Armenian leaders remain preoccupied by the long conflict with Muslim Azerbaija over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mostly Armenian-populated area, assigned to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s by Moscow. Armenia & Azerbaijan started contesting the area in 1988; the battle intensified after both nations obtained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Armenia prides itself on being the first country to officially adopt Christianity (early 4th century). Regardless of periods of autonomy, over the centuries Armenia came under the sway of various empires including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, & Ottoman. It was integrated into Russia in 1828 & the USSR in 1920. By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, Armenian forces held not just Nagorno-Karabakh but also a substantial portion of Azerbaijan correct. The economies of both sides have been hurt by their inability to make considerable progress toward a tranquil resolution. Turkey imposed a financial blockade on Armenia & closed the common border since of the Armenian profession of Nagorno-Karabakh & surrounding areas. Location Government: Republic Armenia is located in the southern Caucasus & is the smallest of the former Soviet republics. It is bounded by Georgia on the north, Azerbaijan on the east, Iran on the south, & Turkey on the west. Contemporary Armenia is a fraction of the size of ancient Armenia. A land of rugged mountains & extinct volcanoes, its acme is Mount Aragats, 13,435 ft (4,095 m). Prime Minister: Andranik Markarian (2000). President: Robert Kocharian (1998). Location: 11,506 sq mi (29,800 sq km). Population (2004 est.): 2,991,360 (development rate: -0.3%); (Armenian, 93%; others, Kurds, Ukrainians, & Russians); birth rate: 11.4/ 1000; kid mortality rate: 24.2/ 1000; life expectancy: 71.2; density per sq mi: 260. Capital & largest city: Yerevan, 1,462,700 (city. location), 1,267,600 (city correct). Other big cities: Vanadzor, 147,400; Gyumri (Leninakan), 125,300; Abovian, 59,300. Monetary device: Dram. Language: Armenian 96%, Russian 2%, other 2%. Religion: Armenian Apostolic 94%, other Christian 4%, Yezidi 2%. Ethnicity/race: Armenian 93%, Russian 2%, Azeri 1%, other (primarily Yezidi Kurds) 4% (2002). Keep in mind: as of completion of 1993, practically all Azeris had emigrated from Armenia. Armenia prides itself on being the very first nation to formally adopt Christianity (early 4th century). Regardless of durations of autonomy, over the centuries Armenia came under the sway of various empires consisting of the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, & Ottoman. Turkey enforced an economic blockade on Armenia & closed the typical border because of the Armenian profession of Nagorno-Karabakh & surrounding locations. Armenia is situated in the southern Caucasus & is the tiniest of the previous Soviet republics. Contemporary Armenia is a fraction of the size of ancient Armenia.