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
Northern Kurdish (Kurmanci), Armenian, Russian
Related ethnic groups
distinct ethno-religious group

Yazidis in Armenia (Armenian: Եզդիներ Yezdiner, Kurdish: Êzidî Yezidi, Russian: Езиды Yezidi) are a Kurdish subgroup and 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 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.[2] The first ever Yazidi school was 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 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. Thus, of ca. 60,000 persons formerly classified among the Kurds of Armenia, 88% identified themselves as Yezidi.[4]

Many Yezidis volunteered during the Karabakh conflict to fight on the Armenian side.[3][4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

In 2016 a memorial for fallen Yazids is installed in Yerevan downtown in the park at the crossing of Isahakyan and Nalbandyan streets. [7]

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.[8]

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".[9]

As of 2016, the world's largest Yazidi temple is under construction in the small village of Aknalich.[10]


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 Yazidis opened their first temple outside their Lalish homeland - the temple of "Ziarat" in Aknalich village in Armavir province of Armenia.[11][12] In August 2015 an architectural design for a new temple in Aknalich was released; the temple is planned to be completed in 2017.[13]

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. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20071223113150/ Archived from the original on December 23, 2007. Retrieved February 19, 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b [1] Archived January 10, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b "The Ethnic Minorities of Armenia" (PDF). Web.archive.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2015-09-19. 
  5. ^ "De Jure Population (Urban, Rural) by Age and Ethnicity" (PDF). National Statistical Service. 2001. Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  6. ^ http://armenianweekly.com/2014/08/27/confronting-yezidid-genocide/
  7. ^ https://hy.wikipedia.org/wiki/Եզդի_ժողովրդի_անմեղ_զոհերի_հուշարձան-կոթող_(Երևան)
  8. ^ "Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Armenia". State.gov. 2005-02-28. Retrieved 2015-09-19. 
  9. ^ "Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Armenia". State.gov. 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2015-09-19. 
  10. ^ Sherwood, Harriet (25 July 2016). "World's largest Yazidi temple under construction in Armenia". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 July 2016. 
  11. ^ [2] Archived April 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "Ziarat Day". ArmeniaNow.com. 2012-09-29. Retrieved 2015-09-19. 
  13. ^ "New Temple In Armenia: Laying Of Foundation Stone To Start In September – EzidiPress English". Ezidipress.com. Retrieved 2015-09-19. 

External links[edit]

  • The Armenian Portrait of the Peacock Angel (A polemical review of Garnik Asatrian and Victoria Arakelova’s The Religion of the Peacock Angel. The Yezidis and Their Spirit World')