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20 Things You Need To Know About Armenia

The Kardashian sisters visited their ancestral homeland last week to draw attention to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. But the country has plenty going on, even when it's not being graced by some of the most famous members of its diaspora.

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2. Before gaining independence in 1991, Armenians lived under Ottoman and Russian rule, and the country was part of the Soviet Union.

young shanahan CC BY / Via Flickr: youngshanahan

The Soviet-era Mother Armenia statue that looks over Yerevan, the capital, symbolizes peace through strength, according to Armenian lore.

3. The Kardashian sisters visited to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, a defining event in Armenian history and identity.

Karen Minasyan / Getty Images

On Friday, Kim, Khloe and Kanye visited the memorial to the 1915 massacre of more than a million Armenians under the Ottoman Empire. Turkey does not acknowledge the tragedy as genocide. Also, the U.S. has yet to publicly commemorate the event.


5. Armenia has a chilly relationship with some of its neighbors.

Karen Minasyan / AFP / Getty Images

Armenia and Turkey aren't on good terms, given the whole not-recognizing-the-genocide thing. Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a bloody war after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and both sides claim rights to Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-controlled enclave that technically lies within Azerbaijan. Foreign policy experts call this a "frozen conflict," but skirmishes on the border continue to claim lives.

6. It was the first country in the world to officially adopt Christianity back in 301 AD.

Shaun Dunphy CC BY-SA / Via Flickr: sjdunphy

Pope Francis recognized the genocide in remarks Sunday, prompting Turkey to recall its ambassador to the Vatican.


20. And now they've embraced a new member of the family.

People here are calling Kanye "pesa" (groom), as in, he's OUR collective family member. What is this life?

Susie Armitage is the Global Managing Editor and is based in New York.

Contact Susie Armitage at

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