Soviet State to the United States – Glendale – Little Armenia
According to census data, Glendale, California is home to the largest number of Armenians in the United States, with people of Armenian descent making up 40% of the city’s population.
Armenia is a small landlocked country located in Eurasia, located east of Turkey and south of Georgia. It is a unitary, democratic nation-state and former member of the Soviet Union. According to the April 2006 census of Armenia, the country has a population of just over three million and is the second most populous republic of the former Soviet Union after Moldova.
Armenia has a rich and historical culture. It has its own language and alphabet, although 76% of the population also speak Russian, with English also becoming increasingly popular as an additional language. The National Art Gallery of Armenia in the capital Yerevan contains over sixteen thousand paintings dating from the Middle Ages.
Armenia has its own national football team, which was formed in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as Armenians had previously played for the Soviet Union team. The team has yet to taste real success and has never qualified for major competitions, including the World Cup or the European Championship. The team is currently number 82 in the FIFA world rankings.
Armenian music is primarily local folk music, best represented by Jivan Gasparian, who became famous as a master of the dudeka, a woodwind instrument originating in Armenia. Armenia also has an extensive Christian music scene, which is not surprising considering that Armenia is the oldest Christian nation on Earth. Some Armenians have embraced non-Armenian forms of music to great success, including the critically acclaimed UK-based rapper and producer Blade and the innovative heavy metal band System Of A Down, whose members are of Armenian descent.
Armenia has been producing films since the 1920s, the most famous of which is Sergei Paradzhanov’s 1968 feature film The Color of Pomegranates. It was banned in the Soviet Union, but was nevertheless hailed as a masterpiece and influenced by respected art-house directors Federico Fellini and Jean-Luc Godard.
Armenia’s vast, densely populated landscapes, along with its climate, lend themselves wonderfully to agriculture, and especially to growing crops. Both apricots and peaches are said to have originated in Armenia. Barbecues are also massively popular in Armenia, resulting in most traditional Armenian dishes being based around grilled meat.
This rich and diverse culture is widely reflected in Glendale’s Armenian community. 30% of Glendale residents speak the distinctive Armenian language at home, and the city is full of Armenian restaurants serving authentic Armenian cuisine, such as Tjvjik, a dish of fried liver, kidney and onion, and falsuya, a stew made with lamb and green beans.
There are also several Armenian schools in Glendale, as well as Armenian businesses and community groups and a number hotels in glendale accessible to anyone who wishes to experience the Armenian way of life in the city for themselves.
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