My Armenia: what to see in Yerevan and its environs

Armenia is an open and compact country, so even a short visit will allow you to see a lot of unusual things. Kilograms of vitamins, impressions and amazing photos are guaranteed. And all this for very sane money – from flights to housing or movement within the country. Based on our own experience, we will show you how to spend an extended weekend in Yerevan. July 02, 2021 AUTHOR: Oleg Dorozhovets 1 11 min

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My Armenia: what to see in Yerevan and surroundings

Oleg Dorozhovets Travel journalist

Walking around Yerevan

Remember from Tsoi: “The city is 2000 years old, lived under the light of a star called the Sun.” So, Yerevan is 2801. It is younger than Jerusalem, but older than Rome. Honestly, you can't tell. Numerous earthquakes and wars erased all antiquities to dust. On the outskirts of Yerevan, the remains of the ancient fortress of Erebuni are piled up. But nothing monumental. IMHO, not worth the time.

Armenia is mine: what to see in Yerevan and its environs

Modern Yerevan is almost entirely built in the 30s and later. He is the fruit of the creation of one demiurge – the architect Alexander Tamanyan. He turned out to be a bright and sprawling city with rather bold modernist sharpenings for the Stalinist USSR. The shape is almost a perfect circle. But with two displaced centers: the Cascade complex is in the northern part, the Republic Square is in the southern part. Both are noteworthy. By color – most often they say that Yerevan is pink. In my opinion, not really. Many city buildings were built from local mountain tuff, which has about 40 shades. And my first allusion is that the houses are made of large bars of halva, heterogeneous in tone – from light chocolate to apricot. This is the general impression. Now for the details.

1. Cascade

So Cascade. Imagine the Potemkin Stairs in Odessa. Multiply it by about 3 – in breadth and up. Put the escalators inside. Stuff with cool sculptures. So you got the Yerevan Cascade. In a sense, a Guggenheim for the poor. Already on the approaches you will be met by the smoking fat woman Fernando Botero and the skinny hares of Barry Flanagan, and on the terraces and inside the sitting people by Jaume Plensa and many more works of modern sculptors with truly world-famous names. Several galleries of Armenian masters operate under the arches of the Cascade. And at the very top, the house of Charles Aznavour clung like a swallow's nest.

Armenia is mine: what to see in Yerevan and its surroundings

2. Fountains

Every evening after 20.00 half the city flocks to Republic Square to admire the dancing fountains, by the way, the first in the entire former USSR. The music and light show lasts for 3 hours, invariably ending with Charles Aznavour's hit “Eternal Love”. The performance flows against the backdrop of the Historical Museum, which is worth a look during the day if only to see the world's oldest leather shoes. This shoe was dug up in 2008 in the Areni cave. And it dates back to 3500 BC. However, the entire ensemble of the Square draws on architectural insight. This is one of Tamanyan's most ingenious projects.

Armenia is mine: what to see in Yerevan and its surroundings

3. Mashtots

This is one of the central Yerevan avenues, and you have to walk through it. At the top is the Matenadaran, an imposing, safe-like building, one of the world's largest repositories of ancient manuscripts. About 20 thousand rarities are collected here, starting from the 5th century AD. e., but several hundred are on display. Several books with Ukrainian roots were also found, created by Armenian scribes in the Crimea and Lvov.

My Armenia: what to see in Yerevan and its environs

After spending an hour and a half in Matenadaran (entry ~ 3 USD), it's time to go down a little and have a bite to eat at Grand Candy (aka the famous Ponichikanots ”, as the locals call the point). Let the huge colorful windows serve as your guide. Already in the morning before the opening, a small crowd gathers. The most delicious and inexpensive donuts in Yerevan are here. For 1000 drams (a little over $2) you can pick up a whole bunch of different ones – with cream, jam, chocolate. However, the assortment also has a lot of other goodies. Even lower (somewhere at the level of the Cascade) do not miss the Yervand Kochar Museum. Unfortunately, many simply do not notice it. And in vain, the “Armenian Picasso” is worthy of attention.

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