A map of Armenia The small, landlocked country of Armenia lies in the Caucasus, a wide neck of land at the border of Europe and Asia, situated between the Black and the Caspian seas. It was once a much larger country, extending from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Because of its strategic position along the Silk Road, an ancient trading route, great empires fought over Armenia's territory for much of its history. It is a mountainous country, a land of plateaus and high valleys. Lying 1900 metres (6200 ft) above sea level in eastern Armenia is Lake Sevan (Sevana Lich), a large freshwater lake. Armenia has a highland continental climate: summers are hot while winters are extremely cold and snowy.
Nearly all the country’s population are ethnic Armenians, descendants of a people who settled in the region more than 3000 years ago. The rest are mainly Russians, Kurds and Azerbaijanis. Armenia is a small, densely-populated country; just under half the entire population lives in the capital, Yerevan. Some 140,000 Armenians live across the border in Nagorno-Karabakh, a region of Azerbaijan that is claimed by Armenia.
Mount Ararat was once part of Armenia but now lies just beyond its borders. Nevertheless, Armenians still consider it a symbol of their country—the mountain appears on the national coat of arms.
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