Armenians are the fourth largest minority in Bulgaria, numbering
10,832. They have been inhabiting the Balkans (including the
territory of modern Bulgaria) since no later than the 5th century,
when they moved there as part of the Byzantine cavalry. The
main centres of the Armenian community in the country are the
major cities Plovdiv, Varna, Sofia and Burgas.
The traditional language of the community is Western Armenian,
though due to education during the Communist period in Bulgaria
being in Eastern Armenian, many are also fluent in the latter
dialect. Bulgarian, being the official language, is spoken by
almost all Armenians in the country.
Over the years Armenia has developed a
modern, unique and successful culture.
Many aspects of the culture are based on
the geography, literature, dance, and
music of the people. The culture is similar
and yet distinct from many of the
bordering countries like Russia, Georgia,
and Iran as well as Mediterranean
nations such as Greece, and Italy.
Armenian culture has strong influences
from both its Eastern neighbours, as well
as an underlying influence from Europe
to the West.
The Armenian dance heritage has
been one of the oldest, richest and
most varied in the Near East. From
the fifth to the third millenium B.C.,
in the higher regions of Armenia
there are rock paintings of scenes of
country dancing. These dances were
probably accompanied by certain
kinds of songs or musical
Armenian cuisine is as ancient as
the history of Armenia, a
combination of different tastes and
aromas. Closely related to eastern
and Mediterranean cuisine,
various spices, vegetables, fish,
and fruits combine to present
unique dishes. Throughout history,
Armenian cuisine has had cultural
exchange with the cuisines of
neighboring countries, i.e. Greek,
Russian, Turkish, and Arab.
Armenia is also famous for its
wine, brandy , vodka and very
strong coffee. In particular,
Armenian cognac is renowned
worldwide (winner of several
awards), and was considered by
the late British Prime Minister,
Winston Churchill, as his favorite
Armenians are known for
having large and close family
bonds. It is very common in
Armenian marriages for both
the bride and groom to be from
the same family and already
share the same last name. In
Armenia there are no laws
concerning marriage of first
cousins, half-sisters, halfbrothers, etc. It has been long
standing tradition in Armenia
to tighten family bonds through
interfamily marriage.
One of the most important parts of Armenian
culture is the music, which has in recent years
brought new forms of music, while maintaining
traditional styles too. This is evidenced by the
world-class Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra
that performs at the beautifully refurbished
Yerevan Opera House, where one can also attend
a full season of opera. In addition, several
chamber ensembles are highly regarded for their
musicianship, including the National Chamber
Orchestra of Armenia and the Serenade
Orchestra. Classical music can also be heard at
one of several smaller venues, including the State
Music Conservatory and the Chamber Orchestra
Hall. Jazz is popular, especially in the summer
when live performances are a regular occurrence
at one of the city’s many outdoor cafés and
parks.Yerevan Opera House
The ritual of Holy Matrimony of the
Armenian Church is one of the most
inspiring and uplifting rituals in the Eastern
Orthodox Christian Churches. Marriage is
one of the seven sacraments of the Armenian
Church in which the couple are called to
make a vow before the Lord to be true to
each other for life.
Their matrimonial union is blessed by the
Lord through the Church. The marriage
ceremony of the Armenian Church is rich in
ritual and symbolism.
In the Armenian Church this vivid
ceremony is a portrayal, step by step, of
the new life of husband and wife. The
symbolism is striking and points to the love
that is yet to be experienced in this holy
union. Each of the acts performed during
the service has a special meaning and
After being blessed by the priest, rings are
exchanged between the bride and groom,
giving expression to the fact that spouses in
marriage will constantly be complementing
each other. Each will be enriched by the
union. During the exhortation to the bride
and groom and later on in the service, the
right hands of the bride and groom are
joined to symbolize the oneness of the
The crowning is the climax of the
wedding service. The crowns are the
sign of the glory and honor with
which God crowns them during the
Sacrament. The groom and the bride
are crowned as the king and the
queen of their own little kingdom, the
home, which they will rule with
wisdom, justice, and integrity. At the
end of the wedding ceremony the
priest blesses the couple, asking
Christ to "protect them under the
shadow of thy holy and honorable
cross in peace". Thus God’s grace is
imparted to them to live together in
His love, mutually fulfilling and
perfecting each other.
It is the offering of oneself to God or the
presentation of the child by the godparent and
accepting his message of salvation. It is the duty
of Christian parents to see to it that their
children are baptized when infants. Church
canons strongly advise Baptism of the child by
the 8th day after birth and up until the 40th day
after birth.
At the door of the church, the order of the service
conducted by the priest is: Penitential Psalms,
Blessing of Narod, Renunciation of Satan, and
Confessions of Faith.
At the door of the church, the child is presented to
the church as an offering and gift to God. The
priest prepares a special cord called Narod,
which is made up of two colored cords braided
into one. The colors of the Narod are red and
white, which symbolize sacrifice and purity, and
also recall the blood and water which poured out
the side of Christ.
With the placing of the Narod and Cross on the
neck of the child, we see the action of Christ taking
over the person. As the child is brought into the
church the hymn Zoghormootiun ko uztoorn patz
mez Der (The gate of thy mercy open unto us O
Lord) is sung. Next the Godfather takes the child in
his arms and he and all present shall turn facing the
west (the doors of the church) and shall say together
with the priest the Renunciation of Satan three
times (the west is the symbol of darkness and the
"side of Satan"). Following the renunciation
(hrajaroom), the Godfather, the child, and all
present "turn to the light of the knowledge of God."
At this point the sponsor on behalf of the child
professes the child’s unity to Christ, by reciting the
Baptismal Creed. The conclusion of the rite at the
door of the church ends with the reading of the
Holy Gospel declaring the "Commission of the
Apostles" followed by the recitation of the Nicene
Over the centuries, Armenian woman have
excelled in fine needlework. At a very young
age, girls worked diligently preparing their
trousseau (an important part of a bride’s
dowry), making lace, embroidering towels and
preparing all the clothing they would wear for
the rest of their lives.
According to folklore, when you visited friends
and relatives, it was the custom to be served Surj
(Armenian Coffee). In all the Near Eastern
countries where Surj was served, it was the duty
of the young girl in the house to prepare the
coffee for all occasions. Traditionally, the girl
who could not make a pot of coffee (surj) with a
good foaming head on it was not worthy of a
good husband!
One of the more colorful folk beliefs in
Armenian tradition is the very real belief and
fear of the "Evil Eye", a form of projected
envy that can harm one. Belief in the evil eye
was widespread amongst Mediterranean
cultures and any individual’s misfortune was
the obvious result of an ill-wisher.
Armenians never start a new project
on Tuesday because it will never turn
out or be completed.
If someone enters through a front
door, they must leave from the same
Never cross a path a snake has made.
One must walk around it or else bad
luck will befall them.
Saint Gregor church in Summer time
The train station and the statue of David
The Yerevan main train station.