Why should visit Armenia?
Every season in Armenia has its own bright colors, beautiful nature, and amazing flavors. Every season has its prominence, whether the snow-white winter wonderland, the golden autumn, the colorful spring, or the sunny summer with a bounty of aromatic and delicious fruits and vegetables. Great things come in small packages, in this case, small landmasses. Whether by land or air, this ancient land of Armenia awaits you to explore its riches and begin your adventure.
The duduk, the Armenian oboe, is a double-reed wind instrument characterized by a warm, soft, slightly nasal timbre. It belongs to the category of aerophones, which also includes the balaban played in Azerbaijan and Iran, the duduki common in Georgia and the ney in Turkey.The soft wood of the apricot tree is the ideal material for the body of the instrument. The reed, called ghamish or yegheg, is a local plant growing alongside the Arax River.
The roots of Armenian duduk music go back to the times of the Armenian king Tigran the Great (95-55 BC). It accompanies popular Armenian traditional songs and dances of the various regions and is played at events, such as weddings and funerals. Although there are also famous duduk soloists, among them Gevorg Dabaghyan and Vache Sharafyan, the duduk is usually played by two musicians. One player creates the musical environment for the lead melody by playing a continual drone held by circular breathing, while the other player develops complex melodies and improvisations.
There are four major types of duduk, varying in length from 28 to 40 cm. This variety allows the sound of the duduk to express various moods depending on the content of the piece and the playing context. The 40-cm long duduk, for example, is regarded as most appropriate for love songs, whereas the smaller one usually accompanies dances. Today, duduk craftsmen continue to create and experiment with different forms of duduks. Many Armenians consider the duduk as the instrument that most eloquently expresses warmth, joy and their history.
Khachkars are outdoor steles carved from stone by craftspeople in Armenia and communities in the Armenian diaspora. They act as a focal point for worship, as memorial stones and as relics facilitating communication between the secular and divine. Khachkars reach 1.5 metres in height, and have an ornamentally carved cross in the middle, resting on the symbol of a sun or wheel of eternity, accompanied by vegetative-geometric motifs, carvings of saints and animals. Khachkars are created usually using local stone and carved using chisel, die, sharp pens and hammers. The carvings are then ground using fine sand. Small breaks and rough surfaces are eliminated by plaster of clay or lime, and then painted. Once finished, the Khachkar is erected during a small religious ceremony. After being blessed and anointed, the Khachkar is believed to possess holy powers and can provide help, protection, victory, long life, remembrance and mediation towards salvation of the soul. Among more than 50,000 Khachkars in Armenia, each has its own pattern, and no two are alike. Khachkar craftsmanship is transmitted through families or from master to apprentice, teaching the traditional methods and patterns, while encouraging regional distinctiveness and individual improvisation.
Kochari is a traditional dance that is widely performed throughout Armenia during holidays, festive celebrations, family ceremonies and other social events. It is open to all participants, irrespective of age, gender or social status. Kochari provides a sense of shared identity and solidarity, contributes to the continuity of historical, cultural and ethnic memory, and fosters mutual respect among community members of all ages.
The Armenian epic Daredevils of Sassoun recounts the story of David of Sassoun, a defiant and self-reliant youth, who by the grace of God defends his homeland in an unequal duel against the evil. The epic falls within the tradition of heroic folktales that dramatize and voice the deepest sentiments and aspirations of a nation. The epic is told in a lyrical voice with rhythmic enunciation, while separate cantos are sung in a rhyming poetic style. It is performed annually on the first Saturday of October (Epic Day holiday in some villages), during weddings, birthdays, christenings and major national cultural events. Usually the epos teller sits, wearing national costume and is accompanied on the duduk, a woodwind instrument.
Lavash is a traditional thin bread that forms an integral part of Armenian cuisine. Its preparation is typically undertaken by a small group of women, and requires great effort, coordination, experience and special skills. A simple dough made of wheat flour and water is kneaded and formed into balls, which are then rolled into thin layers and stretched over a special oval cushion that is then slapped against the wall of a traditional conical clay oven. After thirty seconds to a minute, the baked bread is pulled from the oven wall. Lavash is commonly served rolled around local cheeses, greens or meats, and can be preserved for up to six months. It plays a ritual role in weddings, where it is placed on the shoulders of newlyweds to bring fertility and prosperity. The group work in baking lavash strengthens family, community and social ties.