Armenia was rich in natural resources and was one of the earliest centers of the discovery of metallurgy. Armenians were also likely the earliest cultivators of the grape and pioneered winemaking. Much as they became skilled in the use of metals, in a land amply supplied with all variety of stone, Armenians also became experts in working stone as sculptors, masons, and architects.
Armenia was governed by several kingdoms and numerous principalities over a span of 3,000 years. These states oversaw the flourishing of a unique civilization and attended to the defense of a country frequently buffeted by invasions. From mighty fortresses lodged on hilltops and mountain peaks, the Armenian kings and princes maintained a constant vigil against foreign occupation and waged dogged resistance to liberate their country whenever overrun.