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Armenians call themselves hay and identify their homeland not by the term "Armenia" but as Hayastan or Hayasdan.The origins of these words can be traced to the Hittites, among whose historical documents is a reference to the Hayasa.Present-day Armenia—the republic of Armenia—is a small mountainous republic that gained its independence in 1991, after seven decades of Soviet rule.It constitutes one-tenth of the historical Armenian plateau.The plateau is bordered on the east by Iran, on the west by Asia Minor, on the north by the Transcaucasian plains, and on the south by the Mesopotamian plains.The plateau consists of a complex set of mountain ranges, volcanic peaks, valleys, lakes, and rivers.Particularly significant symbols of Armenian culture include the statue of Mother Armenia; Dsidsernagabert, a shrine with an ever-burning fire in memory of the Armenian victims of the 1915 genocide; the ruined ancient monasteries; khatchkars engraved stone burial crosses; the ruins of Ani, the last capital of historic Armenia, which fell in 1045; and the emblem of the 1918 first republic of Armenia, its tricolor flag. Many prehistoric sites have been unearthed in and around Armenia, showing the existence of civilizations with advanced notions in agriculture, metallurgy, and industrial production, with diverse standardized manufacturing processes and pottery.The origins of the Armenians have long been subject to debate among historians, linguists, and archaeologists.
The only way to explain the linguistic similarities between these two linguistic groups would be to geographically move the cradle of the Indo-European linguistic groups farther east, to the Armenian plateau.Its alphabet was invented by the monk Mesrob in 406 which was based on a version of nineteenth century Armenian spoken in Istanbul and is used mainly in the Diaspora, and Eastern Armenian, which was based on the Armenian spoken in Yerevan and is used in the ex-Soviet countries and Iran.This latter dialect was subjected to orthographic reforms during the Soviet era.The Armenians and their plateau have been subject to various invasions.They witnessed Alexander the Great's expeditions toward the east.
Armenia is a rugged, volcanic country with rich mineral resources.