The territory in which the Armenian people originated is called Hayastan (Hayk). The neighboring peoples called it differently – Armenia, Arminuya, Hayasa, Nairi, Armina, Aratta, Urartu, Somkheti, etc.
The Armenian Highlands are located between the Asia Minor and Iranian plateaus. The average altitude of the Highlands is 1500-1800 meters. Higher than the surrounding plateaus, the Highlands are sometimes called the “Mountain Island”.
From the northwest, the Armenian Highlands are bordered by the Pontic Mountain Range. The mountain system of the Lesser Caucasus is bordering the Highlands in the north, the ridge of the Armenian Taurus in the south, and in the east, the borders of Armenia extend to Lake Urmia.
The middle part of the Highlands surrounded by natural mountain barriers was called Midjnashkharh (Middle Country} in antiquity.
In the center of the Armenian Highlands, from east to west, stretches the Armenian Range which divides the highlands into northern and southern regions. The range originates from Mount Masis (Big Ararat). Masis itself is 5,165 meters above sea level.
Between Masis and Mount Aragats rising in the north, on both sides of the middle course of the Araks River, the Ararat Valley is located, the most extensive and fertile valley of the Armenian Highlands. Since ancient times, this territory has been a center of agriculture and cattle breeding.
The ancient capitals of Armenia – Armavir, Yervandashat, Artashat, Vagharshapat, Dvin – have been located in the Ararat Valley. Here also is the capital of the Republic of Armenia Yerevan.