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Located near the village of Artashavan, close to the highway, in Armenia, stands 39 giant carved Armenian letters dedicated to the language its speakers take pride in.

The Armenian alphabet is more than 1,600 years old and it’s still used today in its original form. It was devised by Saint Mesrop Mashtots, an Armenian linguist and ecclesiastical leader, in 405 CE in order to make the Bible accessible to Armenians and spread Christianity. Prior to that, Armenians had no alphabet of their own and instead used Greek, Persian and Syriac scripts, but none of these were well suited to represent the many complex sounds of their native tongue. The Holy Scriptures, being written in Syriac, were thus, to a large extent, unintelligible to the followers requiring the constant need of translators and interpreters.

armenian-alphabet-monument-1

Photo credit: Rita Willaert/Flickr

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