Once the Silicon Valley of the USSR, Armenia is one of the leading software development countries in the world. Just ask Google, Microsoft or Intel which have R&D facilities located in Armenia.
It’s already 28 years since Armenia gained independence from the Soviet Union. The post-Soviet engineering workforce and a diaspora of advocates, combined with new government initiatives, are delivering renewed growth to Armenia’s IT sector.
Let’s dive into brief information about Armenia, its culture and, of course, the IT-sphere.
Firstly, let’s talk about chess which is a national sport in Armenia.
Until the early 20th century, the equivalent for chess in Armenian was čatrak(ճատրակ), from Middle Persian “chatrang”. In modern Eastern Armenian they call chess as šaxmat (Arm. շախմատ).
In other words, chess is a national obsession in Armenia. Consequently, Armenia has proven itself as a world-beater at the sport. All students are taking chess classes at school as a mandatory subject. The former Soviet Union has made chess part of the primary school curriculum. It is a mandatory subject along with math or history for children between the ages of 7 and 9.
Armenia is a Wine Producing Country
Secondly, Armenia is one of the oldest countries that have produced wine in the world. High-quality grapes grow on the fertile valleys of Mount Ararat. which is, certainly, a blessed location in Armenia.
Since ancient days Armenia is famous for the winemakers. They kept original traditions until today. In 2011 archaeologists discovered what is thought to be the oldest winery on the planet. As a result, they found a cave in Areni village which was a former winery. The Areni-1 winery is a 6100-year-old winery that was discovered in 2007. It is situated near the village of Areni in the Vayots Dzor province of Armenia by a team of Armenian and Irish archaeologists.
Lavash and Apricot as National Symbols of Armenia
Thirdly, and most importantly, comes Armenian lavash and apricot.
A tandoor is basically an underground earth oven made from clay (as shown in the photo above). Armenians love eating lavash. It is a thin layer of flat chewy bread that’s made from flour, salt and water and baked in a tandoor.
Usually, the local women bake lavash in bulk and then store them to eat over time. Interesting to know, that lavash can be kept for 1 year without turning bad. In Armenian villages, people also stack the dried lavash high in layers to be used later, and when the time comes to use the bread, they sprinkle it with water to make it softer again.
On the other hand, Armenians can’t imagine having their meals without bread. Even when they eat rice or potato, they need to have a piece or maybe more bread with it.
In 2014, Lavash was described by the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as “an expression of Armenian culture”
The orange color of the Armenian flag actually symbolizes the apricot. That’s how significant apricots are to Armenia! In markets, you can find vendors selling apricots of all sorts from dried apricot to fresh ones, apricot flavored wine, apricot juice and anything else that you can think of.
There’s a famous belief in Armenia that Noah’s Ark is embedded in ice atop Mount Ararat. Needless to say, Mount Ararat is the principal national symbol of Armenia and Armenian people are perceiving it as a sacred mount.
There are many highlights about mount Ararat and its meaning in Armenian literature and art. Moreover, it is an icon for Armenian patriotism. Along with Noah’s Ark, Mount Ararat appears on the coat of arms of Armenia.
Yerevan as a center of innovation
Finally, we can’t miss the fact that Armenia and its capital Yerevan are the new centers of creativity and innovation. The Armenian tech industry is growing at an annual rate of 20%, greatly exceeding the country’s 2% economic growth. Annual tech revenues from some 400 IT companies make up $475M.
Furthermore, this autumn Yerevan will host the WCIT – World Congress on Information Technology. This is an annual congress where the world’s leading technology thinkers and innovators gather to discuss the key questions facing the industry and the world.
This year the main theme of the discussion will be the following: “Fulfilling the Promise of the Digital Age- The Power of Decentralization“. More than 2000 high-level public and public sector representatives from over 60 countries, including heads of state, investors, startup founders, and academic thought leaders will gather together for the World Congress on Information Technology.
In conclusion, we can proudly say that Armenia is one of the oldest countries in the world and it has so many things to show to his guests: starting from his rich cultural heritage, his unbelievable rocky nature, delicious food, the oldest winemaking history and of course, his fast-growing IT sector which is bringing more and more investors to Armenia.