Armenia has gained popularity in the public eye lately, partly because American celebrity, Kim Kardashian, is of Armenian descent. But its glory holds much more than that tie to beauty.

The small nation is sandwiched between Turkey and Georgia. It lies in a region that straddles both Europe and Asia. As a result, the country has a unique, diverse culture influenced by both continents.

Armenia’s history can be traced back over 3,500 years to medieval times. The independent country is home to temples, architecture that has survived centuries, and megalithic sites.

Glimpses of Mount Ararat can be seen from the capital city of Armenia, Yerevan. inspire4travel gives tourists a touch of olden times in a country almost as old as recorded time itself.

Characteristics of Armenian Carpets

American celebrities aside, Armenia is famous for its intricate, hand-woven carpets. Each carpet has distinct materials, colors, and ornamentation. Wool from sheep or goats is the most popular textile in creating rugs. Some regions of the country cultivated silk and cotton and used these materials in weaving the carpets.

Many of the rugs use the color red as the main hue with white, blue and green complementing the dark shade. The shades meld together to create a harmonious, healing vibe.

While the color and material are large elements in making each carpet distinct, there is another key factor that makes each individual carpet remarkable: the ornamentation. Armenian rugs are rich in religious and cultural symbols embroidered into the piece.

What other features set Armenian carpets apart?

4 Things to Remember About Armenia’s Carpet Industry

1. The tradition dates back to the 7th century. The fabric of Armenian carpets are so delicate, that physical remnants from ancient times didn’t survive. However, texts and other historical documents mention carpet-weaving as far back as the 7th century.

2. Armenian carpets are used to decorate more than just floors. The word ‘carpet’ typically brings to mind floor coverings that accentuate rooms. Armenian carpets do accentuate the room, but they are used to decorate walls and furniture and are even hung at entrances of churches and homes.

3. Many of the distinct patterns and motifs are still hand-woven. The invention of industrial machines has changed the way carpet companies do business. While some companies welcome the use of modern technology to create carpets, many still choose the ancient art of hand-weaving.

4. Carpets heavily featured Christian imagery until the 1920s. Armenia was one of the first nations to adopt Christianity as its national religion. During the time period when the Soviet Union took control of Armenia, weaving religious symbols into the craft was discouraged. The traditional use of crosses and other religious motifs resumed after the fall of the Soviet Union and continue today.

Armenia Offers More Than Just Beautiful Carpets

The demand for Armenian carpets reached all the way to the U.S.’s Presidential residence, the White House. The Armenian Orphan Rug was presented to President Coolidge in 1925. The carpet was created by 400 orphans to show their gratitude toward the United States for their assistance in ending the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.

Celebrities and carpets are a tiny portion of Armenia’s impact on the world.

A New York Times writer celebrates his Armenian heritage in a heartfelt essay that walks potential visitors through both the ancient ruins and the country’s modern resurgence.

Beautiful, bold carpets may be Armenia’s biggest export, but they are certainly not all the country has to offer.