The words to “Mer Hayrenik”, taken from a poem by Mikael Nalbandian, were set to music long before Armenia adopted it as her anthem upon regaining her independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The present anthem is a modified version of a poem called “Song of an Italian Girl”, which consisted of six stanzas. Some of the words have also been changed appropriately to reflect the freedom and independence of the country. The anthem melody was found to date from the 19th century in what is now Istanbul, Turkey as a vocal exercise for singers.
In 2006, a search was sent out for a new national anthem, as the criticisms against “Mer Hayrenik” was that it was only meant as a temporary anthem, was not composed by an Armenian, and does not reflect modern Armenia. One of the five proposed candidates is the melody (but not the lyrics) of the anthem of Soviet Armenia.
Special thanks to: Klaus Caussmacher for the sheet music.