Sightseeings of Yerevan

1. Yerevan

There are only few modern cities in the world which are as old as Yerevan.  Yerevan is a unique city. At first glance, the capital of Armenia seems modern, continuously re-building megapolis but if you take a stroll along its boulevards and streets, it will be clear that this place has been resided for thousands years and every house is a stone manuscript of the history of Yerevan.

The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC, making it at least 2800 years old, 29 years prior to the origination of Rome, with the founding in 782 BC by the tsar of Ancient Urartu – Argishti I who built the fortress on Arin-Berd hill and named it Erebuni. Erebuni Fortress is considered to be the birthplace of the city.

Yerevan- home to over a million people is situated along the Hrazdan River, It is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country. Yerevan has been the capital since 1918, the thirteenth in the history of Armenia, and the seventh located in or around the Ararat plain. Architect Alexander Tamanian became the “father” of the modern city. He managed to create the unique look of the city embodied in the noble classical architecture with skilful utilization of ancient Armenian builders' architecture elements: stone carving, ornamentation and so forth. Besides, Tamanian began to use tuff, the major natural resource of Armenia, in town-planning. Tuff is a stone of volcanic origin, very light, strong and beautiful. The most used in Yerevan was pink tuff, consequently, Armenian capital is sometimes called “a pink city”.

Most of tourist Yerevan is concentrated in the centre. The centre is very compact and easily walkable, with endless dining and entertainment options.

 

2. Cascade

The Yerevan Cascade  is one of the most spectacular tourist attractions in Yerevan city. It is a huge stairway linking the center of Yerevan to the Haghtanak Park and the Monument neighborhood. The Cascade is composed of a monumental exterior stairway, a long series of escalators, an intricate network of halls, courtyards and outdoor gardens where you can see numerous works of architecture and sculpture portraying Armenian rich history and cultural heritage.

Inside the complex presently the Cafesjian Museum of Art can be found. The goal of the Cafesjian Center for Arts is to introduce the best of the contemporary art to Armenia and all those people who will visit Armenia and this center.

Currently, Cascade includes 572 steps. It is 50 meters wide. The distance from the bottom to the top of the Monument Terrace is 450 meters. People are always attracted to this place; for some it’s a place to relax, for others to feel relieved, for seniors it’s just a pleasant and quiet place despite the large amount of visitors, for lovers it’s a romantic place where they feel isolated from the entire world and imagine a whole new life together and for the broken hearted it’s a place to pull themselves together and open a new page or simply reconsider their life.

 

3. Republic Square

The heart of Yerevan is the Republic Square, the only one in its type, endowed by singing fountains and a magnificent mosaic rock carpet, which covers 3000 year old ruins underneath it. The construction of the square was performed by the main Armenian architect Alexander Tamanyan in 1924 and developed until 1958. These buildings represented a combination of the national style and the best of world architecture. Its shape resembles a simplified combination of oval and trapeze.

All buildings around the Square, The “Mariott Armenia” hotel, The Government House, The National Art Gallery and History Museum of Armenia, the building of Ministry of Foreign Affairs are all unique, built by tuff of different colors and loved by Armenian all over the world.

The famous singing fountains are also situated on the Republic Square. Tourists from all over the world come here to admire the attractive, unusual and beautiful views of them. Fountains work every day from late May to October, making exquisite music. The show starts at 9 pm and lasts until 11 pm gluing people to its colourful performance. The program of the show includes the world’s classical masterpieces, national music, rock and pop motifs of the 20th and 21st centuries. Both the fountains and their colours change according to the rhythm of the song or music played. The program is so fascinating, inspiring and romantic.

 

4. Opera and Ballet National Academic Theater of Armenia

The pride of the Armenian nation, the Opera theatre, is located at the heart of the capital Yerevan. It is not simply a cultural structure, but an architectural masterpiece as well, whose creator is world-renowned Academician-Architect Alexander Tamanyan. It is not a coincidence that Tamanyan was honored first place in 1937 in Paris, during the world architecture exhibition.  The newest cultural symbol of Armenia represents itself to us today in its complete form, with its classical beauty, grandiose stage, amphitheater, as well as with its hallways.

Armenia’s Opera Theatre’s curtains first opened on January 20 of 1933. The Opera and Ballet Theatre, named after Alexander Spendiaryan, is the only one in the world that is determined to develop the art of Armenian opera and ballet. What confirmed this was Aram Khachaturyan’s presence with its “Spartacus” ballet.  It consists of two concert halls: the Aram Khatchaturian (Armenian composer and conductor.)concert hall with 1400 seats and the Alexander Spendiaryan (music composer, conductor, founder of Armenian national symphonic music and one of the patriarchs of Armenian classical music) with 1200 seats.

 

5. Mother Armenia

The female personification of Armenia staying on a massive granite pedestal - Mayr Hayastan (Mother Armenia), symbol of the country and its capital Yerevan. The story of Mother Armenia dates back to the 20th century. The statue is truly magnificent and victoriously and jubilantly rises in Victory Park. Sometimes you get the feeling this statue is seen from any angle and any high building in Yerevan.

Mother Armenia is one of the tallest statues in Yerevan. It is 22 meters. Overall, the monument together with the statue is 51 meters high. The statue and the pedestal are made of different materials. The statue is made of hammered copper and the pedestal – of basalt.

The Mother Armenia Statue symbolizes peace through strength. With that huge sword in her hands and the shield at her feet she stands for all those women who were not afraid to take up arms and stand by their husbands during the Second World War.

 

6. Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex

Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex in Yerevan sets high on a hill, dominating the landscape, it is in perfect harmony with its surroundings. The austere outlines convey the spirit of the nation that survived a ruthless campaign of extermination. It  is dedicated to the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who perished in the first genocide of the 20th century, at the hands of the Turkish government. Completed in 1967, the Genocide Monument has since become a pilgrimage site and an integral part of Yerevan’s architecture.

The complex occupies 4500 square meters of territory and consists of three main buildings: the Memorial Wall, a 100-meter long basalt Memorial Wall with the names of cities engraved in stone.

As part of the monument, an arrow-shaped stele of granite, 44 meters high, reaches to the sky, symbolizing the survival and spiritual rebirth of the Armenian people. Partly split vertically by a deep crevice, this tower symbolizes the tragic and violent dispersion of the Armenian people, and at the same time, expresses the unity of the Armenian people.

At the center of the Monument stands the circular Memorial Sanctuary. At its center, there is an eternal flame which memorializes all the victims of the Genocide. The steps leading down to the eternal flame are steep, thus requiring visitors to bow their heads reverently as they descend.

 

7. Erebni Museum

Erebuni Museum stands at the foot of the Arin Berd hill, on top of which the Urartian Fortress Erebouni has stood since 782 BCE by founding of King Argishti I. The museum was opened in 1968 in honor of the 2750 th anniversary The museum was named after the city-fortress, the remains of which were assigned to the museum area.

The museum Erebuni presents many artifacts found during the excavations of the citadel of Erebuni in 1950-1959, among the exhibits special interest among tourists: cuneiform, print samples, edged weapons, armor, bronze bracelets, carnelian, agate and glass objects, beads, jug and three silver rhyton. The most valuable exhibits of the museum - twenty-three cuneiform tablets of the Urartu period.

It is surely to say, this is one of the most interesting monuments of the architecture that present Armenia is proud of and further archaeological studies will discover new mysteries of Erebuni.

 

8. Matenadaran

At the upper end of Mashtots Avenue in Yerevan is situated the pride of Armenian culture, the world's largest repository of ancient manuscripts called Matenadaran with its solemn façade facing mount Ararat. Impressing statues of Mashtots, the creator of Armenian Alphabet and other eminent Armenians; Korun, Gosh, Shirakatsi, Tatevatsi are erected in front of Matenadaran.

Open on March 1st, 1959 Matenadaran, which means a "book-depository" in ancient Armenian, is in fact a scientific research institute of ancient manuscripts which stores more than 17 thousand manuscripts and more than 100 thousand ancient archival documents.

The collection of Matenadaran is the priceless scientific and historical base for studying history and culture of Armenia and the people of Caucasus and Middle East. The manuscripts dated the 5 th -18 th centuries, the unique collection of incunabula and Armenian books printed in the 16 th – 18 th centuries, the works of ancient and medieval Armenian historians, writers, philosophers, mathematicians, geographers, doctors, translations from Ancient Greek, Syrian, Arabian and Latin including a number of books the originals of which have not survived are stored in the Institute. Numerous samples of ancient Armenian writing and miniatures can also be seen there.

Matenadaran has special value as an art museum with the unique collection of book paintings and those kinds of arts and crafts which are connected with hand-written book art: the samples of fabrics, leather stamping, repoussage and jewelry.

 

9. History Museum of Armenia

The History Museum of Armenia was founded in 1921 by the law accepted by the Parliament of the first Republic of Armenia. The Museum occupies first two levels of the building on the Republic Square in capital Yerevan.

It was formed on the basis of collections of Caucasian Armenian Ethnographic company, museums of Armenian antiquities of Nor Nakhchevan, Antiquity Depository of Ani, Vagharshapat Matenadaran. The Museum collection has about 400,000 exhibits. The permanent exposition covers the entire history of Armenian people – since the times of primitive society up to now.

The museum displays the objects of material culture from various epochs up to the late 19 th century which were found during the excavations. You will see the tools of primitive people, weapons and utensils of kingdom of Urartu and other Armenian states, sculptures, ornaments and handicrafts of various historical areas of Armenia . The museum has a rich library  of about 50,000 volumes, many of which are truly unique, such as the first printed book “Urbatagirk” (“Friday Book”) published in 1512 in Venice.

 

10. Vernissage

Right in the center of Yerevan near the Republic Square, there is a colorful fair “Vernissage” (a term used for a preview of an art exhibition)– the favorite place of all the tourists and guests visiting Armenia. Artists, craftsmen, jewelers, potters and seamstresses bring their amazing works here and every weekend from 10:00 am you can buy any souvenir you like. So if you want to buy something that will remind of your trip to Armenia, do not hesitate and visit Vernissage since you are unlikely to leave it empty-handed. The fair offers paintings, jewelry, woodwork, magnets, musical instruments, national souvenirs, carpets, costumes, semi-precious stones, rarity, and many-many other unique things.

The Vernissage has certainly been one of the most essential elements of Yerevan’s cultural life.

 

 

 11. Ararat Brandy Factory

Of all the sights of Yerevan, the finest you can find is the Ararat Brandy Factory. Visiting Yerevan without trying this Armenian cognac is like attending a birthday party without tasting a birthday cake.

The production of Armenian brandy can be traced to 1887, when an upper guild merchant named Nerses Tairyants built the country's first combined winery and distillery on the site of the former fortress of Yerevan. Cognac Factory  has historical museums and cognac tasting halls, and almost everyday exciting excursions are hold there. During the excursions, visitors can watch the entire process of the production, see huge storages, and participate in cognac degustation. So you can appreciate the difference of cognac of various aging, learn how to try this drink correctly, and to distinguish genuine product from a fake.

ARARAT brandies produced by Yerevan Brandy Company embody the Legend itself, the spirit of Armenia, its cultural and historical heritage and the craftsmanship of the Armenian people.

 

12. Gum Market

One of the most vivid places in Yerevan is Gum Market near the Tashir trading center, which opened during former the Soviet Union years. It operates every day from morning until late evening. Here you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, spices, many types of dried fruits, cheeses, traditional Armenian bread (lavash), pickles, and more.

In summer, the fresh fruit is magnificent, with peaches, cherries, apricots and berries of every description tempting shoppers. In winter, dried fruits and nuts, including the strings of syrup-coated walnuts known as sujukh, are popular purchases. Other produce includes fresh vegetables, aromatic herbs, pungent basturma (finely cured ham) and huge blocks of cheese.

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