A landlocked country with Turkey to the west and Georgia to the north, Armenia boasts a history longer than most other European countries.
Situated along the route of the Great Silk Road, it has fallen within the orbit of a number of cultural influences and empires.
After independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia quickly became drawn into a bloody conflict with Azerbaijan over the mostly Armenian-speaking region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
One of the earliest Christian civilisations, its first churches were founded in the fourth century. In later centuries, it frequently oscillated between Byzantine, Persian, Mongol or Turkish control, as well as periods of independence.