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Culture / Kitchen
Armenian cuisine is more than two thousand years old and it is still tasty and fresh!
What are the historical traditions of the Armenian art of cookery?

   Firstly, it is bread. By the way, it is nonrandom that such expressions as “to have breakfast”, “to have dinner” and “to have supper” are replaced by “to eat bread” in Armenian. Of course, it means not only bread but also other courses.

   However, Armenians eat much bread, mostly “lavash”. Lavash is cooked in a “tonir”. Its old construction hasn’t changed since ancient times. “Tonir” is a round earthenware fireplace with an ash-pit in its lower side part. To cook a lavash from flour, warm water, leaven and salt one have to make dough is to be placed in a warm place for fermentation. After the fermentation is finished, the dough is divided into 300-400 g. balls and rolled out into a long wide cake. It’s as easy as a pie! That is why the recipe remained up to nowadays. Besides, there is an old tradition in some regions of Armenia to bake lavash in store for 3-4 months in autumn. Lavash is dried, put in piles, covered and stored. If it is necessary, lavash is moistened with water and household soda, covered with material, left for half an hour and becomes fresh.

   Another special feature of the Armenian food is much salt consuming. This tradition has historical background. Salt is such a necessary addition to people’s food that they worshipped it in ancient times.The daily eating routine of Armenians is very original and differs from those dictated by different healthy living conceptions. However strange it is the main ingestion of Armenians falls to dinner and most to supper.Breakfast consisted (and consists now) mostly of bread and cheese. For dinner people had bread, cheese, matzun or soup. The richest, most concentrated and spicy food was eaten in the evening during supper.Supper consisted of several courses. Soup was served in big earthenware pots and tureens, and then poured out in plates. After soup beef and mutton were served, then – bird’s meat and in the end – eggs.

   Among the main moments of Armenian cookery both boiling and roasting predominate.Fish was valued high in nutrition. To provide themselves with fish, many Armenian rulers and feudal lords made special big water reservoirs (tsknatesanks) where they bred the most valuable kinds of fish, such as lake trout. Fish was boiled, roasted with oil, grilled on spit, ashes, stuffed with special spicery.There was always a dessert (as Armenia is rich in fruit): pears, apples, quince, cornel, mulberries, peaches, pomegranate, water-melons, grapes, melons, plums, lemons, apricots, oranges, etc.Armenians widely use wild plants in cookery which many nations call weeds. Some of them are dried and used for special cooking or as seasoning to meat and fish courses.By the way, Armenians use more than 300 kinds of wild plants. There is nothing to be surprised at: this nation had a chance to make conclusions for centuries.Every nation has its own traditional products, which are used for national cooking.

   Armenian cuisine, as other Transcaucasian cuisines has a wide range of tasty and healthy products, which, together with fresh mountainous air, are likely to make this corner of the world famous for its long-livers. Nearly in every Armenian region you are able to find a middle-aged man who will tell you that his grandmother (or grandfather) is still alive, healthy, feels herself wonderfully, active and has a remarkable temper. Although they are people who have been living in a hot climate, occupied with hard work not always using the modern civilization achievements form one generations to another. Probably, the important cause of their strong health, vital energy and cheerful character is in the food quality. Healthy food is a condition of health and we can remind you of the Latin saying: “Mens sana in corpora sana”!

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