Yerevan is the largest city and capital of Armenia with a population of about 1 million (2004 estimate). The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC, with the founding of the Urartian fortress of Erebuni in 782 BC. The territory of Yerevan has been settled since the 4th millennium BC, fortified by number of settlements from the Bronze Age, and Yerevan is one of the oldest cities in the world. In 1920, Yerevan became the capital of the newly formed Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Yerevan became the capital of the independent Republic of Armenia on September 21, 1991. Yerevan is a leading industrial, cultural, and scientific centre in the Caucasus region. As a center of Armenian culture, Yerevan is the site of Yerevan State University, the Armenian Academy of Sciences, the Matenadaran manuscript archives, a historical museum, an opera house, a music conservatory and several technical institutes.
Armenia prides itself on being the first nation to formally adopt Christianity (early 4th century). Despite periods of autonomy, over the centuries Armenia came under the sway of various empires including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, and Ottoman. During World War I in the western portion of Armenia, Ottoman Turkey instituted a genocide including forced resettlement coupled with other harsh practices that resulted in an estimated 1.5 million Armenian deaths. The eastern area of Armenia was ceded by the Ottomans to Russia in 1828; this portion declared its independence in 1918, but was conquered by the Soviet Red Army in 1920.
Independence: 21 September 1991
National holiday: Independence Day, 21 September
Location: Southwestern Asia
Population: Armenia 2,976,372
Climate: highland continental, hot summers, cold winters