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Armenia Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Europe
Full Name: Republic of Armenia
Capital City: Yerevan
Language Spoken: Armenian 97.7%, Yezidi 1%,Russian 0.9%, other 0.4% (2001 census)

Armenia Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

40 00 N, 45 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Debed River 400 m highest point: Aragats Lerrnagagat' 4,090 m

Land boundaries

total: 1,254 km border countries: Azerbaijan-proper 566 km, Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave 221 km, Georgia 164 km, Iran 35 km, Turkey 268 km

Natural hazards

occasionally severe earthquakes; droughts

Natural resources

small deposits of gold, copper, molybdenum, zinc, alumina

Land use

arable land: 16.78% permanent crops: 2.01% other: 81.21% (2005)

Environmental current issues

soil pollution from toxic chemicals such as DDT; the energy crisis of the 1990s led to deforestation when citizens scavenged for firewood; pollution of Hrazdan (Razdan) and Aras Rivers; the draining of Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan), a result of its use as a source for hydropower, threatens drinking water supplies; restart of Metsamor nuclear power plant in spite of its location in a seismically active zone

Climate

Continental, mountain climate (over 90 per cent of the territory of the republic is over 900m/2286ft above sea level). During the summer, days can be hot and dry with temperatures falling sharply at night. Winters are extremely cold with heavy snow. May to June and September to October are good times to visit the country, as the weather is warm but mild.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+4 daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Population

2,976,372 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.5% (male 322,189/female 286,944) 15-64 years: 68.4% (male 949,975/female 1,085,484) 65 years and over: 11.1% (male 133,411/female 198,369) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 30.4 years male: 27.8 years female: 33.2 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.19% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

12.07 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

8.23 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

-5.72 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.17 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.12 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female total population: 0.9 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 71.84 years male: 68.25 years female: 76.02 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.33 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Business visitors should be aware that in many cases, every stage of their contacts/negotiations with Armenian businessmen may be accompanied by much wining and dining. Giving gifts, visits to homes and historic sites in the countryside are also common. Foreign contacts should not be discouraged by belated replies to their inquiries, letters, and faxes, or by the lack of a reply. Reliable international communication is very expensive and often not accessible to many Armenians. This, combined with old Soviet-era working habits, means that many Armenian firms answer only correspondence that is of vital interest to them. The need to respond promptly is, however, gradually becoming accepted in the Armenian business community. Due to differences in interpretation and understanding of some business terminology (some of which is very new for Armenia), businessmen should make absolutely sure that the content of their communications, negotiations and agreements with Armenian partners are thoroughly understood. Information resources in Armenia are mainly concentrated in the hands of state ministries and agencies, employees of which, below the top management level, have no decision making power or access to information. Often, they are unwilling to provide necessary information. Corruption is a factor in the majority of state organizations in Armenia, including such enforcement bodies as police and customs departments. Though foreigners are largely exempt, there may be cases where officials will delay a process, and let you know directly or indirectly that a good "tip" may fix things immediately.

Crime

The overall crime and safety situation in Armenia continues to be a concern for expatriates. Criminals often target expatriates as victims of assault, robbery and burglary. Criminals are often armed with edged weapons, and may use force if resisted. Break-in/thefts from residences and vehicles, and pickpocketing-type incidents are common occurrences. Street crime continues to rise (especially car break-ins and robberies). Unlike other countries in the region, carjackings have not yet become a widespread problem. Visitors to Armenia should exercise the same common sense precautions that would apply in a comparably sized city. Pay particular attention to your surroundings in crowded market areas. Embassy officials recommend avoiding carrying passports, credit cards or airplane tickets. If nighttime travel is necessary, carry a flashlight - sidewalks are in poor condition and stairwells are seldom lighted, and are a common site of criminal attack. Lock valuables out of sight in vehicles and use a lockable gas cap. Private security companies provide little professional training and very low pay to their staffs, and are not recommended. Local residents often do not bother to call police in order to report minor crimes due to their ineffectiveness and the fact that low level police are so poorly paid that they often solicit bribes to perform their duties. Police will often blame expat victims for the crimes perpetrated against them. Since 2006 began, the Armenian press has reported a rise in organized crime activity. This does not normally affect tourists, however.

Hotels

Hotels previously run by Intourist are now mostly being privatized. In Yerevan the new Armenia Hotel is an Armenian/German joint venture, functioning exclusively in foreign currency and supplied with power from its own generators. The Hotel Hrazdan, mainly occupied by foreign missions, also has its own generator, but is state-owned and functions primarily as a guesthouse for official visitors. Private individuals may occasionally be allowed to stay there by special arrangement. The Hotel Dvin, opposite the Hrazdan, is less comfortable but has privileged supplies of electricity and running water. It also has a satellite telephone service for guests. The main hotels inlcude: Hotel Armenia, One Amiryan Street, Yerevan 375010; Tel: (374-2)525-393, 560-844, 569-040; Fax: (374-2)151-802, Hotel BASS, 3 Aigedzor St., Yerevan 375019: tel: (374-2) 221-353, 26-41-56 HyBusiness Suites (hotel & office rent, American-Armenian Joint Venture) 8 Hanrapetutyan St., Yerevan, 375010, Artmenia. Tel:(374-2) 523-983, 583-543, 580-070 fax: (374-2) 151-678. Hotel Hrazdan, 72 Pionerakan St., Yerevan, 375002; Tel: (374-2)535-332, 535-302; Fax: (374-2)537-095 (reservations require governmental permission) Hotel Ani, 19 Sayat-Nova Ave, Yerevan, 275010; Tel: (374-2)523-961, 582-638, Fax:(374-2)520-545. Hotel Dvin, 40 Paronyan St., Yerevan, 375002; Tel: (374-2) 536-343; Fax:(374-2)151-528. Hotel Erebuni, 26/1 Nalbandyan St., Yerevan, 375010; Tel: (374-2)564-943, 584-834. Hotel ARMA, 275, Norgi Ayginer, Yerevan; Tel: (374-2)581-843, 654-221, gov.tel:56-36, Fax: (374-2)522-779.

Communications

The regular Armenian telephone network provides direct-dial long distance service only to NIS destinations. International calls outside of NIS require operator assistance by calling 05 and reserving a call. The connection is normally made within 5-15 minutes. The telecom network in Yerevan is currently being completely modernized and digitized by ArmenTel - an American- Armenian joint venture. The company also operates paging and cellular service. It is expected that by the end of 1999, downtown Yerevan will enjoy reliable and digital direct-dial telephone service. E-mail services are rendered by the providers based in Yerevan: ARMINCO LLC. 28 Isahakyan St. Yerevan, 375009, Armenia; tel:(374-2) 526-326, 281-425, Fax:(374-2)285-082; E-mail: [email protected] and [email protected] INFOCOM, 22 Saryan Street, floor 4, Yerevan, 375002, Armenia; Tel & fax: 7(8852)528-856, or 151-926; E-mail: [email protected]

Electricity

is a 220 Volts AC50Hz. Power shortages and blackouts are common. Electricity 220 volts AC, 50Hz. European plugs with two round pins are used.

Plug Types

C,F

Food And Dining

A restaurant and cafe culture is starting to flourish again in Armenia, with street stalls and privately run establishments replacing the colorless state restaurants typical of the Soviet era. New cafes and restaurants open daily. Many of the cafes are in parks, and are very popular in summer with locals and tourists alike. Things to know: Much Armenian cooking is based on lamb, either grilled and served as shashlik with flat bread, or prepared as soup (the most popular being bozbash, a dish which exists in infinite variations) or stew, often in combination with fruit or nuts. A meal usually starts with a large spread of hors d'oeuvres, which may include peppers and vine leaves stuffed with rice and meat, pickled and fresh vegetables, salty white sheep's cheese eaten with fresh green herbs and flat bread, and various kinds of cured meat (basturma). During the season following the grape harvest, locals sell effervescent, mildly fermented grape juice from roadside stands. Armenia is also abundant in all kinds of sweet-tasting fruits, from figs to pomegranates to quince. Coffee is served Turkish-style ? strong and black in tiny cups ? although in view of national sensibilities, visitors would be ill-advised to refer to this cultural similarity.

National specialties:
? Sharots (Sujukh) is cooked with grape juice and a dark cherry-colored syrup called doshab.
? Lavash is a think, paper-like bread.
? Shampours are skewers that are jam-packed with all kinds of marinated meat and vegetables
? Delectable walnut jam (popok muraba).
? Tolma (vegetables, grape leaves and lentils).
? Ghapama is pumpkin stew with rice, raisins, apples and cinnamon.
? Khash is a national institution rather than just a dish, with poems and songs throughout the centuries being composed in homage to it: in case you are wondering, khash is a delicious broth made from hamhocks and herbs and served with lots of garlic and bread.
? K'rchik is pickled cabbage cooked with wheat kernels.
? Among Armenia's many varieties of fresh fish available, try steamed Ishkhan (lake trout).
? Almost magical, health-giving properties are ascribed to dried apricots from the Caucasus.
? For dessert, eat a dish made from grape juice, dried into thin sheets of a deep, reddish brown color, and then rolled up into long cylinders around walnuts or other nuts. National drinks:
? Brandies are exceptional (Dvin).
? Kotayk and Kihikia are Armenian beers worth giving a go.
? Armenian wine is well worth tasting: the Areni red wine is particularly lauded and many are semi- sweet or dessert wines and are world-renowned. Legal drinking age: There is no minimum.

Tipping:
Expected by waiters and doormen in restaurants ? sometimes in advance to ensure service. Taxi fares should always be negotiated before starting a journey, and visitors should be aware that rates proposed initially are likely to be unreasonably high, in the expectation that foreigners will have unlimited cash and little idea of how much they ought to be paying. It is therefore advisable to make enquiries about 'going rates' per kilometer of travel before entering into negotiations with taxi drivers. The same applies to market stall holders and so on.

Nightlife
There are restaurants and nightclubs featuring local music in Yerevan. There are several restaurants, clubs and discos. There are several casinos. Opera, theater and ballet performances are of a high standard, and tickets are cheap (about the equivalent of US$5). Armenians love music, from the traditional, liturgical songs (Sharakans) with distinctive musical instruments, to contemporary jazz and pop. There will often be venues accommodating for this at night. There are often concerts at the Philharmonic, Chamber Music Hall and Opera & Ballet House in Yerevan.

Entry departure requirements

N/A

Visa immigration information

N/A

Passports

Passport valid for at least four months required by all.

Visas

Required by all except:
(a) nationals of CIS countries (except Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, who do require a visa);
(b) nationals Serbia & Montenegro;
(c) nationals continuing their journey within 72 hours, provided remaining in the airport transit lounge and holding all documents required for the next destination and confirmed onward ticket

Note

(a) and (b) A letter of invitation may still be required for these nationals when traveling on business. (c) If leaving the airport, a transit visa may be issued on arrival for a stay of maximum three days, provided holding a visa (if required) for the final destination.

Types of visa and cost

Ordinary/Tourist: US$60, US$86 (three day express processing), US$95 (24-hour express processing). Single-entry (with official invitation): US$35. Multiple-entry (with official invitation): US$65. Transit: US$18 (single-entry); US$36 (double entry).
Note: There is no charge for diplomatic and official visas, or for those issued to persons under 18 years of age.

Validity

Tourist/Ordinary: 21 days. Single-entry and Multiple-entry: three months. Transit: three days. Visas must be used within 90 days of date of issue.

Application to

Embassy (or Consular Section at Embassy); see Passport/Visa Information.

Application requirements

(a) Completed application form. (b) One recent passport-size photo. (c) Passport valid for at least four months. (d) Fee, payable by money order or certified cheque. (e) Postal applications should be sent by registered mail or by courier. Single-entry/Multiple-entry: (a)-(e) and, (f) Official invitation letter, duly authorized in Armenia (for stays over 21 days).

Working days required

Seven. Urgent visas can be processed in one or three days for a higher fee (see above).

Temporary residence

For stays of longer than three months, a residency permit must be obtained from the Foreign Ministry in Yerevan.

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax

US$20 per person (usually payable in local currency). Although this is normally paid at the airport, visitors staying in the large hotels may sometimes pay at their hotel, and present the receipt at the airport check-in desk. Transit passengers and children under 12 years of age are exempt.

Embassies

Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in the UK

25A Cheniston Gardens, London W8 6TG, UK
Tel: (020) 7938 5435.
Website: http://uk.mfa.am/en/
E-mail: [email protected]
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 1000-1200 and 1500-1700.

Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in the USA

2225 R Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 319 1976 or 2983 (consular section).
Website: www.armeniaemb.org
Also deals with enquiries from Canada.

Travel Advice

Because of an unresolved dispute over Nagorno Karabakh, all but essential travel near the border with Azerbaijan is advised against. Particular care should be taken in the Tavush and Gegharkunic regions, as there is sporadic gunfire. Vehicles traveling on the road from Ljevan to Noyemberyan are particularly vulnerable. Political demonstrations sometimes turn violent. Internal travel, especially by air, may be disrupted by fuel shortages and other problems.
In addition, you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Tel: (0845) 850 2829.
Website: www.fco.gov.uk

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html

Currency

Armenian Dram (AMD) = 100 luma. Dram notes are printed in denominations of AMD50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5000, 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 25 and 10. Coins are in denominations of AMD500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 1, and 50 and 20 luma. Note: The Government is intending to phase out all banknotes less than AMD500.

Currency restrictions

The import of local and foreign currency is unlimited, however cash amounts in excess of $10,000 or equivalent must be declared. The export of local and foreign currency is unlimited, however cash amounts in excess of US$10,000 or equivalent are prohibited and must be transferred via a bank.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1500. Exchange Offices are open until midnight and also operate at weekends and on public holidays.

Currency exchange

Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the airports, banks and most hotels and shops during normal opening hours. US Dollars are the most widely recognized foreign currency. Visitors using the national currency are advised to carry plenty of small change as some shops and, particularly markets, may be unable to accept large denominations.

Credit cards

Major credit cards are accepted in most cities. ATMS are available in major cities.

Travellers cheques

These are accepted in a few shops and hotels. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Abovian, Kotayk province(0)222+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Agarak, Syunik province(0)286+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Alaverdi, Lori province(0)253+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Amasia, Shirak province(0)246+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Aparan, Aragatsotn province(0)252+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Ararat, Ararat province(0)238+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Armavir, Armavir province(0)237+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Artashat, Ararat province(0)235+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Artik, Shirak province(0)244+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Ashotsk, Shirak province(0)245+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Ashtarak, Aragatsotn province(0)232+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Askeran, Nagorno Karabagh(0)476+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Baghramian, Armavir province(0)233+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Berd, Tavush province(0)267+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Chambarak, Gegharkunik province(0)265+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Charentsavan, Kotayk province(0)226+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Echmiadzin, Armavir province(0)231+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Eghvard, Kotayk province(0)224+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Gavar, Gegharkunik province(0)264+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Goris, Syunik province(0)284+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Gyumri, Shirak province(0)312+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Hadrut, Nagorno Karabagh(0)475+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Hrazdan, Kotayk province(0)223+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Ijevan, Tavush province(0)263+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Jermuk, Vayots Dzor province(0)287+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Kajaran, Syunik province(0)285+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Maralik, Shirak province(0)242+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Martakert, Nagorno Karabagh(0)474+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Martuni, Gegharkunik province(0)262+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Martuni, Nagorno Karabagh(0)478+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Masis, Ararat province(0)236+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Noyemberian, Tavush province(0)266+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Sevan, Gegharkunik province(0)261+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Shushi, Nagorno Karabagh(0)477+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Spitak, Lori province(0)255+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Stepanakert, Nagorno Karabagh(0)471+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Stepanavan, Lori province(0)256+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Tashir, Lori province(0)254+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Vaik, Vayots Dzor province(0)282+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Vanadzor, Lori province(0)322+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Vardenis, Gegharkunik province(0)269+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Vedi, Ararat province(0)234+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Yeghegnadzor, Vayots Dzor province(0)281+ 5 digit subscriber nr
Yerevan(0)10+ 6 digit subscriber nr
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental care in Armenia

Medication Availability

Reliable supplies of medication are not easily available in Armenia

Blood supplies

Blood supplies should be considered as unsafe in Armenia

Medical facilities

Medical care in Armenia is limited. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of English speaking physicians in the area. There is a severe shortage of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood or rare meat. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Only pasteurized dairy products should be consumed.

Specific concerns

CDC reports a severe shortage of vaccines to combat diseases such as measles, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis - along with increased incidence of those diseases. Diphtheria occurs. Cases predominantly occur in urban areas, but increasing numbers have been reported in rural areas. Shortages of vaccine, antibiotics and diphtheria antitoxin are contributing to the problem. While proof of diphtheria immunity is not required for travel, travelers to areas where diphtheria is occurring should be up-to-date for diphtheria immunization. AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Hikers should take protective measures against ticks.

Immunization

Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passiveimmunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: Encephalitis (tick-borne) - occurs in forested areas Leishmaniasis (cutaneous) - occurs Lyme disease - occurs Food-borne and water-borne illness: pose a major hazard in most areas. Brucellosis - prevalent Cholera - occurs Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) - occurs Hepatitis - common Taeniasis - occurs Typhoid fever - occurs Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported. Polio is still considered a possible risk, although cases have rarely been reported in recent years. Influenza risk extends from November to April. Rabies - occurs (especially among foxes in rural areas)

Entry requirements

None

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Erebouni Medical CenterYerevan Titogradyan 14 Street
European Medical CenterYerevan 375010 3/1 Vazgen Sargsyan Street
Malatia Medical CenterYerevan 375032 28A Daniel Varuzhani Street
Nork Marash Medical CenterYerevan 375047 Nork A. Armenakyan 13
Yerevan State Medical UniversityYerevan 375025 2 Korjun Street

Media

Armenian government oversees national TV and radio. Libel and defamation are punishable by prison terms and journalists have been sentenced under these laws in the past. All print and broadcast media must register with the Justice Ministry. Self-censorship is common.
Press: The main newspapers are Aravot, Azg and Yerkir, all of which are published only in Armenian (Russian editions have been discontinued since the Russian minority in the republic dropped). Golos Armenii (The Voice of Armenia) and Respublika Armenia survive as the main Russian-language papers. Noyan Tapan, an English-language weekly circulated primarily among the foreign missions and small foreign business community, is published by an independent information agency based in Yerevan.
TV: Public TV of Armenia is a national, state-run station, whilst Armenia TV and Prometheus TV are national, commercial stations.
Radio: There are both private radio stations (the first of which was Hai FM) and national and state-run stations, such as Public Radio of Armenia.

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