Armenia is one of the most beautiful cities in South America, and is a large tourist center in Colombia. There are various opinions and stories about the origin of the city’s name. A professor of the university of Bogotá Juan Ramon Pedro di Alvarez has conducted a research to find out the roots of the name of the city of Armenia.
According to the British Encyclopedia, Armenia was founded in 1889 by landowner Jesús María Ocampo. He built various factories and plants throughout the city, making it a big industrial center. Professor Alvarez states that back in the times of the city’s foundation the hostility of locals towards foreigners was quite significant. Immigrants had to cover their origin to avoid conflicts and settle in Colombia peacefully. According to Alvarez, Ocampo might have been an immigrant from Antakya as well because the name of one of his first plants has been Antioquía (Antakya in Greek is Ἀντιόχεια, Antiócheia).
In 1972, Armenian entrepreneurs from Fresno, California, the United States founded a charitable organization in the city of Armenia. One of the streets of the city was later called “Movsisian and Samuelian” in their honor.
On October 14, 1980, the Academy of History of Colombia issued stamps depicting the Armenia city. The inscriptions on the stamps read “In memory of founders of an ancient civilization” and “Work and civilization”.
On December 25, 1999, an earthquake occurred in Colombia, epicenter of which was in Armenia. The city received help from many countries, but the contribution of the Armenians of Colombia was especially huge.
The president of Colombia of the time Ernesto Samper later expressed gratitude to Armenians, “We are thankful to the Armenians who helped us in those tough times”. The Armenians’ help wasn’t solely financial. Large groups of Argentinian Armenians went to the city to help in its restoration works. The incident was covered by the French press.
The city is famous for its population’s hospitality and friendliness. Many residents of Colombia prefer to spend their vacations in the Armenia city. Local landowners combine their coffee business with activity in tourist industry by leasing their estates to tourists. Staying there, tourists can not only observe the process of coffee making but participate in it as well.
The only museum of coffee in the world is located in the Armenia city. That fact is quite normal for Colombians as coffee is the symbol of well-being for the whole region. The boom in the coffee industry is considered the reason of the city’s rapid development, which subsequently led to increased economic growth in whole Colombia, especially in regions where coffee businesses had been started.
Annually in June on the national coffee day, the Reinado nacional del café festival takes place near the city, which includes the so-called Parade of Jeeps and elections of National queen of coffee. Several thousand tourists arrive to Colombia to participate in the festival. During those days, one of the points of interest of tourists is the Los Nevados National Natural Park with its snowy peaks.