For the first time in Las Vegas and the state of Nevada, U.S., Armenian language classes will be
After 2,700 years the walls of Urartu Castle have been unearthed in the Ayanis neighborhood of the
The Armenian National Institute (ANI), Armenian Genocide Museum of America (AGMA), and Armenian
Armenia was named one of the most religious countries in the world, a survey conducted by

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Culture / History

Armenian art has been profoundly influenced by Armenian culture, Armenia's long history, ever-changing geography and unique mountainous landscape.One of the most important periods of Armenian art was that from the ninth to the sixth centuries BC. Armenia was, at this point in history, the Kingdom of Van or Urartu. Citadels, temples, irrigation canals, carved stone seals, glass, ceramics, jewelry and arms were characteristic of Urartu's artistic endeavors. The Urartians were major producers of bronze objects. Excavation at the Urartian site of Karmir-Blur, begun in 1939 and continuing even today has resulted in the discovery of many household utensils, furniture decorations and pieces of military equipment such as helmets, arrows and shields fashioned out of bronze.

Urartian smiths were also very skilled in the use of silver and gold. Vases, medallions and amulets were fashioned from silver while gold was used to create articles of jewelry. The smiths of this time are best remembered for their skill in decorating metal with mythological and animal forms. The intrinsic value of these metals made them prime targets for invaders who periodically looted the country. For this reason, metalwork of other periods cannot be documented as well.

In the 4th and 5th centuries AD very important events in Armenian history greatly affected the arts. As Armenia became the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301-303 AD, Christian iconography came to play a very important role in Armenian art and architecture. Also, after the creation of the Armenian alphabet in 405-406 AD by Mesrop Mashtotz, the written word helped to developed the Armenian language, literature and arts. The Bible was able to be translated into Armenian, thus increasing the importance of Christianity in Armenian art. The written word also allowed for the development of the art of the illuminated manuscript. Armenian scribes began to copy and translate Christian texts onto parchment adding to them symbolic illustrations and introductory folios. These manuscripts were then used in religious services.Churches soon became the main mode of Armenian architectural expression. The seventh century is often referred to as the "golden age of Armenian ecclesiastical architecture." A great many cathedrals and monuments with interior frescoes and stone carvings pertaining to the Biblical stories were constructed. In the 10th century, for instance, the Church of the Holy Cross was erected on Aghtamar Island with exterior sculpture and relieves of Biblical subjects and interior frescoes of the like. The Aghtamar frescoes are the only surviving example of medieval Armenian murals still including the full repertoire of motifs traditional in church interiors of the time.

Monasteries, founded in the 10th century, grew as important artistic centers. Illuminated manuscripts, a major component of Armenian art history, were created and assembled into books here. Today, the largest collection of these can be found in Yerevan's famed Matenadaran. These manuscripts came to be known for their festive grandeur, demonstrating a continuity that links Armenia's Middle Ages with her earlier periods. The twelfth to fourteenth centuries witnessed the development of manuscript illumination into the art of book illustration. Manuscripts became smaller, no longer for use in religious services. These more elaborately designed and varied works were now for private use in the libraries of monasteries and homes.

These monasteries also provided for the production of khatchkars (literally, "cross stones"), constructions unparalleled in the world of art. These carved stones were most commonly used as gravestones as well as to mark victories, foundations of villages, the completion of a church and the like. For all their diversity, the basic khatchkar design was always the same, the Cross being the central object often surrounded by elaborate ornamentation. These carvings attained artistic excellence in the ninth to eleventh centuries. They were originally created as an assertion of faith in Christ; and popular belief attributed to these monuments' powers of protection against earthquakes, droughts and the like. The study of khatchkars and illuminated manuscripts reveals the devotion of Armenian artists to ornament, almost unique in Christian culture. Khatchkars can be seen throughout Armenia even today.

In the 16th century, changes in social and political life resulted in the dramatic alteration of Armenian culture and art. At this time, Armenia lost her independence and was divided between the empires of Turkey and Persia for the next 250 years. Armenian architecture and related arts virtually disappeared during this period. Armenian monasteries, churches and schools were built only outside of Armenia. Slowly, the traditional art of manuscript illumination gave way to printing. This new method of making and copying text was first introduced in Armenia in the year 1512. It was in the year 1666 that the Bible was printed in Armenian by the cleric Father Voskan in Amsterdam. From the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, the orientation of art turned increasingly to that of everyday life. The minor arts such as carpet and lace-making developed into well-known crafts. These arts were inspired by sculpture, architecture, and painting . The creative impulse is quite evident in the surviving examples of metalwork of earlier centuries, in the carved doors of monasteries and in the fine collections of Armenian carpets found in the museums of Yerevan. Lace adorned the homes and costumes of Armenian women. These women also donated their lacework for the adornment of church altars and the costumes of the clergy.
The best known Armenian embroidery , made in the city of Marash, is noted for its rich and cheerful colors and its satin stitch. Common in the designs of Marash embroidery are flowers and tiny animals, particularly the rooster.

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