If I had to sum up Armenia in one word, I think it would be “miserable“.
I don’t want to be unfair or to offend any Armenians out there but …
To be fair, Armenia has had a shit history, to say the least. The people have been massacred. They have lost territory to Turkey and, on the face of it, are sitting ducks. It is a poor nation which would have suffered financially when the Soviets left. Yes, they got their culture and religion back but … at what cost? There are half-finished Soviet hotels left to rot and towns that used to have 20,000 people now have little more than 1,000. Everywhere, buildings are deserted, left to decay. The landscape is further tarnished with horrid Soviet concrete blocks of flats that the government doesn’t have the money to renovate. Public squares and public gardens in regional towns have been overtaken by weeds and ornamental ponds are covered in slime. In rural areas, there was barely a young person to be seen.
OK, this is only one side of the story. Armenians are very religious people. They are rightly proud of their faith and traditions. Yerevan, the capital, did have a positive vibe. Public buildings were well maintained and there were young people out and about.
So what does Armenia have going for it?