a famous German philologist Heinrich Hubschmann proved in his article that Armenian belongs to the Indo-European language family.
Moreover, Armenian is a separate branch in that language family.
The fact that Armenian literature existed long before the invention of Armenian alphabet is undeniable. There is a great literary heritage that has been passed on to us from pagan times. Different legends are great examples of old Armenian literature.
However, the creation of the alphabet brought a completely new cultural wave and opened a new era of literature in the Armenian culture. Starting from the 5th century (Golden Age), Armenian literature started blossoming.
As the official religion in Armenia was Christianity, the inclination towards Christian literature is obvious there. The first book translated into Armenian was the Holy Bible. This religious inclination included also medieval period.
The modern age of literature for Armenia started from 18th century. This period was a cultural and intellectual renaissance for Armenia. During this era, Armenian writers were mostly enthusiastic about newer tendencies reigning in Europe. They derived various styles from European literature, which are still widely used now.
Is Armenia in Europe or Asia by Politics and Economy?
Due to Armenia’s geographical location, this country closely collaborates with the European continent, the Middle East and Asia.
Politically, Armenia intensively collaborates with different organizations in Europe such as the Council of Europe, European Bank association, United Nations etc. Armenia also has good relations with NATO.
Armenia is a member of Asian political and economic organizations as well, however, the influence of the Western continent is greater in this case.
Armenia is also more likely to compete in European events in the sphere of sport. Armenia is a member of European Olympic Committee and UEFA.
The trade relations between Armenia and Europe are regulated by Partnership and Cooperation agreement. The main trading partner of Armenia is Europe. The imports from Armenia mostly consist of manufactured goods, beverages, tobacco, etc.
The trade relations are an inseparable part of Armenia’s economic and political relations with the European Union.
As a whole, culturally, politically and economically, Armenians consider themselves more a part of Europe than Asia. The inclination towards the European continent has been a long-lasting process and has stronger roots now.
With the development of technologies such as the internet, the younger generation is more inclined to the European civilization. They easily take western cultural elements and assimilate.
They are also enthusiastic to take part in various exchange programs in some European countries and study in European universities. Nowadays, it’s inevitable to be in Armenia and not to feel the soul of European values and culture.
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