Saturday, April 7, 2012
Armenia, officially the Republic of Armenia, is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the south.
A former republic of the Soviet Union, Armenia is a unitary, multiparty, democratic nation-state with an ancient and historic cultural heritage. The Kingdom of Armenia became the first state to adopt Christianity as its religion in the early years of the 4th century. Armenia is divided into ten provinces (marzer, singular marz), with the city (kaghak) of Yerevan having special administrative status as the country's capital. The chief executive in each of the ten provinces is the marzpet (marz governor), appointed by the government of Armenia. In Yerevan, the chief executive is the mayor, appointed by the president.
Armenia is a member of more than 40 international organizations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Asian Development Bank, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the World Trade Organization, World Customs Organization, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and La Francophonie. It is a member of the CSTO military alliance, and also participates in NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme. In 2004 its forces joined KFOR, a NATO-led international force in Kosovo. It is also an observer member of the Eurasian Economic Community and the Non-Aligned Movement. The Government of Armenia holds European integration as a key priority in its foreign policy as it is considered a European country by the European Union. Politics of Armenia takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The Armenian Army, Air Force, Air Defence, and Border Guard comprise the four branches of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia. The Armenian military was formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and with the establishment of the Ministry of Defence in 1992.
The national coat of arms of Armenia (Armenian:Հայաստանի Զինանշան, Hayastani Zinanshan) consists of an eagle and a lion supporting a shield. The coat of arms combines new and old symbols. The eagle and lion are ancient Armenian symbols dating from the first Armenian kingdoms that existed prior to Christ.
The current coat of arms was adopted on April 19, 1992, by the Armenian Supreme Council decision. On June 15, 2006, the law on the state coat of arms of Armenia was passed by the Armenian Parliament. The shield itself consists of many components. In the center is a depiction of Mount Ararat with Noah's Ark sitting atop it. According to tradition, the ark is said to have finally rested on the mountain after the great flood. Ararat is considered the national symbol of Armenia and thus is of principal importance to the coat of arms. Surrounding Mount Ararat are symbols of old Armenian dynasties. In the lower left portion of the shield, there are two eagles looking at each other, symbolizing the length of the Armenian territory during the reign of the Artaxiad Dynasty that ruled in the 1st century BC. In the upper left portion, there is a lion with a cross, the emblem for the Bagratuni dynasty that ruled during the Middle Ages, between the 7th and 11th centuries. Under this dynasty, Armenia blossomed culturally, making its capital, Ani, one of the most important cultural, social and commercial centers of its time. Bagratuni was destroyed by the Byzantine Empire's encroachment and by Seljuk conquests in the 11th century. In the upper right portion, there is a two-headed eagle, the emblem of the first dynasty to reign over a Christian Armenia, the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia. Tiridates III of Arsacid Dynasty made Armenia the first Christian nation in 301. This dynasty ruled from the 1st century to 428. In the lower right portion, there is a lion with a cross, the emblem of the Rubenid dynasty. This dynasty reigned in Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, a state that expanded and prospered during the 12th and 13th centuries, until the Mamelukes and Turks eventually conquered it. The eagle supports the shield on the left side of the coat of arms, while the lion on the right side. The eagle was the symbol of the Artaxiad Dynasty and later on the symbol of the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia. It holds the Artaxiad Dynasty's branch of the shield. Whereas, the lion was the symbol of the Bagratuni Dynasty and later on the symbol of the Rubenid Dynasty. It holds the Rubenid Dynasty's branch of the shield. Both of these animals were chosen because of their power, courage, patience, wisdom, and nobility in animal kingdom.
As always, the above designs are available on a limited number of selected quality products via my “World Heraldry” galleriesat Zazzle. You may simply follow the direct links in the article to navigate to the corresponding galleries. I will also make my designs available free of charge for non-commercial use to any government and military officials of the corresponding countries, as well as for non-commercial and personal use, such as school projects, presentations, forum avatars to businesses and individuals.
The above information provided in part by Wikipedia, The Heraldry Society, Global Security, and official websites of the above-mentioned countries.