Animals and Plants
What is growing in Armenia?
Armenia is a mountainous and rather dry country. In many areas it is quite barren. Only about 8 percent of the country’s area is covered by trees or bushes. The plants that grow here have adapted to the drought. Many have thorns. Artemisia plants such as wormwood also grow up to an altitude of 1400 meters. The tree line is around 2000 meters, which means that from a height of 2000 meters no more trees grow. However, beeches, oaks and birches also grow in the lower elevations and in the river valleys. Oak trees are often found in the Armenian oak species.
Which animals live in Armenia?
Although Armenia is a small country, the biodiversity is quite large. There are also many endemic species, so they are only found here. Above all, there are many reptiles such as lizards and snakes. They deal well with drought. The Armenian field lizard is one of them. The long-eared hedgehogs, gerbils and horse jumpers, who also belong to the mice, also like drought.
Typical forest and mountain animals are also numerous. Deer, wild boars, lynxes, martens, wild cats, wolves, roe deer, mink and jackals are among the animal inhabitants of the country.
A specialty is the now rare Syrian brown bear, which can be easily recognized by its light fur. The Caucasian leopard is also found in the west, in the Chosrow nature reserve. It is threatened with extinction. The Armenian wild sheep is a subspecies of the mouflon. About 250 animals of this kind are said to still live in Armenia.
Of course, birds also climb the skies in Armenia. 350 species have been counted. Vultures, hawks, eagles and seagulls are among them. Goat milkers and bee-eaters can also be found in the warmer and extremely dry areas of the southwest. Funny names aren’t they?
The economy in Armenia
During the Soviet era, Armenia developed into an industrial country. Factories manufactured clothing, machine tools, and other industrial goods and shipped them to sister republics. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the economy of Armenia also collapsed. Today agriculture plays a bigger role. Mining is the main source of income from exports: copper, gold, bauxite and diamonds are mined.
Problems were not only caused by the switch from a planned economy to a liberal market economy. Armenia’s isolated location is also economically disadvantageous. Because the borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan have been closed since 1991 and 1993 respectively. The relationship with both countries is bad. With Azerbaijan there is also the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh (see story).
In addition, the country has no access to the sea and therefore no port. A not inconsiderable part of the economic output also comes from Armenians living abroad who send money home. However, since 2001 the economy has recovered overall.
Fruit from Armenia
Armenia’s soil is fertile and, thanks to warm summers and rainy springs, fruit and vegetables thrive here. Even apricots, peaches, pomegranates and grapes grow in Armenia. Wheat and barley as well as various types of vegetables are also grown. Cattle are also kept, especially cattle, sheep and goats. Agriculture contributes a total of 17 percent to the entire economy. After all, 36 percent of the population work in this area.
The apricot is one of Armenia’s national symbols. The Latin name of the fruit is Prunus armeniaca. That translates to Armenian plum. The apricot was already known in Armenia in ancient times. It is still grown there today.
Mount Ararat is on Turkish soil, but Armenia regards it as a national symbol. Because the mountain can not only be seen from many points in Armenia, it is also located in an ancestral settlement area of the Armenians. In the Armenian coat of arms he is shown in the middle. Mount Ararat is mentioned in the Bible as the place where Noah’s Ark stranded after the Flood.
The Armenian memorial stones that can be seen in many places are called Khachkar. The word means “cross stone”. Chatschkars have artistic engravings. There is always a cross in the middle, which is surrounded by smaller engravings. Most of the khachkars date from the 12th and 13th centuries, but they are still made today. Most of the time they are reminiscent of a specific person or event. They are among the most important cultural symbols of the Armenians.