In the park next to the Opera House there's an artificial lake surrounded by trees. It's known by the locals as Swan Lake. The park is a popular place to visit both day and night. There are plenty of outdoor cafes. Next to the lake is a sculpture of the composer and pianist Arno Babajanian.
There are many souvenir shops selling post cards in Yerevan but they don't sell stamps. These can only be bought in post offices. Luckily there is a post office on Republic Square. It's situated in the left hand side of the curved building on the southern side of the square.
On entering the post office there is an office on your right with Philatelic Corner on the door. This is the place to buy stamps. The current rate for a post card is AMD240. Cards can then be written on the table inside the post office and posted in the blue post box in front of the counter.
The Cathedral is dedicated to St Gregory the Illuminator, he was responsible for converting Armenia into a Christian country. It was consecrated in 2001 to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of Christianity becoming the state religion.
The interior is very spacious and was a great place to sit and shelter from the summer heat. Unfortunately I was unable to take any pictures inside due to a wedding taking place.
Hyur Service is well named. After I found out that the official Tourist Information office had closed and another travel agent was unhelpful – I found these wonderful folks. They could not have been nicer. I was quickly provided with a map and directed me towards a few places of interest. These nice folks also rent out apartments/houses and can organise tours across Armenia. These also include day tours from Yerevan so you can get back to your hotel the same night. And if you really want everything set up before you arrive they will happily book your flights to the region and hotels for you as well.
The Matenadaran after St. Mesrop Mashtotz is a scientific research institute of old manuscripts at the Government of the Republic of Armenia. It is located in the Armenian capital Yerevan. The Matenadaran is the largest center of study and safekeeping of Armenian manuscripts in the world. Originals and hand-written copies of more than 17,000 manuscripts and around 300,000 divan and archive documents not only in Armenian, but also Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian, Syrian, Jewish, Hindu, Japanese, etc. are kept in the Matenadaran.
The bad news is that the office is closed and empty. No the good news is not that you can rent the empty retail space. You can, but that's not the good news. For some reason they host an absolutely excellent website full of excellent information. No telephone number, but there is an email address.
So if you are looking for virtually every restaurant in town - have a look on their site before you go. Otherwise you will end up like me staring at the empty office and wondering why your guidebook is so out of date.
Like most of the Ex-Soviet Caucuses Republics, there is only one place to post your postcards. I mean buying stamps and getting them sent off. Don’t expect to see any post boxes around town.
The cathedral like desk area is open long hours and I found the service to be swift. Also my postcards arrived in the USA within 1 week. Not bad. They also have Philatelic items for sale.
Its very easy top find the Post Office. It is located in the southern corner of Independence Square.
They are open 08:00 – 19:00 Mon – Sat and Sundays 10:00 – 15:00.
Probably the best known Armenian composer in the world outside is Aram Khachaturian, particularly through the ballets "Spartacus" and "Gayaneh". A statue of him can be found on the north side of the Opera House. Close by, in the gardens around Azatutyan Square (and near the music school and State Conservatory) are two striking sculptures of major figures in Armenian music who are much less well known outside the country.
Sayat-Nova - the name means "King of Songs" in Persian - was an 18th century poet and musician who wrote songs in several languages. If you buy a CD of Armenian music, it is very likely to include some of his songs. Sergei Parajanov's 1969 film, released in English as "The Colour of Pomegranates" is built around his life. (To describe it as 'biographical' would be very misleading. If you visit the Parajanov House Museum in Yerevan [15/16 Dzoragyugh Street] with all its wonderful eccentricities, it's easier to understand why the film is as it is!)
Komitas (1869-1935), priest, composer, musicologist and singer, is a major figure in the country's music who needs to be better known in the rest of the world. His works range from a setting of the Divine Liturgy to an extensive collection of Armenian traditional songs recorded during his travels. He never properly recovered from his experience of the horrors of 1915 and died in a psychiatric clinic.
Its is fairly easy to find music by Sayat-Nova and Komitas and the Vernissage market in Yerevan could be a good starting place. (Some of the CDs might be of slightly dubious origin but the quality is reasonable enough.) Many Armenian music collections feature the two composers and, as a personal preference, I would recommend the modern (and sympathetic) arrangements sung by Suren Zurabian. Amazingly, it is also possible to obtain songs actually sung by Komitas himself and recorded in 1912 [Traditional Crossroads CD 4275] and some are even available on YouTube. Armenian music is often haunting but it is particularly chilling to hear this in the knowledge that Komitas was soon to spend two decades unable to bear the memory of his experiences.
Hidden away in a quiet, green area of the north-west of the city is one of Yerevan's older churches, the Surb Zoravor Astvatsatsin Church, more simply termed the Zoravor Church. It basically dates from 1693, replacing a building destroyed in the 1679 earthquake, and is built in the red tuff stone common in more modern Yerevan. While there was a certain amount of alteration a century after its construction and a good deal of recent restoration after Soviet era neglect, it retains a simple character and atmosphere which make it well worth the effort of seeking out
In 1924, Alexander Tamanian's plan to transform the centre of Yerevan was accepted and what has been described as the best planned city in the former Soviet Union emerged from an ordinary provincial town. For a flavour of Tamanian at his best you need look no further than the central Republic Square where the reddish tuff stone takes on different qualities in the light of different times of day. This is what you might call 'old-new' Armenian architecture - old motifs that might bring Zvartnots cathedral to mind incorporated into the new vision of Tamanian. Like it or dislike it, Tamanian and Yerevan are inextricably linked.
The pictures show various aspects of Republic Square and a statue of Tamanian by Artashes Ovsepyan.
Tsar Nicholas I famously described Yerevan in 1837 as a 'clay pot' and it was not really transformed from a town of mud brick houses until the 20th century when the architect Alexander Tamanian began to create the modern city. While there are some stone buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries (and earlier) dotted around the city, one of the few places where the earlier part of the city remains is Kond. Here is a complete contrast to the planned city centre - although hardly any distance from it. It may not be what you would normally consider 'attractive' but this is history alive, unplanned, piecemeal and full of down-to-earth character and interest. How much of it survives and for how long is open to question. Being so close to the city centre, this area is ripe for 'development' and, if some of the recent uninspiring architecture - and that is putting it politely - which is already being permitted to encroach on Tamanian's city centre is any indication, its time is limited.
The attached website (under Section 3) gives more information about Kond (as well as the rest of Yerevan) and details of access.
Oddly enough, this is not a transportation tip but a sightseeing one. The railway station is a monumental building dating from 1956. The long facade has a central spire and this is still capped by the coat of arms of Soviet Armenia. The building also incorporates 'traditional' Armenian motifs, somewhat reminiscent of those in the city centre. There is a Soviet era steam locomotive on display on the tracks.
In the square in front of the station is an equestrian statue of the hero of an epic poem, Sasuntsi Davit (David of Sasun) by Yervand Kochar.
The Armenian capital has an extremely long main drag starting from one of the surrounding hills (crowned with a newly built museum and having the best view of Ararat, weather permitting) following the beautiful cascade than crossing a park in the area of the opera, continuing with the new boulevard with attractive office towers dissecting the old quarters and ending up in the main square. Actually this is not the end of it because one can continue along a leafy boulevard, enclosing thousands of little fountains all the way down to the children’s park. This is a distance of minimum 5 km and the expectation is that you are to cover it in high heeled shoes (if you are a woman that is). The only consolation is that it is downhill. One quickly notices that the favourite pastime of the locals is doing exactly that – walking up and down this monstrous catwalk and showing off their outfits. Pit stops are allowed and more than necessary in order to stock up on energy and relish into the crucifying looks given by the competition, if you have one.
The museum of manuscripts with this unpronounceable long name is a must as many people in the past have figured out. It is located on a hill, (there is an abundance of those in Yerevan) majestically overlooking a long boulevard as if sending a solemn message strait to the center of the capital. Despite the fact that the exposition offers a glimpse of only 1% of the total volume of volumes it gives a good idea of the cultural richness of the Armenian heritage. The most eye-catching example, of course, is the largest book (actually what is on display is just half of it) cleverly juxtaposed to the smallest one rendering the means and their applications for spreading the WORD. As happy reminder of modern times, this shrine of culture was being visited by a group of high ranking Russian officials of unknown capacity accompanied by locally-looking bodyguard of imposing proportions and carrying a pistol gilded with gold. Who knows, maybe after the visit this strongman of sorts is going to turn over to the soft power of books and renounce violence for the rest of his life.
Located at a hill around the city center , with a big green area .
I visited twice because the museum closes at 16h. So , I visited the area around ,with monuments , trees planted by countries´presidents who recognizes the genocide suffered by armenians that lived in Anatolia between 1915-1923. There are a memorial , guarding an eternal flame.
At the other day , I arrived on time and visited the exposition. Heavy, tragic , but necessary, in order to allow us never loose our capacity of indignation against the darkest side of the humanhood.
The director of the museum received me and kindly gave me some good publications.