According to the glorious biblical history the Garden of Eden was in Armenia finding its place as the centre of the world. The Garden of Eden, this ever-lush orchard in an eternal Spring, stirred by gentle breezes and alive with birdsong, had a profusion of multi-colored and scented flowers and fruit. Peaceable animals lived there, and there were gold and precious stones in abundance.
The pomegranate, the forbidden fruit of paradise (according to some biblical readings), is the symbol of Armenia. Like Mount Ararat, it is depicted everywhere.
Since Antiquity, Armenia has provided the world with carmine, a bright red pigment obtained from the cochineal. The country was also renowned for the quality of a semi-precious turquoise-like stone, chrysocolla, which was prized by jewelers in ancient times.
Noah, as the Bible tells us, saved what remained of the "fruits of paradise" from the Flood by placing them in his ark, which came to rest on the slopes of Mount Ararat. Like Ararat, Noah’s name and image are seen everywhere. According to biblical theory, Noah’s three sons – Shem, Ham and Japheth – came down from Ararat and repopulated the earth, each founding one of the three continents known to the medieval world. Haik, the eponymous ancestor of the Armenians, was, according to tradition, the grandson of Gomer, himself a grandson of Noah and son of Japheth. Eighteenth-century scientists, seeking the origin of languages, attempted to create a classification and attributed them to the three brothers, sons of Noah.
Armenia’s history is a long and turbulent one, with its phases of dependence and independence, divisions, persecutions and forced migrations. But Armenia is also a land of contact and circulation, and above all exchange – whether material, spiritual or religious, artistic or ideological, and in times of both war and peace. Located between the Mediterranean, Caspian and Black Seas, at the crossroads of the great civilizations of East and West, Armenia and its people were very early participants in the history of Europe.
"Noah Descending from Ararat" painter Hovhannes Aivazovsky