Welcome to Yerevan

Welcome to Armenia’s capital Yerevan, a city with over 2800 years of history, yet one of the most modern and dynamic capitals, situated in the middle of Europe and Asia.

​Yerevan’s History

When historians talk about Yerevan, they usually mention the fact that this city is older than Rome. That is, in fact, a reality. Yerevan emerged as a city around the fortress Erebuni, which was founded in 782 BC by the Urartian King Argishti the First. Erebuni was declared as the citadel of the Kingdom, serving as religious and administrative center, as well as the residence of the Royals, namely the King and his family. Erebuni had another strategic mission, that of protecting the Kingdom from the attacks of the enemies. Thus, Yerevan’s history is counted from the founding date of Erebuni fortress, because it was the major site around which the current day city developed and flourished. 

If one goes deeper in the etymology of the name “Yerevan”, one can discern how the capital got its name. The phonetics of the word Yerevan imply the similarities to its predecessor fortress.  

Even though 2800 years of history is astonishing enough, Yerevan’s history is much older. Archaeological findings firmly note that early settlements existed in Yerevan in the 4th millenium BC, one of them being the territory of Shengavit (situated in the southern part of current-day Yerevan). Ultimately, Yerevan is older than 2800, even though the official pieces of literature link the birth of the city to the founding of Erebuni fortress. 

Places of Interest

What are the best places to visit in Yerevan? They are plenty! Here are some of the top sights you should not absolutely miss once you are in Yerevan.

* Republic Square

Yerevan’s heart, the Republic Square, is one of the architectural breakthroughs of not only Armenia, but of the whole world. Constructed partly from Armenia’s iconic stone, the pink tufa, and partly from an ivory colored stone, Republic Square represents Yerevan’s cultural and administrative center. 

Inside the central building of the square one can find the History Museum of Armenia, as well as the National Gallery of Armenia. On the left side, the Ministry of Finance and the Government House are situated. International hotel chains Marriott and Hyatt Place are standing on the central northern part , and on the right side of the Square one can find the former buildings of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 2018, the Republic Square got a lot of media coverage on the international press, as it was the main venue for demonstrations during the peaceful, non-violent Velvet Revolution that took place in Armenia in the months of April-May, thus becoming another reason why Armenia is a safe travel destination. The Republic Square thus became the symbol of Democracy.

* Opera House

The round-form basement of the Opera House amazes tourists visiting Yerevan. It is located near one of the central avenues of Yerevan. The full name of “Opera” is Alexander Spendiaryan Opera and Ballet National Theatre, named after composer, conductor and founder of Armenian national symphonic music, Alexander Spendiaryan. 

The building is overlooking to many touristic sites, including the France Square, Cascade, North Avenue and Mashtots Avenue. The Opera House is surrounded by the statutes of the three geniuses of the Armenian culture, Aram Khachaturian (composer and conductor), Hovhannes Tumanyan (the greatest Armenian poet), and Alexander Spendiaryan. 

Opera House is hosting the most important and high-class cultural events, including classical concerts, ballet performances, official award ceremonies and more.

​* Cascade

If you love spending time in cozy terraced cafes with wonderful food and drinks, enjoying the evening air without car engines disturbing your rest, and in the meantime getting aesthetic pleasure from contemporary art statues, you should absolutely visit Cascade. The latter is named so because of its architectural form. Cascade is an ensemble of more than 400 stairs constructed from a stone of ivory color. 

The complex is famous for encompassing neatly cared gardens of colorful flowers as well as modern art exhibitions, featuring sculptors like Fernando Botero, Barry Flanagan, Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova and others. Cascade is definitely a place to be. 

* Erebuni Fortress

Founded in 782 BC by the Urartian King Argishti the First, Erebuni fortress is the pillar around which the city of Yerevan was born. The remnants of this 2800-year-old fortress stand firmly in the Erebuni district of Yerevan. Near the fortress, you can visit Erebuni museum, where enormous amount of  artifacts and findings discovered during excavations are on display. 

* Mother Armenia statue

Mother Armenia is one of the highest points of Yerevan. Located at one of the northern districts of Yerevan, inside the Victory Park, Mother Armenia symbolically looks over the city and guards it. The statue is said to be the female personification of Armenia, embodying peace through strength. The statue itself is 22 meters long, but as it stands on a high pedestal, its total height makes up to around 51 meters. Even if you do not necessarily find time to go near the statue, make sure you catch a glimpse of Mother Armenia whenever you walk in the city center: it is quite visible in the distance. 

* Cozy streets

Yerevan is so homelike due to its iconic streets, including Saryan street (commonly referred to as the “wine street” because of the many outdoor wine cafes located there), Abovyan street, Parpetsi street, Teryan street and many others. You should definitely take evening walks in these unique streets if you want to have an idea of what Yerevan architecture, lifestyle and spirit actually are all about. 

* Museums

Yerevan is quite rich in museums dedicated to art, history, archaeology, and more. If you are more of an art lover, know here what museums you should definitely visit. In addition, what we discussed in the Cascade section is quite relevant here, because it is truly an open-air museum featuring extra-valuable pieces of art. 

Please note that museums in Yerevan do not necessarily have to pertain to art or history only. One of the most visited museums in Yerevan is Ararat Brandy Museum, where one can participate in organized tours, witness the old oak barrels in which brandy or cognac is stored. Many renowned guests visiting Armenia take a tour in this esteemed brandy company, leaving their signatures of the barrels, so we advise you to plan a tour too.

Yerevan is actually a lot more than presented above. Most tourists say that, beyond the cultural heritage, it is the hospitality and openness of Yerevan people that makes it so special. Visit Yerevan and find your own reason to love it and return at least every once in a while.