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Rather than focusing on a single state, we thought that an introduction to the places and cultures of the Caucasus was more interesting. Which is why, after showing you Azerbaijan, we move on to Armenia.
Sons of Hayk
The Armenians trace their origins back to Hayk, a legendary warrior from the region who killed Nimrod, the legendary Mesopotamian king. In addition to immediately showing the natural enemies of this people, the myth is even more interesting if you look at the origins of the Armenian patriarch. He was in fact a descendant of Noah, who stopped with his Ark right on Mount Ararat, a place full of feeling and meaning for this people.
The mythical origins, however, did not long follow an empire and only after great conflicts with the Hittites was the first local kingdom born. The latter, however, will live a period of political unrest very long, passing through the hands of: Romans, Parthians, Byzantines, Sassanids, Arabs, Mongols and Persians. In 301 it became the first Christian state in history and from 884 to 1045, however, the Armenian kingdom enjoyed an incredible expansion under the Bagratidi dynasty, managing in a short time to develop throughout the region.
Ani and Turks
The latter built the stronghold of Ani, an immense medieval city, capable of holding up to 100,000 inhabitants. The new capital was rich enough to be compared to Baghdad, Rome or Constantinople and for this reason it was nicknamed the “city of 1001 bells”. The fate of this ancient metropolis, in reality, is a perfect metaphor for what happened to the rest of the country. After long wars, in fact, the city fell under the control of the Ottoman Empire in 1579, starting a period of constant decline ever since.
In 1878, the Kars region fell under the control of the Russian Empire, which greatly sponsored its rebirth also in view of an ever stronger Armenian intolerance towards their previous lords. The Ottomans had in fact given them great dignity in Istanbul by establishing the Armenian Patriarchate, in the rest of Anatolia, however, the situation was not always the same. This will ensure that during the First World War, the Ottoman Empire will carry out mass killings and deportations, during which 200,000 to 1,800,000 Armenians will die. These acts will then take the name of Armenian Genocide, one of the darkest moments in all of Turkish and Caucasian history. With the Ottoman defeat, the ancient domains of historical Armenia are returned to Hayk’s descendants, but they are, for the most part, quickly reconquered by the Turks, who will also try to definitively eliminate the fortress of Ani, succeeding only in part.
Unfortunately for them, the Armenians will not review their autonomous state until the collapse of the USSR, before which they will be placed under the jurisdiction of the Transcaucasian Republic. From this will arise the conflict of Nagorno Karabakh with Azerbaijan.
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