Despite the fact that Armenia is geographically located in Asia Minor, it has close political and cultural ties with Europe. Armenia has always been at the crossroads of routes linking Europe and Asia.
Armenia relief is mostly mountainous: the area of the state is about 29,800 square kilometers, more than 90% of the territory is at an altitude more than 1000 m above sea level. The highest point is Mount Aragats (4095 m), the lowest one is the gorge of the river Debed (380 meters). On the south-west of the country there is an intermountain Ararat Valley - an important agricultural area.
The highest point in the region and the historic symbol of Armenia is Ararat mount- since 1921 it is on the territory of Turkey.
Features of the geographical location and great changes in elevation determine a variety of climatic conditions.
Despite the fact that Armenia is situated on the latitude of the subtropical zone, there is subtropical climate only in the southern part of Armenia (in Meghri city). In other areas the climate is high-land and continental - summers are hot and winters are cold here. On the plains the average January temperature is -5 ° C, in July +25 ° C; in the midlands (1000-1500 meters high) -10 ° C and +20 ° C, at altitudes from 1500 to 2000 m. -14 and +16 respectively. The minimum amount of precipitation in the Ararat Valley is 200-250 mm per year, in the midlands - 500 mm, and in the highlands - 700-900 mm. The greatest amount of precipitation occurs in Lori and Syunik regions, territory of which is mostly covered by forests.
The soils are formed mainly on the volcanic rocks. Armenian soil cover is very diverse, at the same time most soils here are infertile and sophisticated for economic development. By the nature of the soils the territory of Armenia can be divided into the following zones:
• Semidesert soils are located mainly in the Ararat valley at altitudes of 850-1250 m above sea level, cover an area of 236,000 hectares. Characterized mainly by low humus content (up to 2%, for the black-alkali 2.6%). The varieties of semidesert soils are brown semidesert soils (occupy 152,000 hectares, are common in low-lying spaces of Ararat foothills), irrigated brown meadow soils (53,000 hectares in the Ararat valley at elevations 800-950 m), paleo-hydromorphic soils (about 2000 hectares - in the area adjacent to Yerevan), hydro-morphic black-alkali (53,000 hectares of the Ararat plain).
• Steppe soils cover an area of 797,000 hectares at altitudes of 1300-2450 m. Presented by quality black soils (718,000 hectares in the Ararat valley, Shirak, Lori, Sevan basin and on relatively gentle slopes of Syunik), meadow quality black soils (13,000 hectares in Lori, Shirak and Sevan basin), floodplain grounds (48,000 hectares in the river valleys and in the areas released as a result of Lake Sevan level fall) and ground soils (18,000 hectares in the liberated from the water coast of Lake Sevan). Quality black soils and meadow quality black soils are characterized by relatively high humus content (3,5-12% and 10-13%, respectively). The content of humus in floodplain soils and ground soils is low or very low (2-4% and 0.3-0.5%, respectively).
• Dry steppe soils are presented by chestnut soils. Located on the dry foothills of the Ararat Valley, Vayots Dzor region, Syunik region at altitudes of 1250-1950 m; occupy an area of 242,000 hectares. Characterized by an average humus content (2-4%), rocky, adverse water-physical properties.
• Forest soils cover an area of 712,000 hectares at altitudes of 500-2400 m, characterized by considerable humus content (4-11%). Presented by forest brown (133,000 hectares on the slopes of the height of 1800-2250 m), brown (564,000 hectares in the ranges of 500-1700 meters in height, and on sunny slopes up to an altitude of 2400 m, in Gugark, Pambak, Syunik) and derno-carbonate (15,000 hectares on the slopes Gugark, Ahuma, Bargushat) soils.
• Mountain-meadow soils cover an area of 629,000 hectares at altitudes of 2200-4000 m. Widespread in the mountains almost all over Armenia (except for Chirac). They are divided into the actual mountain meadow soils (346,000 hectares at altitudes of 2200-2600 m) and meadow-steppe (283,000 hectares at altitudes of 1800-2600 m). Characterized by a high humus content (13-20% and 8-13% for mountain-meadow and meadow-steppe, respectively).
The Republic of Armenia is rich in recreational resources, and in the case of the corresponding investments, it's possible to create a highly diversified system of recreation industry and international tourism, which in the socio-economic and environmental parameters is capable of becoming one of the main directions of Armenia's economy.
Armenia subsoils are rich in minerals. Non-ferrous and ferrous metals, rock salt, bentonite and refractory clay, perlite, diatomite, limestone and volcanic tuff, pumice-stone, granite, marble and others are of industrial significance here. Industrial clusters of semi-precious and ornamental stones: agate, amethyst, turquoise, jasper, obsidian – are found here.
Stocks of metal ores and approved in 20 fields: three - copper, six - molybdenum, five - polymetallic (lead, zinc, and others.), four - gold , two – iron and the newly discovered -uranium. Most fields are represented by complex ores - copper-molybdenum or gold-polymetallic ones.
In Armenia there are about 9480 small and large rivers, 379 of which have a length of 10 km and more. The total length of the rivers is about 23,000 Km. Armenia main river is the Araks with the influx of Hrazdan.
In Armenia there are more than 100 lakes, the largest of which is Lake Sevan, situated at an altitude of 1900 m above sea level - a single fishing area of the Republic and the largest in the whole South Caucasus fresh water source.
Despite this, the country as a whole lacks of water resources, which is partly solved by the use of reservoirs and groundwater. In Armenia there are 74 reservoirs with a total volume of 988 million m³; the largest of them is Akhuryan, volume 525 million m³. Approximately 96% of the water used for drinking water comes from the underground sources.
Over 30 years 140 thousand hectares of arable land and 300 thousand hectares of hayfields and pastures have been withdrawn from the country's agricultural land transactions by erosion and landslides; subject to recultivation 114 thousand hectares of eroded land about 3.5% were revitalized.
The proportion of the area covered by forests has decreased from 11.2 to 8.9%. Air environment is also precarious. Especially air quality deteriorated in Yerevan, Alaverdi, Vanadzor and Hrazdan.
In connection with the construction of HPPs on the river Hrazdan and use of water resources for irrigation the water level in lake Sevan has lowered, which leads to a change in the regime of the surface and ground waters and to a disturbance of biodiversity.
In March 2011, US experts compiled rating on the ecology for 163 countries, where Armenia is ranked 76th, 59th Georgia and 84th Azerbaijan.
The territory of the Republic of Armenia is fully located in the 3rd geographical time zone, but 4 hours time zone (UTC + 4) is used during all the year. The use of official time is regulated by the law "On the procedure for calculating time on the territory of the Republic of Armenia", adopted on the 5th December 1997.