Every tourists’ first stop is always the main square of the city. In our case this is Republic Square. It is a picturesque square with beautiful buildings all around and a big fountain. Behind this fountain you’ll have Armenian History Museum and the National Gallery, which considers to be one of the best ones in Europe. So don’t miss your chance to visit those places to get acquainted with Armenian history and art. You can start or finish your day here, as at the evening you’ll have an amazing show of “Singing fountains” with a nice music and dancing fountains.
From here you can continue your journey by Northern Avenue. This is a new built part of the old city with modern buildings and shopping area. Small and big cafes, simple and luxury shops, a lot of people, people painting your pictures or making tricks, tasty ice-creams.. expect to have a lot of surprises here. But when the walking street will be over, you will see a big building on another side of the street, behind some cafes. This is Opera house of Yerevan.
The theater of Opera and Ballet after Al. Spendiaryan was officially opened on 20 January 1933. It has round shape architectural style and consists of two concert halls where you can attend on concerts, opera and ballet performances. In front of the Opera house there is a Azatutyan (Freedom) square, where usually are a lot of young people, enjoying the day or riding a bike. On the left side of the building there is a small lake, called Swan Lake, where you can feed some swans and relax on the grass. On the winter time this lake becomes beloved place for ice-skaters. Take some cocktail at any open-air cafe nearby and enjoy your time.
A little bit up you will see a great Cascade complex, with many modern art exhibits everywhere. In front of the Cascade you will see the monument of Al. Tamanyan (you remember the architect?) looking to the city. But the staircase you see is not just that. Inside there is a complex of museums built, and the most famous is Cafesjian center for the arts. The exhibition room on the first floor is usually free to enter, for other rooms you’ll have to pay admission fee. Of course, you can climb all those steps little by little, but you can also take an electrical staircase to the top and you’ll have a WOW view from there: all Yerevan will be in front of you, and if you’re lucky to have a clear sky, you’ll get a bonus to see Ararat mountain behind the city.
Once you’re on top, walk a little bit more up and cross the street and here you are, in one of the biggest parks in Yerevan, Victory Park. Here is also the biggest amusement park where you can find any kind of adventures for kids or adults. Don’t miss the Fortune’s wheel to get better view of the city from the higher place. Prepare your cash, you’ll need a lot it here. In this park is also located a 22m high statue of Mother Armenia. Thanks to it’s base pedestal, it has 51m height and is seen from everywhere. Inside the pedestal is situated a Military museum that consist of photos and dioramas documenting Armenian involvement in WWII as well as the bloody 1988–94 Karabakh War. In front of the memorial there is always lighting the “Eternal fire” in memory of all who died in Wars.
Ok, time to come back and check what else can we see here that are worth your attention.
Blue Mosque. This is one of the most popular sights to visit in Yerevan. It dates back to 18th century, built by Hussein Ali Khan during Persian reign over Armenia. It’s called blue, as this is the dominant colour of tiles used. Today it is the only remaining mosque in Armenia and anyone is free to visit it regardless of religion. Just make sure you follow the rules (e.g. if you’re a woman, you need to cover up). There are special visiting hours as the mosque must be free for prayers at 1pm and 7pm. But the courtyard of the mosque is always open and is a perfect place to relax from city noise or take fantastic pictures. Here you will have also some exhibition rooms representing Iranian art and crafts. Enjoy your time in this beautiful garden full of trees, flowers and fountains.
Not very far from Blue Mosque cross the Victory Bridge and here you are, at one of the most beloved places of all cognac lovers. Yerevan Brandy Company AKA “ArArAt” (as its famous brand), which is founded in 1887 and is the leading enterprise of Armenia for the production of cognac, offers a tour and tasting in their factory museum, where you can see how the famous cognac is being made, learn about the history of this factory and how to recognize a good cognac by tasting them, etc. I promise this tour is worth to do.
The last but not least place I want to introduce is the Tsitsernakaberd, the Armenian Genocide Memorial dedicated to the Armenian Genocide victims. It was built in 1967 and every year on April 24 there are thousands of people coming here to lay fresh flowers around the “Eternal fire”. Next to this memorial there is also Armenian Genocide museum built in 1995, where you can see all the information (books, documents, facts) about this horrible part of Armenian history.
In a few hundred meters away there is another piece of amazing architecture, the Sports and Concerts complex after K. Demirchyan (or simply Hamalir). This is a large complex with 184 stairs leading up the Tsitsernakaberd hill. Its unique design reminds a shape of a big bird opening its wings. The main surprising concept of its architecture include a turning tribune that can rapidly connect the two halls and reveal additional seating. Not bad, huh? ))
Those were only few places that anyone visiting Yerevan must see. But except those there are still a lot of hidden or not much known places to explore. Take your time, stroll in the city streets and enjoy every corner of one of the oldest capitals in the world.