Yazidis in Armenia

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Yazidis in Armenia
Total population
40,620 (2001)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Armavir, Aragatsotn, Ararat, Kotayk provinces and Yerevan

Kurmanji Kurdish: 31,310 (77.1%)
Armenian: 5,278 (12.9%)
Russian: 230 (0.6%)

Other: 3,802 (9.4%)
Related ethnic groups

The Yazidis (Armenian: Եզդիներ Yezdiner) are the largest ethnic and religious minority in Armenia. They are well integrated into the Armenian society. They have freedom of religion and non-interference in their cultural traditions.


Early 20th century[edit]

Many Yazidis came to Armenia and Georgia during the 19th and early 20th centuries to escape religious persecution, as they were oppressed by the Ottoman Turks and the Sunni Kurds who tried to convert them to Islam. The Yazidis were massacred alongside the Armenians during the Armenian Genocide, causing many to flee to Russian held parts of Armenia.[2] The first ever Yazidi school opened in Armenia in 1920.[3]

Nagorno-Karabakh War[edit]

The Yezidi movement erupting in Armenia in 1988 appealed to the 3rd All-Armenian Yezidi Assembly convened on 30 September 1989 (the two previous Assemblies occurred at the dawn of the Armenian Soviet Republic’s history, in 1921 and 1923) to challenge the Government for the official recognition of their identity. As a result, the Yezidis were presented as a separate minority in the USSR population census of 1989. According to this very census, the total count of Yezidis in Armenia was 52700. Thus, of ca. 60 000 persons formerly classified among the Kurds of Armenia, 88% identified themselves as Yezidi.[4]

The Armenia’s Yezidis many times showed gallantry and patriotism, particularly during the Karabakh conflict when many of their volunteers spilled their blood in the defense of Armenia.[3][5]

Present situation[edit]

According to the 2001 Census, there are about 40,620 Yazidis in Armenia.[1]

Reports on the relations between Yazidis and the Armenian government have been mixed.

According to a 2004 U.S. Department of State human rights report, Yazidis are subjected to some harassment in Armenia. Attendance rates among children in the Yezidi ethnic minority continued to be lower than average, partially due to economic reasons, a lack of Yezidi teachers and books, and the early removal of teenage girls from schools for marriage. In 2006 the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) supported the government's effort to publish textbooks for ethnic minorities, and in 2007 new Yezidi language textbooks appeared in some Yezidi schools around the country.[6]

According to a 2007 U.S. Department of State human rights report, "As in previous years, Yezidi leaders did not complain that police and local authorities subjected their community to discrimination".[7]


Yazidis in Armenia by provinces
Province (marz) Yazidis  % of Yazidis in Armenia
Armavir 17,665
Aragatsotn 6,405
Ararat 5,940
Yerevan 4,733
Kotayk 4,097
Shirak 974
Lori 793
Gegharkunik 8
Syunik 4
Tavush 1
Vayots Dzor 0
Total 40,620 100%

There are 22 rural settlements in the Republic of Armenia with Yazidi majority. The biggest Yazidi village in Armenia is Verin Artashat in Ararat Province with 4,270 residents.

Aragatsotn Province[edit]

There are 19 Yazidi-inhabited villages in Aragatsotn Province.

Aragats district Talin district Ashtarak district

Armavir Province[edit]

There are two Yazidi villages in Armavir Province: Yeraskhahun and Ferik, both in Ejmiatsin district.

On 29 September 2012 Yezidis opened their first temple outside their Lalish homeland - the temple of "Zariat" in Armavir province of Armenia.[8]

Ararat Province[edit]

The only Yazidi village is Verin Artashat, near Artashat.

Notable Armenian-Yazidi people[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]