Yazidis in Armenia

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Yazidis in Armenia
Total population
35,272[1] (2011, census)
Regions with significant populations
Armavir, Aragatsotn, Ararat, Kotayk provinces and Yerevan
Kurmanji (Kurdish), Armenian, Russian

Yazidis in Armenia (Armenian: Եզդիները Հայաստանում,[2] Kurdish: Êzîdî li Ermenîstanê[3]) are a subgroup of Yazidis settled in Armenia, where they form the largest minority group. They are recognized as a distinct ethnic group in Armenia[4] and are well integrated into the Armenian society, with freedom of religion and non-interference in their cultural traditions.


Early 20th century[edit]

Many Yazidis came to the Russian Empire (now the territory of 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.[5] The first ever Yazidi school was opened in Armenia in 1920.[6]

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 SSR'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 52,700. Also need to note that in Karabakh war participated more than 500 yezidis by ethnicity, they have a detachment "Jangir Agha" headed by Aziz Tamoyan.[6]

Many Yezidis volunteered during the Karabakh conflict to fight on the Armenian side.[6]

Present situation[edit]


According to the 2011 census, there are 35,272 Yazidis in Armenia.[1] Ten years earlier, in the 2001 census, 40,620 Yazidis were registered in Armenia.[7] Media have estimated the number of Yazidis in Armenia as between 30,000 and 50,000. Most of them are descendants of refugees to Armenia following the persecution during Ottoman rule, including during the Armenian Genocide, when many Armenians found refuge in Yazidi villages.[8] A minority of Yazidis in Armenia (around 3,600) converted to Christianity,[9] but they are not accepted by the other Yazidis as Yazidis.[10]

Age structure[edit]

Ethnic Yazidis have a slightly younger population compared to ethnic Armenians. Almost 54 percent is under thirty years old, while 8 percent is aged sixty or more.

Population (urban, rural) by Ethnicity, Sex and Age as of 2011 census[11]
Ethnic group Total 0 – 9 10 – 19 20 – 29 30 – 39 40 – 49 50 – 59 60+
Yazidis 35,308 5,984 6,236 6,795 5,193 4,645 3,624 2,831
Share per age group (%) 100.0 16.9 17.7 19.2 14.7 13.2 10.3 8.0

Political rights[edit]

Election Code of Armenia guarantees one seat in the National Assembly to Yazid minority.[12]

Memorials and religious sites[edit]

In 2016 a memorial for fallen Yazids is installed in Yerevan downtown in the park at the crossing of Isahakyan and Nalbandyan streets.[13][14]

As of 2016, the world's largest Yazidi temple is under construction in the small village of Aknalich.[15]

Foreign evaluations of Yazid rights[edit]

US 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 school 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. The textbooks are Aziz. and Hasan Shex Mamude. Also through Armenian government support a first Yezidi newspaper was published named Ezdikhana (ex. name: Denge Ezdia or Yezidi Voice).[16]

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".[17]


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 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]

Aknalich Yazidi Temple

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

On 29 September 2012 Yazidis opened their first temple outside their Lalish homeland - the temple of "Ziarat" in Aknalich village in Armavir province of Armenia.[18][19] In August 2015 an architectural design for a new temple in Aknalich was released; the temple is planned to be completed in 2017.[20] This temple, the world's largest Yazidi temple, was built nex to the Ziarat temple and has been finally opened in September 2019, under the name "Quba Mere Diwane".[21]

Ararat Province[edit]

The only Yazidi village is Verin Artashat, near Artashat.

Notable Armenian-Yazidi people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "2011 Armenian census" (PDF). National Statistical Service. 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Ինչ բիզնեսներ ունեն եզդիները` Հայաստանում". Arevelk (in Armenian). Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Hêjeya Êzîdiyan li Ermenîstanê Êzîdî ya Gurcistanê ye" (in Kurdish). Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  4. ^ "The Ethnic Minorities of Armenia" (PDF). Yerevan. 2002.
  5. ^ Ian S. McIntosh. "A Conditional Coexistence:Yezidi in Armenia". Archived from the original on 2007-12-23.
  6. ^ a b c "THE ETHNIC MINORITIES OF ARMENIA" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-07-10. This publications has been made possible due to the support by the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with the assistance of the OSCE Office in Yerevan
  7. ^ "De Jure Population (Urban, Rural) by Age and Ethnicity" (PDF). National Statistical Service. 2001. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  8. ^ Torikian, Aren (27 August 2014). "Confronting the Yazidi Genocide". The Armenian Weekly.
  9. ^ "Population (urban, rural) by Ethnicity, Sex and Religious Belief" (PDF). Statistics of Armenia. Statistics of Armenia. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  10. ^ Aghayeva, Elene Shengelia, Rana (2018-09-06). "Georgia's Yazidis: Religion as Identity - Religious Beliefs". chai-khana.org. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  11. ^ "Population (urban, rural) by Ethnicity, Sex and Age" (PDF). www.armstat.am.
  12. ^ "DocumentView". www.arlis.am. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  13. ^ hy:Եզդի ժողովրդի անմեղ զոհերի հուշարձան-կոթող (Երևան)
  14. ^ "Genocide Museum | The Armenian Genocide Museum-institute". www.genocide-museum.am. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  15. ^ Sherwood, Harriet (25 July 2016). "World's largest Yazidi temple under construction in Armenia". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  16. ^ "Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Armenia". State.gov. 2005-02-28. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  17. ^ "Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Armenia". State.gov. 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  18. ^ [1] Archived April 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Ziarat Day". ArmeniaNow.com. 2012-09-29. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  20. ^ "New Temple In Armenia: Laying Of Foundation Stone To Start In September – EzidiPress English". Ezidipress.com. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  21. ^ Omar, Shahla (2019-09-30). "World's largest Yezidi temple opens in Armenia". Rudaw.net. Retrieved 2019-10-01.