Old Soviet buses PAZ-672
Favorite thing: In Yerevan and Armenia in general I still saw quite a few old Soviet buses of the type PAZ-672. They are usually orange coloured and in service on local routes.
PAZ (Pavlovsky Avtobusny Zavod) is a Russian bus manufacturer and the type PAZ-672 was produced between 1968 and 1989, so that many of these buses are appoximately 40 years old.
In Armenia buses as well as cars are often gas powered, which means that buses often carry spare gas tanks on their roofs.
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: Yerevan's Republic Square (Hanrapetutyan Hraparak) is probably the place where most tourists start their explorations of the city. During Soviet times the square was known as Lenin Square and it was even home to a statue of the Bolshevik leader.
The neoclassical buildings around the square date from between the late 1920's and the 1950's. Among them is the Government House with a clock tower, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the former Armenia, now Mariott Hotel. A Post Office can be found here as well.
The northeastern side of the square is dominated by the National Art Gallery and the History Museum. The place in front of the building is the venue of dancing and illuminated fountains, which in summer start at 20:00 h.
Every year on the 28th of May the Republic Square is also the place for Armenia's Republic Day celebrations. By chance I arrived to Yerevan on this day and people gathered on the square while dancing to the music as well as admiring the fireworks.
The Republic Square is located in the very heart of Yerevan's city centre. Some of the main streets like Abovyan, Nalbandyan and Tigran Mets Avenue intersect here.
Favorite thing: As I stayed for one week in Yerevan and wandered a lot around the city I noticed many archways with colourful and artistic murals. These archways can usually found in massive, Soviet style apartment blocks and they lead to the inner yards of the buildings.
So it looked like there was once a programme to decorate the archways of Yerevan with all kinds of colourful paintings. I enjoyed checking them out and taking photos of them.
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: Armenia is a place still very close to traditional agriculture and local produce. Here you will discover that this is the land of walnut orchards and that people make use of the walnut in many ways. One of those is, rather unexpectedly, a jam from green walnuts - incomprehensible but a fact and delicious too! Another revelation is the jam from mulberries - something that most English speaking people might have difficulty picturing exactly what this means - again, it is delicious. Bon Appétit!
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: There are small cafe's all over the place if you look. The Information office has a few computers but they have a slow dial up line and they sent me to a place in the Russian Cinema building since it is open late and the information office closes at 7pm. You can't miss the place as it is located on the right hand side of Abovyan St. if you head up from Republic Square.
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: After being in Addis where they are few and far between in Dec it was nice to be able to use my ATM rather than carry cash aroundor travelers checks which I hate. It seems there is a ATM on every corner here. If you are conserned about security, there is one in the HSBC branch with a security guard around the corner from the Marriot that will take all cards.
Visa and other credit cards are taken here but from time to time you may hear..."Sorry but our credit card reader is down..can you pay in cash?"
Favorite thing: I was going to book with Tatev Travel as it was recomended here...problem was that they dont run tours year round. I was there around the end of April and they're first tour did not start till May 1st. Hyur Service runs daily tours year round. This is a full service tour co. so they can also find you a hotel..etc you name it. The guide spoke perfect english and was very helpful. The best thing I liked was the price as a day trip to the local sights ran around 35 USD without lunch. The only down side is that if you want to eat with them they will take you to one of the over priced tourist traps next to a church or other historic sight.
The guides will provide free bottled water and sweet buns to snack on so that might hold you over if tight on $$$$. Email www.hyurservice.com or call them at 50 40 40 and the main office is locacted on Nalbandyan St. on the left side if heading down from Tumanyan St.
Fondest memory: I was only here for a few days. While I would not recomend a city tour since it is more fun to explore on your own this is a cheap and easy way to see the stuff outside of the city...much cheaper than renting a car.
Visa and Entery requiremnt
Favorite thing: Almost any body can get a visa on the boarder or Airport. It is a straight foward prossess that take about half an hour and costs about 30 US $. I elected get an electronic Visa. It is an online service, you go the seb site
and give them all the relevant information and credit card number and they'll charge you 60 Dollars. 2 days later you end up with your visa in your e mail. You print it and take it with you to teh airport. BE CARFUL, onlie visas are not accepted on land boarders, only good for Airport. Multi-entry visa very trick and could result in headaches. I was told that I need to request it from the Ambassedor him self.
Armenian Embassies abroad
Favorite thing: The local currency is Armenian Dram (AMD). The exchange rate is approximately 1 USD = 370 AMD. This exchange rate is not fixed and the dollar has decreased significantly since 2005 against the Dram. Currency can be exchanged at the airport, at banks and at most hotels as well as in many exchange points throughout the city. There are a number of ATMs in the center of Yerevan.
Armenia remains largely a cash-only economy. Credit cards are accepted at some businesses, at major hotels and restaurants in Yerevan, but rarely outside of the capital. Limited facilities exist for cashing traveler's checks and wiring money into the country.
Favorite thing: 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.
Fondest memory: 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.
- Road Trip
Favorite thing: You can very easy get an Armenian visa via Internet and that’s what I got in 2003. It costs 60 dollars and take only two business days to issue. You apply for the e-visa at www.armeniaforeignministry.com
The e-visa can only be used if you are entering to the airport in Yerevan.
When I arrived at Yerevan airport most people seemed to apply for the visa there. It cost 30 dollars and you just had to fill in a paper.
So the last alternative is much cheaper, but if you want to have everything ready before leaving the e-visa is what you should have.
In 2006 I knew there was no problems to apply for the visa at the airport and I got my transit visa as I arrived for 20 dollars. A single entry visa is 30 dollars. You can’t apply for a multiple entry visa at the airport, and you can’t pay in Euros.
Favorite thing: Don't change more money at the airport in Yerevan. The rate is very bad. The signs are in Armenian and Russian and no one spoke English when I was there. The sign said 550 and beside it stood 55. It turned out that the 55 was some commission for every dollar you changed. In Yerevan you get between 580 - 586 drams for a dollar (June 2003).
The rates above was in 2003. When I left Yerevan in August 2006 the lowest rates in town was 493 drams for a dollar.
Favorite thing: The Georgian Embassy in Yerevan is opened between 10.30 - 13.00 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (Wednesdays are closed, and of course the day I went there). It opens up again at five o'clock to give back the passports with visas.
To have a visa issued in one day costs 75 dollars (they want to have the money in Drams). Otherwise it takes four business days and the price is then about the half. For the application you will need one photo.
The woman at the embassy said visas could be issued at one of the boarder crossings from Armenia (don't remember which one) for a cost of 80 dollars.
Address: Arami Street 42 (close to the Republic Square)
Telephon: 564357, 564183
How to get to the genocide memorial
Favorite thing: You certainly can go by a "marshrutka" (costs 100 drams). Don't know about all possible numbers but I picked number 88 at Sayat-Nova street (just at the front door of my homestay). Exit immediately when it goes accross a bridge and climb a hill (stairs) towards something like a sports hall. Walk around it until you see a semi abandoned park (incl. a statue of a mother with a child). Go through that park and you'll reach the museum (opens at 11). You can return by descending anothe path just behind the monument and then turn right and you'll reach a stadium. Victory bridge and the Yerevan downtown will follow soon.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
- Museum Visits
Fondest memory: It is perhaps the most popular place for tourists and for locals. It is the ancient whole cathedral complex, the point #1 for Armenian Apostolic church and residence of the Catholicos, it's head. Teh cathedral dates back to IV-VII centuries. It also keeps collection of ancient armenian golden and silver decorations.
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