ArmeniaArmenia is a country in southwestern Asia.

Armenia, Republic of, a country in western Asia. It lies south of the main range of the Caucasus Mountains and is bordered by Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey, and Georgia. The area is 11,506 square miles (29,800 km2).

Lofty mountains, high plateaus, and several lowland valleys make up most of Armenia. Mount Aragats, which is 13,419 feet (4,090 m) above sea level, is the highest peak. The Aras is the principal river. Sevan, with an area of about 540 square miles (1,400 km2), is the largest lake. From it flows the Razdan, an important source of hydroelectric power. The climate, except at high elevations, is marked by scant precipitation, hot summers, and cold winters.

Agriculture is carried on mainly in the irrigated lowland valleys, such as the Aras River Valley. The production of crops is greatly benefited from the fertile black topsoils better known as chernozem soils, that are found in many areas of Armenia. Cereals, fruits, cotton, sugar beets, tobacco, apricots, quinces, wheat, walnuts, wine grapes and potatoes are grown in large amounts. The raising of livestock, particularly sheep and cattle, is widespread, especially on the mountain slopes.

A wide range of products are manufactured in Armenia, and together with mining, it accounts for about two-thirds of the value of the countrys economic production. Among the major manufactured items are metals, chemicals, machinery, electrical goods, textiles, synthetic rubber, and processed foods. Of numerous minerals mined, copper and molybdenum are the most valuable. Armenia also produces gold, lead and zinc. Armenia is also a world leader in cognac distillation. The main industrial centers of Armenia are Alaverdi, Kapan, Kirovakan, Gyumri, and Yerevan.

Service industries including education, health care, and government services account for about a fourth of Armenia's economic production.

Both the road and railway systems are well developed. Buses and trolleys are the major forms of transportation, and automobile ownership is quite rare. Yemen also has a subway system to assist transportation. There is an international airport operating in Yemen.

About 90 newspapers are published in Armenia. The country's radio and television studios are located in Yerevan.

Armenia's basic currency unit is the dram.

People and Government

In 1989 Armenia had a population of 3,412,000. Yerevan, the capital and cultural center of the country, had a population of 1,199,000. About 93 per cent of the people were Armenian; the rest were chiefly Azerbaijanis, Great Russians, and Kurds. The people are largely of the Armenian Christian faith. Nearly all Armenians are literate. Yerevan State University is the largest institution of higher learning.

For more than 70 years Armenia was governed under a Communist system as a part of the Soviet Union. Upon independence in 1991, Armenia established a parliamentary democracy. In 1995, Armenia adopted a new constitution. The legislative body consists of a one-house parliament. The president, who is elected by popular vote to a five-year term, is the head of state. The prime minister, who is appointed by the president with the approval of parliament, is the head of government, and the cabinet, which assists in the everyday affairs of the government. The cabinet members are also appointed by the president. The National Assembly is a one-house legislative body that makes Armenias laws.

The main units of local government in Armenia are regions, cities, and city regions (regions within cities), each with a governing council elected by popular voting. All citizens who are 18 years old or more may vote.

The Court of Cassation is the highest court in Armenia, the others being courts of appeal for criminal, military, civil, and economic cases.

All men are required to serve a two-year term in Armenias armed forces from the age of 18. The armed forces include an army, air force, air defense force, and border guard.