Trans Eurasia travel

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Armenian Diaspora

The majority of Armenians live outside historic Armenia, a process that goes back centuries to colonies across Asia and Europe but is mostly due to the 1915–23 genocide. There are about eight million Armenians living abroad but only 3,205,000 in Armenia and Karabakh. Tbilisi (Tiflis to Armenians) was a 19th-century Armenian cultural capital, and there are somewhere around 300,000 Armenians in Georgia, including a majority in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region (‘Javakhk’ in Armenian) north of Gyumri. There are big communities in the USA, Russia (especially Moscow), France and other areas of Europe, Lebanon and Syria, plus others in Canada, Australia and South America. Wellknown diasporans in these countries include Cher, Andre Agassi, Charles Aznavour and Gary Kasparov.

There is also an old community in Iran, particularly in Esfahan and Tehran. Remarkably, there is still an Armenian community in Turkey. About 60,000 Armenians live in Istanbul. Vakifli, the last Armenian village in Turkey, stands amid orchards on the slopes of Musa Dagh about 40km from Antakya, not far from the Syrian border. The Hemєin are a Muslim mountain people on the Turkish Black Sea coast who speak a distinct Armenian dialect. Outside Armenia, Russia and Iran, most Armenians speak western Armenian, which differs from eastern Armenian in grammar, slang and the pronunciation of about eight letters out of 38.

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