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Armenia is a small and cozy country located in the South Caucasus Region neighbouring Turkey from the west, Georgia from the north, Azerbaijan from the east and Iran from the south. This country is slightly larger than the state of Maryland, but is very rich and unique with its cultural and traditional heritages.
The Republic of Armenia gained its independence after the collapse of Soviet Union. It is a 25 years old sovereign state now. Yerevan is its capital city, which is the largest city with population of approximately 1,400,000. The next three largest cities are Gyumri, Vanadzor and Abovian.
Armenia is a country of dry and continental climate. It experiences all the seasons of mother nature with cold winters and hot summer. Its landscape with high hills and mountains protects the country from storms and floods. There are basically five altitudinal zones: semi-desert, steppe, forest, alpine meadow, and high-altitude tundra. Armenia is landlocked and has no direct access to the sea. There are considerable regional variations, such as hot, dry summers in the Araks Valley, and cooler, more humid summers in the more elevated areas, but certain basic characteristics are true of the entire region.
Summer (except at the highest elevations) is long and hot; the average July temperature in the plains (Yerevan) is 25 degrees C (77 degrees F), rising to as high as 42 degrees C (108 degrees F). Winters tend to be moderately severe, with the average temperature for Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, averaging −5 degrees C (23 degrees F). Autumns are generally mild, sunny, and long, while spring is usually short and wet.
The current population of Armenia is estimated to be around 3,000,000, having high majority of citizens (95.6%) with Armenian nationality. However, there are Kurdish people (including Yezidis), Russians, as well as other nationalities such as Ukrainians, Assyrians, Greeks, etc. Christianity is the major religion in Armenia, and a significant majority of the population follows the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Armenian cuisine always surprises with its traditional dishes. Though the types of dishes generally depend on the food available per season. Although Armenians are mostly meat-lovers, many dishes are adequate for vegetarians, too, as many beans and vegetables are available in all markets.
Not only Yerevan is the largest and most populated city in Armenia, but also it is the centre for various leisure activities for youth, cultural monuments, etc. The adjoining Opera House (Spendiaryan Armenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre) offers majestic operas and ballets during spring, summer, and fall. Many other concerts are hold in those halls that you can enjoy in all seasons. Other music halls of interest include the Komitas Chamber Music Hall, which has lively and sometimes avant-garde presentations and classical music. The Armenian Sports and Concert Complex also holds various major and casual musical events. Every Saturday and Sunday there is an outdoor art market (named ‘Vernissage’) that sells artwork, handicrafts, carpets, crystal glassware, jewellery, old cameras, and an assortment of interesting goods. Overall, you will always have a cultural event to attend during your leisure time, or hang out with your friends in diverse cafes and pubs.
During the summer some Armenians living in the city spend a great deal of time at Lake Sevan or at their country homes, which are located outside of Yerevan. Chess and backgammon are very popular, and some Armenians play basketball, soccer, tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Opportunities for sailing and swimming exist during the summer, and ski resorts also function during the winter months. Armenia is a country with a strong musical tradition.
Sport lovers have a bunch of options to spend their leisure time in a special way. Various tours and hikes are offered weekly for beginners as well as extreme lovers. You can reach all the parts of Armenia with different tours sightseeing the attractions of Armenia, including the centuries long monastery complexes. temples, and castles, as well as the longest ropeway of the world- the Wings of Tatev, etc. Extreme sport lovers can enjoy paragliding, jumping with zipline, and many other options.
International students holding an EU member country passport do not need to apply for a visa to study in Armenia. Besides EU member countries there are many other countries, citizens of which do not require visa as well. To find out about visa requirements, students are welcomed to visit official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of RA, where they can find all the information about visa and other issues, connected to traveling to Armenia. All foreign citizens living in Armenia need to apply for a residence permit.
Armenia is one of the safest countries in the World, in every sense of the term. Gallup’s Law and Order Index ranked Armenia as the 9th most secure country on the planet in its 2015 report, indeed far above North American and Western-European cities. Categories cited included security felt by citizens, global confidence in the police, and safety walking alone at night. Being a small nation with a long history, Armenians have a particular bond of solidarity and respect for others. It is very common for locals to go beyond the call of courtesy in order to help tourists feel more at home.
All currencies may be freely imported and exported. Money can be exchanged for local currency at the airports, banks, most hotels and shops during normal opening hours. Travellers' cheques and credit cards are generally accepted. There are exchange 'bank machines' in Yerevan.
The Central Bank establishes a daily official rate of exchange, and all credit card purchases and banks use it accordingly. Other exchange offices usually offer a slightly higher rate. Where you are determines what kind of a rate you receive. Outside Yerevan, it will be lower.
Major banks accept wire transfers on your behalf. The cost of the transfer varies, but it is between 2 and 10% of the amount transferred. There is an additional service charge of around $10. Foreigners are freely allowed to transfer in and out money without restriction, as long as it is for the personal use.
Perspective students who are interested in finding out more about study possibilities in Armenia are more than welcome to visit the following web site www.studyinarmenia.org, which is specially designed for foreign students. Here you can find the most relevant information about Armenia, student life in Armenia and other academic related information, necessary for every student leaving for another country to study. This web site is initiative of the Ministry of Science and Education of Republic of Armenia.