The heart of Armenia is the centrally located capital, Yerevan. This comfortable city of one million, houses one third of the country within its vibrant and active streets. Its compact, circular town center is easy to navigate on foot, with virtually everything a person needs only a twenty minute walk away. With many parks, museums, concert halls, theaters, markets, hotels, restaurants and cafés, you’ll never want for something to do when you’re in town.
Yerevan is one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world, dating back to the founding of the fortress of Erebuni in the 8th century BC, but it wasn’t until post World War I, when Armenia briefly became an independent republic before joining the Soviet Union, that Yerevan really began to thrive. To accommodate this growth during the Soviet period, the architect Alexander Tamanyan superimposed his idea of a modern city center on the existing town, and developed the circular streets lined with wide sidewalks and parks visible today. After a great deal of reconstruction, a new city rose with its characteristic pink hue reflected off all of the tuff facades in the center.
The pace of the city has sped up in recent years, but Yerevantsis (the Armenian term for people from Yerevan) still enjoy their spare time – going on strolls and sitting back on the terraces of wine bars and tearooms – and these welcoming green public spaces were the ideal place for this nation of coffee lovers to develop their own take on café culture. Do not be surprised if all the shops aren’t open first thing in the morning!
There are many interesting museums in Yerevan, and there is always a wealth of cultural performances and events to choose from. Tickets to the opera, philharmonic, theatre or even a puppet show are remarkably affordable, and the talent is world class. Just don’t get so caught up in the big city that you run out of time to explore the beautiful countryside!