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Flora, Fauna & Climate

     Flora: Armenia has over 3,500 species of plants, more than half of the 6,000 that can be found in the entire Transcaucasus region.  While Europe has around 20,000 species, and the entire North American continent holds 40,000 species, with a total landmass of just under 30,000 sq. kilometers (about the size of Belgium), Armenia's diversity and close proximity of so many different types of flora is often breathtaking. Apricot and peach are of Armenian origin.  The apricot was taken back to Greece by Alexander the Great's army, where the Romans then spread it throughout Southern Europe.  Other fruits that grow in the country are  apples, pears, cherries, plums, pomegranates and an amazing variety of grapes. The Ararat Valley sustained a large cotton industry before vineyards were cultivated.

     Fauna: The fauna includes 76 species of mammals, 304 species of birds, 44 species of reptiles, 6 amphibians, 24 species of fish and approx. 10 thousand invertebrates. In the northern part of the country inhabited Syrian brown bear, lynx, wild boars, deer and reed cats. Wolves, badgers, foxes, hares, mouflon, bezoars can be found in the mountain steppes. In the steppes and semi-deserts live numerous rodents - voles, ground squirrel, gerbil, mole rats, jerboas, of reptiles - the Caucasian agama, a Greek tortoise, Armenian viper. In Lake Sevan there are trout, whitefish and other fish species.

   Climate: Temperatures in Armenia generally depend upon elevation, with wide seasonal variations created by the mountain formations that block the moderating climatic influences of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. The Armenian Plateau experiences freezing point temperatures during the winter season, while summer sees a considerable increase in temperatures. The lower Araks River valley receives on average 250 millimeters precipitation per year and the highest altitudes about 800 millimeters. The volcanic soil of the plateau is very fertile despite the harsh nature of Armenia’s winter. As a whole, Armenia receives a total average precipitation of 550 mm (21.6 inches) with Ararat Valley undoubtedly being its driest part with only 200-250 mm (7.9 to 10 inches) per year. Understandably, the upper regions receive the most amount of precipitation especially during Spring and early Summer, with a second rainy season in October and November. Weather changes patterns according to geographical location. For example, it could be hot and sunny in Ararat valley while in Sevan, which is situated a mere 60 kilometers away, it may be cold and rainy and the upper regions of Aragats might be experiencing ferocious snowfall.
     During July temperatures in the Ararat Valley reach highs of 25-30°C and the middle mountain regions reach summer heights of 18-20°C. The highest temperature ever recorded is 42°C and it occurred in Ararat Valley. Usual January temperatures in the Ararat Valley drop as low as 5 to - 7°C  with an absolute recorded minimum of -30°C. during the same period the middle mountain regions common lows of -8 to -12°C and an absolute low of -46°C recorded at April. On an average, Armenia experiences 250 frost-free days in the Ararat Valley and between 150 to 200 in the middle mountain areas. Meanwhile the upper elevations are almost permanently covered in frost as no more than 30-50 days are considered frost-free.