Yerevan, formerly Erebuni, is Armenia's charming capital. The modern name comes from the Soviet rule, which was changed because of a mistake in translitteration. The city is located along the Hrazdan River and on the Ararat Plain.
The city, architecturally speaking, in spectacular, and this is thanks to Alexander Tamanyan who designed the layout of Yerevan , a layout that has remained unchanged. Yerevan for me will always be the pink city - most buildings worth looking at have a pink shade that changes with the light and hour of the day. The reason, wich I discovered only after I came home, is the particular type of stone used - "tuf" stone - quarried locally.
I think it must have been the only soviet city not to be built in grey concrete.
It is not a matter of course that all Armenian homes have got running water in the taps. At Gayane's homestay in Yerevan there was just running water for 2,5 hours in the morning and for 1,5 hours in the evening. Therefore she always had water in the bath to use in between. At the hotel where I stayed in Alaverdi there was no running water at all.
On a hill in the south-western suburb Arin-berd in Yerevan is the Urartian fortress of Erebuni. It was discovered in the 1950s when a farmer found a stone tablet with writings on it and excavations begun.
It must have been an impressive fortress with palace, storerooms, workshops, a place for animal sacrifices and splendid views. Some of the ruins have been reconstructed and on the palace walls the paintings are replicas. From a cuneiform tablet found at the excavations it is known that the fortress was built by the Urartian king Argishti I in 782 BC.
I took a marshrutka to Erebuni (nr 6) from Nalbandyan Poghots. It was 100 drams (June 2006).
Ice-cream at Armenia Mariott Hotel
Armenia Mariott Hotel is situated in the western corner of Republic Square and has got an outdoor cafe facing the square. It is a good spot for people watching. I was here one late afternoon. Most people were drinking beer, but I had an ice cream. I decided from two choices: three scoops of ice cream with whipped cream and fresh fruits (1400 drams) or three scoops of ice-cream with whipped cream and fresh berries. As the berries were strawberries, that was my choice. Guess if I was disappointed when there were only three tiny strawberries on top of the ice cream. I wonder why this was 200 drams more expensive than the ice cream with fresh fruits.
Road to Tbilisi
LP says to take the train to Tbilisi from Yervan. It runs during the night at a snails pace and the locals even try and avoid it. The mini bus ride I took was amazing at least for the last 2 hours. The road through the green mountains following the river is one of the best road trips I have been on. The only thing that would beat it is if the train ran during the day. The road hugs the mountain side passing through tunnels and chasing the river so to speak. If you can ask the mini bus driver for a seat in the front and give him a couple of extra bucks and he might make a few quick stops so you can get some great photos if you ask him to.