Former Soviet republic Armenia is a country located in the mountainous Caucasus region between Asia and Europe. The capital is Yerevan which offers grand Soviet-era architecture. There are many interesting squares with fountains and government buildings with columns.
The Cafesjian Center for the Arts is the city’s major cultural attraction and has made its home in a vast flight of stone steps known as the Cascade. There are two external garden galleries and five exhibition halls which can be accessed by an internal escalator. Here visitors can see artwork from the personal collection of Armenian-American philanthropist Gerard Cafesjian. 20th century and contemporary sculpture and furniture are displayed.
The garden galleries have recessed fountains, modern stone steles featuring carved crosses and contemporary sculptures.
On the ground floor you’ll find a large gift shop and an art library with a small children’s section.
The History Museum of Armenia offers visitors an extraordinary collection of Bronze Age artifacts. Many of the items on display here were excavated at the Necropolis of Lchashen near Lake Sevan in the 1950s. Other highlights include bronze sculptures, four-wheeled wooden chariots with metal decorations, carved stone fertility symbols and an impressive array of weapons and armor.
Visitors can also delight in medieval khachkars, 18th and 19th century Armenian costumes, a 5,500-year-old leather shoe that was found in a cave in the Vayota Dzor region in 2008, carpets and embroidered amices (liturgical vestments). The exhibits has Armenian, Russian and English labels.
The Armenian Genocide Memorial & Museum commemorates the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1922. This two-story exhibition space was built into the side of the hill so that it would not detract attention from the monument above. The story is told through photographs, documents, newspaper reports and films.
A broad pathway leads from the museum. It is flanked by a 100m-long wall engraved with the names of the massacred communities, leading to the memorial that was built in 1967. The memorial has a 40m-high spire next to a circle of 12 basalt slabs leaning over to guard the eternal flame. The 12 slabs represent the lost provinces of western Armenia, land lost to Turkey in a post-WW I peace deal between Ataturk and Lenin, while the spire has a fine split dividing it into larger and smaller needles, the smaller ones representing western Armenia.
On the grounds is a stand of trees that was planted by foreign leaders.
Blue Mosque on this site since 1765 and today is the only functioning mosque in the city. It is decorated with exterior tiles. The interior is tiled as well and it has a small minaret and a shady garden with fountains and lovely flower beds. Visitors must dress properly with no bare legs or shoulders and women must wear a headscarf when entering the prayer hall.
The Yerevan Brandy Company is a fortress-like distillery standing upon a hill overlooking the Hrazdan Gorge.
There are daily guided tours and tastings. There is a cellar full of barrels dating back to the 19th century.
The Modern Art Museum of Yerevan opened in 1972 and was the first specialized museum of contemporary and modern art in the Soviet Union. Many prominent local artists have donated their artwork and these form the core of the collection.
Some recent acquisitions include impressive artwork from the last decade. Highlights include paintings by Karen Petrosyan, Armen Gevorgyan and Laura Avetisyan.
G.U.M. Market is a covered market that offers fresh and dried fruits. In the summertime you can see peaches, cherries, apricots and berries. In the winter dried fruits and nuts like strings of syrup-coated walnuts known as sujukh. Other produce for sale are fresh vegetables, aromatic herbs, pungent basturma (finely cured ham and large blocks of cheese.
Matenadaran is a cathedral-like manuscript library. The base of the impressive collection are the illustrated and bound manuscripts that survived through the centuries. The building dates back to 1957. Visitors can see a statue of Mashtots teaching his alphabet to a disciple. There are six other statues of great scholars and writers standing by the door. The outdoor gallery has carved rock tombs and khachkars that were brought here from ancient sites around Armenia.
The library has over 23,000 manuscripts, fragments, documents and maps. The central hall focuses on the development of Armenian medieval sciences, literature and arts through the centuries. Other halls showcase Greek and Roman works, Iranian and Arabic manuscripts and singular items.
Zorovar Church dates back to 1694 and is a lovely church to see. It is one of the oldest churches in Yerevan.
Martiros Sarian Statue is a bronze sculpture created in 2008 by D. Yerevantsi, honoring the painter Martiros Sarian (1880 – 1972).
The Lover’s Park is a favorite place to relax for both locals and visitors. It is one of the oldest parks in Yerevan and in the 18th century it was called Kozern Garden, named after the suburb it is located in. In 1949 on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin it was named in his honor. In 1970 it became Barekamutyun or Comradeship as a tribute to the friendship of all Soviet Union member nations.
The park got its present name in 1995 because it had become a park where young couples would come strolling. The park was finally renovated in 2008. Today it is a lovely green space with a design inspired by Japanese traditional landscaping.
The park has a small artificial lake with two islands. Near the lake is an amphitheater where you can watch movies during the summertime. There is also a cafe which is a nice place to eat and drink. All over the park are sculptures, mini-waterfalls and cozy corners. In the evening it is lit by decorative lighting.
Republic Square was originally named after Vladimir Lenin. This is the city’s main square and was renamed in 1990. The square was designed by architect Alexander Tamanyan.
The stone pattern in the very center of the square resembles an Armenian carpet and the greatest attractions are the musical fountains which operate between sunset and 10 PM in the summer.
Swan Lake is a most lovely place. From spring until late autumn swans reside in this artificial pond. In winter it becomes an ice skating rink. Since it is located near the Opera House it was called after Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet. This is a great place for evening walks.
Victory Park is located on Nork Hill. This is where every year Victory Day is celebrated on May 9. The park is also known as the Park “Akhtanak”. There is a central monument called “Mother Armenia” rising 43.5m in height. The monument is a symbol of defense of the country with a woman holding a sword in his hand and a shield is at her feet.
An eternal flame burns before the statue on a granite platform. Nearby is the grave of the “unknown soldier” and military equipment of different years is found close-by.
In the park are a variety of attractions for children, some cafes and a small pond. There is a nice view of the city from here.
Freedom or Liberty Square is also known as Opera Square and was formerly Theater Square. It is part of the Yerevan Opera Theater complex and is bordered by four streets.
Statue of writer Hovhannes Tumanyan
In the square you’ll find statues of writer Hovhannes Tumanyan and composer Alexander Spendiaryan. This semi-circular square is known for its significant role in the modern history of Armenia.
Statue of composer Alexander Spendiaryan
Called the “symbol of democracy” in Armenia the square can hold up to 50,000 people.
Locals and visitors enjoy the botanic garden, zoo and Aqua Park in the northeastern part of Yerevan.
The Yervan Botanical Garden covers 90 hectares and was created on semi-desert foothills. There are over 1,070 species of plants which represent the flora of the Caucasus, Crimea, Europe, North America and East Asia. Among the highlights are a chestnut leaf oak. tulip trees, Polish larch, Manchurian nut-tree and a collection of orchids from all over the globe.
The rose garden has over 300 varieties of 14 kinds of roses. Such sorts as La France, Zonder, Meldung, Yvonne Rabie and the Princess de Bearn.
The Yerevan Botanic Garden also has a library at the Institute of Botany. Here you can find more than 28 thousand books that describe the flora of Armenia in detail and research done in Geobotony, biochemistry and more. The Seed Library has a fund of seed flora of Armenia.
The Yerevan Zoo was established over 60 years ago and represents a collection of animals from the Causacus region and all over the world. There are 2,300 different animals and birds. There are plans to rebuild the zoo. It also has animals included in the Red Book, which ensures the preservation of their species.
The Yerevan Aqua Park “Water World” is a great place to relax on hot summer days. It is located between the botanic garden and the zoo. There are many water attractions, swimming pools, cafes, restaurants and shops.
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