Archeological and historical facts point to the development of civilization in the region with the formation of the Urartu kingdom around 980 BC. Various Urartu rulers built capitals in the area, such as around Lake Van in the thirteenth century BC and that built by Argishti I in 782 BC, the ruins of which are preserved today in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. The first mention of Armenians in historical writings is found in inscriptions at Behistun, near the city of Kermanshah in modern-day Iran, which date to 600 BC.
Who are Armenians? Are they Europeans' ancestors, who, as a result of formation and migration of peoples, found themselves in Asia? Or are they Asians who have enjoyed the fruits of European and world civilization since ancient times? Who are Armenians? They are people who settled in a vast territory stretching from the rivers Tigris and Euphrates to the Arax and Kur (with a total area of 400 000 km2, an average altitude of 1800 m, an absolute altitude of 5165 m (Mount Ararat), populated one million years ago) and christened the Armenian Highland in their honor. They have built cities, given birth to brave soldiers, inspired miniature-painters and poets who have raised their voices to God through poetry, unsurpassed ploughmen whose fame has spread from Iran to California and beyond, singers who have sung mournful songs in the rocky fields of the highland and scientists who have uncovered the secrets of the matter.