Armavir Province

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For other uses, see Armavir (disambiguation).
Location of Armavir within Armenia
Location of Armavir within Armenia
Coordinates: 40°09′N 44°03′E / 40.150°N 44.050°E / 40.150; 44.050Coordinates: 40°09′N 44°03′E / 40.150°N 44.050°E / 40.150; 44.050
Country Armenia
Largest city
 • Governor Ashot Ghahramanyan
 • Total 1,242 km2 (480 sq mi)
Area rank 10th
Population (2011[1])
 • Total 265,770
 • Rank 3rd
 • Density 210/km2 (550/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+04
Postal code 0901-1149
ISO 3166 code AM.AV
FIPS 10-4 AM03
Website official website

Armavir (Armenian: Արմավիր), is a province (marz) in the western part of Armenia. Its capital is Armavir, and the largest city is Vagharshapat. It is located in the Ararat valley, between Mount Ararat and Mount Aragats, and shares a 45-mile border with Turkey to the south and west.

The province is home to the spiritual centre of the Armenian nation; the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is the seat of the Catholicos of All Armenians.

The province is named after the ancient city of Armavir founded in 331 BC. The province is also the site of the decisive Battle of Sardarabad in 1918 that resulted in the foundation of the Republic of Armenia. The battle is seen as a crucial historical event not only by stopping the Turkish advance into the rest of Armenia but also preventing the complete destruction of the Armenian nation.[2]

The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant is also located in Amravir Province near the town of Metsamor.

The Yerevan Zvartnots International Airport is located near the village of Parakar in Armavir Province (12 km west of Yerevan).


The province is named after the ancient city of Armavir, one of the 13 historic capitals of Armenia. According to Movses Khorenatsi, ancient Armavir was built by Aramayis; the grandson of Hayk, who moved from Taron to the Ararat plain.


Aerial view of Ararat plain in the Armavir region

Armavir has an area of 1,242 km2 (4.2% of total area of Armenia) making it the smallest province of the country in terms of the total area. It is bordered by the Turkish provinces of Kars from the wst and Iğdır from the south, with a length of 130.5 km bordrerline, where Aras River separates Armenia from Turkey. Domestically, it is bordered by Aragatsotn Province from the north, Ararat Province from the east and the capital Yerevan from the northeast.

Historically, the current territory of the province mainly occupies the canton of Aragatsotn, along with small parts of Arsharunik and Masyatsotn cantons of the Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenia.

The province is entirely located at the heart of the Ararat plain, mainly consisted of agricultural lands.

Metsamor river (also known as Sevjur river) is the only river that originates from the province.


Standing stones at the ruins of Metsamor Castle dating back to the 5th millennium BC

The territory of ancient Armavir was inhabited since the 5th millennium BC. Many sites including the Metsamor Castle, Shresh hill and Mokhrablur hill date back to the neolithic period. The ancient Urartian settlement of Argishtikhinili was founded in 776 BC by king Argishti I. One of the oldest written records about the region was found in the inscriptions left by the Urartian king Rusa II (685–645 BC). It is believed that the town of Vagharshapat was founded by king Rusa II in 685 BC as Kuarlini (Կուարլինի).

According to Movses Khorenatsi, the territories of modern-day Armavir Province mainly occupy the central part of the historic Ayrarat province at the centre of the Armenian Highland. It contains parts of the Aragatsotn canton along with small parts of the Arsharunik and Masyatsotn. The territory was among the most important regions of ancient Armenia since the Urartu period. Its strategic importance had significantly grown with the establishment of the Kingdom of Armenia in 331 BC by the Orontid Dynasty.

3 of the historic capital of Armenia are located in modern-day Armavir. The ancient city of Armavir became the capital in 331 BC until 210 BC. It was replaced by the nearby city of Yervandashat which remained the capital of the kingdom until 176 BC, under the reign of the Artaxiad dynasty. Between 120 and 330 AD, the capital of the kingdom was the city of Vagharshapat under the Arsacid dynasty.

After the Christianization of Armenia in 301, Vagharshapat became the spiritual centre of the Armenians worldwide. In 405, Mesrop Mashtots introduced the newly-created Armenian alphabet to the Armenians in Vagharshapat. After the fall of the Armenian Kingdom in 428, the region became part of the Sasanian Empire of Persia until the Arab conquest of Armenia in the mid-7th century.

By the end of the 9th century, the region became part of the newly-established Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia. Between the 11th and 15th centuries, the region suffered from the Seljuk, Mongol, Ag Qoyunlu and Kara Koyunlu invasions, respectively. However, the town of Vagharshapat restored its importance in 1441 when the seat of the Armenian Catholicosate was transferred from the Cilician city of Sis back to Etchmiadzin.

The memorial dedicated to the Armenian victory at the battle of Sardarabad near Araks, Armavir Province

At the beginning of the 16th century, the territory of modern-day Armavir became part of the Erivan Beglarbegi within the Safavid Persia. During the first half of the 18th century, the territory became part of the Erivan Khanate under the rule of the Afsharid dynasty and later under the Qajar dynasty of Persia. It remained under the Persian rule until 1827-1828, when Eastern Armenia was ceded by the Russian Empire as a result of the Russo-Persian War of 1826–28 and the signing of the Treaty of Turkmenchay.

After the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917, the Ottoman Army intended to crush Armenia and seize the Russian Transcaucasia and the oil wells of Baku. In May 1918, the Ottoman forces attacked Eastern Armenia in 3 fronts. At the northern front, the Ottomans reached Karakilisa (nowadays Vanadzor) on May 20 almost without resistance. The 2nd front was through the town of Aparan while the 3rd and largest front was through the town of Sardarabad (nowadays Araks) in the Armavir region. On May 21, the detachment of Zihni Bey defeated an Armenian unit composed of 600 infantry and 250 cavalry, and then took over Sardarabad.[3] Afterwards, the Ottoman forces advanced towards the village of Yeghegnut. The Armenian offensive led by Daniel Bek-Pirumian and Movses Silikyan was launched in 22 May. As a result of the decisive Armenian victories over the Turks on the 3 fronts of Sardarabad, Abaran, and Gharakilisa, the Armavir region became part of the independent Armenia by the end of May 1918.

After 2 years of brief independence, Armenia became part of the Soviet Union in December 1920. From 1930 until 1995, modern-day Armavir was divided into 3 raions within the Armenian SSR: Baghramyan raion, Hoktemberyan raion, and Etchmiadzin raion. With the territorial administration reform of 1995, the 3 raions were merged to form the Armavir Province.


The village of Yervandashat. The heights in the background are the site of ancient Yervandashat

According to the 2011 official census, Armavir has a population of 265,770 (130,078 men and 135,692 women), forming around 8.8% of the entire population of Armenia. The urban population is 85,050 (32%) and the rural is 180,720 (68%). The province has 3 urban and 94 rural communities. The largest urban community is the town of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), with a population of 46,540. The other urban centres are Armavir and Metsamor.

With a population of 5,584, the village of Parakar is the largest rural municipality of Armavir.

Ethnic groups and religion[edit]

The majority of the Armavir Province population are ethnic Armenians who belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The regulating body of the church is the Diocese of Armavir, headed by Bishop Sion Adamyan. The (Holy Mother of God Cathedral in Vagharshapat is the seat of the diocese.

However, there is a significant number of Yazidis in Armavir totaling around 5,000 people, mainly in the villages of Zartonk, Yeraskhahun, Nalbandyan, Yeghegnut, Artashar, Nor Artagers and the small village of Ferik where the Yazidis form the majority.

The village of Nor Artagers is also home to a small Assyrian community totaling around 260 people.[4] They belong to the Assyrian Church of the East.



Occupying a major part of the fertile Ararat plain, Armavir Province has a major contribution in the agricultural sector of the Republic of Armenia. The economy of the province is largely based on agriculture, including farming and cattle-breeding. Around 78% (970 km²) of the total area of the province are arable lands, out of which 40% (388 km²) are ploughed.[5] The main crops are grapes, apricot, peach, plum, grains, dry seeds and vegetables. Currently, the province has a contribution of 17.8% in the annual total agricultural product of Armenia.

The Baghramyan and Arax poultry farms are located in the villages of Myasnikyan and Jrarbi respectively.

Recently, fish farming has significantly developed in the province.[6]


The province has a contribution of 4% in the annual total industrial product of Armenia.[7] The industry of the province is mainly based on food-processing. The "MAP" company in Lenughi, "Karas" company in Arevadasht, and the Armavir brandy factory are the leading wine and brandy producers in the province.

The Echmiadzin dairy factory is one of the major producers of dairy products in Armenia, while the glass factory of Armavir is a major glass container producer for the entire republic.

Being located near the capital Yerevan, the villages of Parakar and Tairov are home to a large number of small and middle-size plants, including furniture manufacturing workshops and producers of polymeric materials. The village of Musaler is home to a factory for polyethylene products and a plant for heavy-duty paper products. The village of Merdzavan has a clothing and sewing factory.

The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant is the largest plant in Armavir and the entire republic. It was opened in 1969 near the town of Metsamor and produces around 40% of the consumed electricity in Armenia.


The province is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Etchmiadzin Cathedral, Zvartnots Cathedral, Saint Hripsime Church, Saint Gayane Church and Shoghakat Church, grouped overall as the Cathedral and Churches of Echmiatsin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots.

Although it is the spiritual and religious centre of the Armenian nation worldwide, the tourism services in the province are not developed enough.[8] However, being home to the Zvartnots International Airport, Parakar is home to many gambling houses and night clubs.

The Vordan Karmir Sanctuary is the only protected natural area in the province. It is home to the Armenian cochineal, an insect that formerly used to produce an eponymous crimson carmine dyestuff known in Armenia as vordan karmir. The red dye of the insect was largely used in Armenian miniatures as well as other types of artworks throughout the history of ancient and medieval Armenia.


Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Manuscript Depository

The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in Vagharshapat is home to the Gevorkian Theological Seminary (theological university) of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is also home to the Karekin I Centre of Theology and Armenology.

The province has the private "Grigor Lusavorich University" (uncredited) in the town of Vagharshapat. As of the 2015-16 educational year, Armavir has 119 schools, as well as 2 schools for special needs.[9] As of the end of 2015, the number of the students in the schools of the province is 31,100.[10]

During the Soviet period, there were 98 public libraries in Armavir with only 21 of them are still functioning.

The Etchmiadzin complex has a number of museums and libraries:

  • Catholicosal Museum,
  • Etchmiadzin Cathedral Museum,
  • Khrimian Museum,
  • Alex and Marie Manoogian Treasury House,
  • Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Manuscript Depository,
  • Printing house and Bookstore of the Mother See.


The Jubilee Stadium in July 2014, during the FIFA "Live Your Goals" program

Football is the most popular sport in the province. FC Armavir represented the town of Armavir in the domestic football competitions between 1965 and 2003 before being dissolved due to financial difficulties. Likewise, FC Vagharshapat represented Etchmiadizn between 1967 and 2005 before being dissolved.

The Jubilee Stadium of Armavir is the 3rd-largest football venue in Armenia.

The town of Vagharshapat is also home to a football stadium with minor capacity.


Fortresses and archaeological sites[edit]

Menhirs of Metsamor

Churches and monasteries[edit]

Saint Hripsimé Church of 618



Armavir Province was formed after the new law of 4 September 1995, regarding the Administrative-territorial division of the Republic of Armenia.

The province consists of the following 97 communities (hamaynkner), of which 3 are considered urban and 94 are considered rural.[11]

Towns or urban communities[edit]

Image City (town) Province Founded Land area (km2) Population (2011 census)
Armavir central square.jpg Armavir Armavir 1931 6 29,319
Metsamor town view.jpg Metsamor Armavir 1969 4 9,191
Edschmiatsin Armenia.jpg Vagharshapat Armavir 685 BC 13 46,540

Villages or rural communities[edit]

Non-community villages[edit]



  1. ^ Armavir population, 2011 census
  2. ^ Balakian, Peter. The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America's Response. New York: HarperCollins, 2003, p. 321 ISBN 0-06-055870-9
  3. ^ (Turkish) T.C. Genelkurmay Başkanlığı. Birinci Dünya Harbi'nde Türk Harbi Kafkas Cephesi: 3 ncü Ordu Harekâtı [The Turkish Campaign on the Caucasus Front during the First World War: The Operations of the 3rd Army], T.C. Genelkurmay Başkanlığı Basım Evi, 1993, p. 516.
  4. ^ The ethnic minorities of Armavir Province
  5. ^ Armavir.agro general information
  6. ^ Armavir general information: Economy
  7. ^ Armstat: Armavir
  8. ^ Armavir: general information
  9. ^ Armavir province schools list
  10. ^ Armradio: Armavir province students and schools
  11. ^ "RA Armavir Marz" (PDF). Marzes of the Republic of Armenia in Figures, 2002–2006. National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia. 2007. 

External links[edit]