Armenia is a country in Asia. Located in the Caucasus region, Armenia used to be a part of the Soviet Union but is now an independent country.
Although Armenia is geographically located in Asia it could be argued that Armenia has closer political, cultural and linguistic ties with Europe than Asia.
Where is Armenia located?
Armenia is in the Caucasus, which consists of three independent countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, plus parts of Russia (in the north) Iran and Turkey (in the south).
Image source: Jeroenscommons
The country is landlocked, sandwiched between Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran. It has a difficult relationship with Azerbaijan, and territorial disputes between the two countries erupted into the Nagorno-Karabakh war in the 1990s.
Is Armenia in Asia?
Geographically, yes, Armenia is in Asia.
The Caucasus, along its coast with the Black Sea, is considered by many to mark one of the unofficial borders between Europe and Asia. Because of this, most geographers consider the entire Caucasus region, including Armenia, to be a part of Asia rather than Europe.
Armenia is a member of a number of Asian political and economic organisations, including the Asian Development Bank. As we will see in the next section, however, its closest political relationships are with European organisations.
Is Armenia in Europe?
Setting geography aside, Armenia is in many ways much more of a European country than an Asian country.
In terms of recent history, of course, Armenia was a part of the Soviet Union (and the Russian Empire before that). As we have discussed in another article (‘What Continent is Russia in?’) Russia and the Soviet Union were split culturally and geographically between Europe and Asia, although in terms of culture, were both perhaps slightly more heavily dominated by their European heritage. It would be fair to say that Armenia’s Soviet experience has had a heavy impact on its culture and outlook today.
Armenia’s closest political relationships are with organisations in Europe – for example, it is a member of the Council of Europe and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, it has a close relationship with NATO and, until recently, it was working towards signing an Association Agreement with the European Union.
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language. Although it is a distinct branch of the language group in its own right, it has many characteristics of Greek and Albanian, as well as some Indo-Iranian influences. Its alphabet draws heavily on the Greek alphabet.
In terms of sport, Armenia is more likely to compete in European events than in Asian events. It is a member of UEFAand a member of the European Olympic Committee rather than the Olympic Committee of Asia.