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Armenia:
Geography

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Background
Definition
Armenia prides itself on being the first nation to formally adopt Christianity (early 4th century). Despite periods of autonomy, over the centuries Armenia came under the sway of various empires including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, and Ottoman. During World War I in the western portion of Armenia, Ottoman Turkey instituted a policy of forced resettlement coupled with other harsh practices that resulted in an estimated 1 million Armenian deaths. The eastern area of Armenia was ceded by the Ottomans to Russia in 1828; this portion declared its independence in 1918, but was conquered by the Soviet Red Army in 1920. Armenian leaders remain preoccupied by the long conflict with Muslim Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily Armenian-populated region, assigned to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s by Moscow. Armenia and Azerbaijan began fighting over the area in 1988; the struggle escalated after both countries attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, Armenian forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also a significant portion of Azerbaijan proper. The economies of both sides have been hurt by their inability to make substantial progress toward a peaceful resolution. Turkey imposed an economic blockade on Armenia and closed the common border because of the Armenian separatists' control of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas.
Location
Definition
Southwestern Asia, east of Turkey
Geographic coordinates
Definition
40 00 N, 45 00 E
Map references
Definition
Asia
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 29,743 sq km
land: 28,454 sq km
water: 1,289 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 1,254 km
border countries: Azerbaijan-proper 566 km, Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave 221 km, Georgia 164 km, Iran 35 km, Turkey 268 km
Coastline
Definition
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims
Definition
none (landlocked)
Climate
Definition
highland continental, hot summers, cold winters
Terrain
Definition
Armenian Highland with mountains; little forest land; fast flowing rivers; good soil in Aras River valley
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Debed River 400 m
highest point: Aragats Lerrnagagat' 4,090 m
Natural resources
Definition
small deposits of gold, copper, molybdenum, zinc, bauxite
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 16.78%
permanent crops: 2.01%
other: 81.21% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
2,860 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
10.5 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 2.95 cu km/yr (30%/4%/66%)
per capita: 977 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
occasionally severe earthquakes; droughts
Environment - current issues
Definition
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
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note
Definition
landlocked in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains; Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan) is the largest lake in this mountain range


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