Armenian Mythology: Dzovinar (Tsovinar) 

Also known as Nar or Nuri, Dzovinar was the Armenian goddess of the sea, water, and rain. She was a fire spirit whose fury was said to be the cause of extreme storms and drought. It is presumed that she was the mother of the war god Vahagn the Dragon Reaper.


Armenian Mythology: Astghik

Also known as Astlik or Asya, Astghik was the Armenian goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. She was also associated with springs and other sources of water. She was the personification of the planet Venus and, later, the moon was also worshiped in her honor (to contrast the worship of the sun in honor of her lover Vahagn). Her principal seat was in Ashtishat (located to the North of Moush), where her main temple was called “Vahagn’s chamber” and featured statues of them side by side. Her birds were the dove and the swallow, and her flower was the rose. Every July, the festival of Vartavar was (and still is) celebrated in her honor, when worshipers would make offerings and celebrate by dancing and splashing each other with water. This custom comes from the legend of Astghik spreading love throughout the land of Armenia by sprinkling rose water.


Discover Armenia’s 15 Best Kept Secrets

Armenia is a small country that doesn’t find itself on the list of popular tourist destinations. But for tourists who like to explore nature, learn about history, drink and eat delicious food, Armenia is the right choice, it’s a rustic ancient land with amazing countryside where people take great pride in their traditions, culture, religion and cuisine. Follow us through this wonderful journey and discover the 15 best-kept secrets in Armenia.
One Thousand and One Songs
Madeleine N.'s submission to AFS Project: Change

hey! i submitted a project proposal to AFS’s project: change. if my idea is chosen, i’ll receive a full scholarship to spend two weeks abroad with AFS bringing my project to life.

the 200 projects with the most votes will advance to the next round to be reviewed by a panel of AFS judges. i would very much appreciate your help getting me to at least that #200 spot. you can vote once every day, so i’ll reblog this post on a daily basis. i would also appreciate it if you reblogged this yourself. 

this project means a lot to me, and i think that even if i don’t get the chance to do this for free with AFS, i will end up doing something similar someday anyway.

if you follow the link, you’ll see that the turkish and armenian letters have been changed into question marks. below is my real project proposal, with the appropriate letters where they should be. 

Anatolia is a land of many peoples. Anatolian traditional music bears witness to this stunning diversity: “Sarı Gelin” (“Yellow Bride”), a famous folk song sung by Armenians, Turks, and Azeris alike, tells the story of a Turkish man who has fallen in love with an Armenian girl from Erzurum. 

At the turn of the twentieth century, an Armenian priest, Komitas Vardapet, collected, transcribed, and published thousands of Anatolian Armenian songs, immortalizing an ancient folk tradition. These were his “One Thousand and One Songs”—in Armenian, «Հազար ու մի խաղ» —and it is for them that he is remembered as the “savior of Armenian music.”

And Armenian music required nothing less. In 1915, the government of the Ottoman Empire orchestrated the deportation and massacre of its Armenian population. Armenian men were summarily executed; Armenian women and children were marched through the desert to Syria, where they died in their hundreds of thousands in makeshift concentration camps. One and a half million Armenians perished, and with them their ancient songs. 

In the century since, state-sponsored policies of ethnic cleansing and cultural homogenization have threatened Anatolia’s diverse heritage. Lazuri nena, the language of the Laz people of Turkey’s northeast Black Sea coast, faces imminent extinction, and until 1991, Kurdish, the language of about one fifth of Turkey’s population, was banned outright; beginning in 1980, Kurds in Turkey could not give their children Kurdish names or sing their traditional songs for fear of prosecution. 

I propose a new “One Thousand and One Songs,” a modern iteration of the ethnomusicological project that preserved Armenians’ musical tradition. Over the course of two weeks, a team of dedicated AFS students would meet with members of minority and internal migrant populations in multiethnic cities like Istanbul, conduct in-depth interviews, and record traditional songs. These interviews and songs would be made available to the public as a digital anthology, accessible online. 

I am Armenian. This is my history and my culture, and I am committed to its survival. I am also committed to the promise of a brighter future, one in which Armenians, Turks, and Kurds can once more live side by side. I believe strongly that the peoples of Anatolia are as similar as they are different. They share a common land, and, more often than not, a common song.

please vote and reblog! thank you.


The St. Thaddeus Monastery best known as Qara Kelisa which literally means Black Church is an ancient Armenian monastery perched on a mountain ridge in the northern Iranian province of West Azerbaijan.

One of the 12 Apostles, St. Thaddeus, also known as Saint Jude, was martyred while spreading the Gospel. He is revered as an apostle of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Legend has it that a church dedicated to him was first built on the present site in AD 68.

Not much appears to remain of the original church, which was extensively rebuilt in 1329 after an earthquake damaged the structure in 1319. Nevertheless, some of the parts surrounding the altar apse date from the 10th century. Much of the present structure dates from 1811 when Qajar prince Abbas Mirza helped in renovations and repairs. This structure exactly duplicates the design of the cathedral at Etchmiadzin. The 19th century additions are from carved sandstone. The earliest parts are of black and white stone, hence its Turkic name Kara Kilise, the Black Church.

Qara Kelisa has been registered as the ninth Iranian historical-cultural heritage site on the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage List.